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SWITZERLAND – Raffles Switzerland kickstarted its inaugural immersion programme by welcoming the first cohort of students. During the span of two weeks, the students had the chance to experience a cultural and social European environment, like acquiring the basis of a new language in French, learning to be independent, developing a global network, discovering important Swiss design hubs, tasting Swiss cuisine like chocolate, wine and famous cheese dishes like raclette and fondue.

The immersion programme was truly an eye-opening experience for the students as they were exposed to a multitude of cultural and social discoveries. Penning down her thoughts and reflection, Raffles Manila Designer Shar Buendia shares about her fruitful and delightful trip that had provided her with an unforgettable experience!

People don’t take trips… Trips take people.

By Shar Buendia, Visual Communication student from Raffles Manila

They say travelling is the only thing you buy that will make you richer. Indeed, I agree. My two-week stay with Cieline Jalosjos (Interior Design) and Unna Regino (Visual Communication) was truly a fun-filled and yet memorable experience in Raffles Switzerland.

Before the trip, I myself had never been to Europe. So when I heard about the Immersion Programme in Switzerland, I immediately agreed to it. I had promised to most agendas on my list during the year 2015 and travelling to Switzerland and seeing the Matterhorn was definitely part of my bucket list. Besides that, it was my first time seeing snow!

It was a long, 26 hours flight and as soon as we arrived at the airport, we were warmly welcomed by Thomas Claessens, our Activity Coordinator. We were then driven from Geneve to the campus and in the midst of the two hour ride, we were constantly surrounded by breathtaking views that left us in awe. Soon enough, we were able to meet the Raffles Switzerland team that comprises of Fabien Produit (College Director), Aurélie Perroud (SAS Executive), Gino Van Loock (Executive Chef) and Corentin Maignant (Activity Leader).

They were very approachable, friendly and hospitable. In span of two weeks, I believe we formed our own little famille (family) in Switzerland. Just like how we would do it in the Philippines, we gave everyone nicknames. I constantly told Cieline and Unna that if this was the kind of environment I have in school, I have no objection to studying and living away from home.

Everyday felt like a different day, nothing was mundane! Each activity was planned to allow us to experience what Switzerland has to offer. I was always excited for trips to museums and to see the different forms of art, design and cultural aspects this beautiful country has. Skiing was another activity and despite falling constantly, getting the ski certificate was a sweet achievement! Though French was exciting, learning a new language always seems to be hard but being with my buddies made it fun and easy. At the end of our trip, we could already understand some conversations spoken in French!

One of the highlights was the trip was Christmas. As a Filipino myself, I often spend Christmas Eve with my family to welcome the birth of Christ. But as we were away during that period of time, Fabien was gracious enough to invite us to join his family for the Christmas celebration. We were really thankful and touched and it felt like we were not spending holidays away from home.

Before the end of our trip, we decided to go paragliding and words or even photographs are not enough to describe how beautiful and serene the sights were. It was undeniably one of the best moments of the trip!

“Travel until you find yourself.”

I initially travel to lose myself, but I found myself instead. I travel to open my eyes and heart; I travel with ignorance. To slow down, to take everything in, and to fall in love with the people I meet and the places I go. Switzerland has never failed to impress me.

Merci beaucoup to our Raffles Switzerland famille for everything. No goodbyes, just see you soon!

Shar’s adventure is something that our students from Raffles can experience! Apart from the two week Immersion Programme, students can also opt for the three month academic Enrichment Programme that allows them to study their respective core modules in Switzerland as part of the Raffles Overseas Exchange Programme. Contact us for more information and Interested personnels can apply for the March Immersion Programme (20 March 2016 to 02 April 2016) or April Enrichment Programme (03 April 2016 to 18 June 2016) to experience the Swiss way-of-life.