Orientation Trip Reflection: "Time moves differently here"

Maeve '23
Time moves differently here. Leaving the airport in Toronto feels like another lifetime ago, but also like yesterday. At the beginning of the orientation, I was so nervous, as I’m sure many of my other classmates were as well. As excited as I was for this opportunity, I was equally terrified of this new country, new language, and new experience. I quickly remembered what my mum always told me; excitement and nerves are the same chemical reaction in our body; it’s just how we perceive that feeling that makes the difference. A piece of advice that I think everyone should have in the back of their minds. 

Pulling our suitcases and skis through the cobblestone streets of Locarno, the torrential downpour on the first night, the impromptu performance on behalf of other restaurant goers in our historic Ticino hotel. All within 48 hours. 

Bellinzona castles, walking through a cloud, hiking 25,000 steps down a mountain. All within another 48 hours.  

The days seemed to melt into each other - never before have days felt so long but so short. Time moves differently here. 

Everything about the orientation trip felt surreal, just like every day since has felt. Switzerland is such an unbelievably magical country to wake up to. The sunrise feels a bit more calming, the streets are a bit more adventurous, and the water, undoubtedly, is a bit more fresh. 

While the alpine games, walking through a glacier, and exploring the cantons of Switzerland were all major highlights, I think my favourite part of orientation has been having conversations and sharing laughs with people I feel I’ve known all my life. It is such a bizarre but wonderful feeling to share these wonderful experiences with wonderful people that have all been thrown into this exciting new opportunity together. 

That being said, sprinting the last 200m uphill to the town of Grindelwald to be the first student to finish the 4-hour hike is a very close second to the amazing people that I have had the pleasure of meeting. 

So while I was frightened and scared and missing my dog, I very quickly realized that I had nothing to be afraid of. Everyone was excited to jump in, meet people, and try new things. That energy has continued to pulse through the student body as we move from orientation to the regular school year. My heart feels so full at the thought of the five months that I have to look forward to after orientation. 

Time moves differently here. I know these five months will fly by in the blink of an eye, just like the orientation trip did. But like the orientation trip, I will take in every moment. Every bus ride, every uphill walk back from micro-city, and every laugh that I share with my peers. Every single moment. 
Neuchâtel Junior College offers the unique opportunity to study Canadian curriculum abroad. While living in Switzerland in a French community, students enjoy an international education through travel and experiential learning in Europe. Gap year and Grade 12  high school students gain international experience and develop independence and life skills that prepare them for university and the global workplace.

A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap