Orientation Trip Reflection: "Adventure and joy already underway"

Jack '23
My trip began with a 4:00am wake up and shortly after a flight cancellation; so in other words, not the best start. Nevertheless, the Class of ‘23 from BC all made it to the airport, and the journey continued, with a lot of confusion of course. But we made it to Toronto, with Air Canada chess games along the way, and noticed more and more red lanyards - future classmates - trickling into our gate. Whether from the nerves or lack of sleep, no one from our table had the courage to meet the group. But, lucky for Kaitlyn, Breana, and Meghan, I did have the courage to wave to my new classmate, who proceeded to turn around and laugh. When we did introduce ourselves to the group, we all knew that we were going to make a lot of new friends, even though Owen (or Miles) didn’t wave back. 

With everyone rushing to meet new friends, check in with Ms. Tepperman, or find their lost boarding pass, we soon all got onto the plane departing to Zurich. After a bus to Locarno, the orientation trip truly began. Soon we ascended the town to Madonna Del Sasso, where Mr. Keleher introduced me to St. Francis, the patron saint of animals, something he thought I would enjoy as a vegetarian. I did. While many explored the town, many, including me, used their free time to nap. 

The next day resulted in our scavenger hunt adventure along the “Foxtrail of Lugano'', with groups achieving varying degrees of “success”. The gelato, bretzels, and photos along the way fueled the many expeditions on wrong buses and trains. Expectations were high for the next day, as the previous days had raised the bar, and Swissminiatur, a lake swim, and a concert on day five was the highlight for me. Me and Nathan saw our hotel in Swissminiatur, albeit a lot smaller of course. Nik Kershaw, played my favorite song of all time, “The One and Only” and introduced me to my new favorite song, “The Riddle”. 

With Grindelwald as the next stop, the tourist capital of Switzerland, my mapped Hawaiian shirt was put on, with many attempting to find their home town along my back. My map of the world got many compliments, and my sprint down one of the many mountains got even more applause, with some Swiss chocolate from Mr. Keleher too. Though I ran 20km to hang glide, despite it being closed, the pool at our hotel was that much nicer. To top it off, I was treated to my first international theater festival, with Arnaud and Nathan as cows, Kaitlyn and Cole as Air Canada pilots, and me and Haydon as star-crossed Swiss lovers.

Just as fast as it began, the orientation trip ended in what simultaneously felt like a day and month, in a good way of course. By the time we were introduced to our pension for the year, many had felt as if they were already at home. Iconic quotes, inside jokes, and the occasional Borat reference had made the orientation trip a trip among friends, not just classmates. The trip set the precedent for the year so far and the year to come, with adventure and joy already underway.
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