The tradition of our students living in the home—en pension—with French-speaking, Swiss families dates back to when NJC was founded. We have never altered this aspect of our program because the experience consistently proves to be one of the most transformational and cherished aspects of the time abroad.
Living truly as Europeans, students become integrated with Swiss culture and daily life, while gradually learning French and becoming more independent. Pensions are assigned at the end of the Orientation Trip so that we can make the best match based on each student's personality and needs. Most pensions have been taking our students for multiple years, and many for decades! The maîtresse de pension maintains close contact with the College via NJC's Pension Coordinator, so there is an abundant support system working in concert at home and at school. Accommodations vary from flats in the engaging heart of the town to country homes in picturesque villages on the outskirts of Neuchâtel. Live solo in a Pension or with a fellow NJC classmate, and travel to school by Swiss train, tram or bus, as a mark of your new, more independent life.
"Before I met my 'pension' I was very nervous about it, because it's the first time living with a new family. I didn’t know if they would speak english that well or if my french would be adequate enough to actually interact with them. But I was kind of lucky by the fact that my Madame was a french teacher!"
"I get along very very well with my 'pension'. They have three grown up children so they sometimes come and visit. And we’ve got a little pension grandson and so he comes and visits. He’s one and a half so he’s very very cute. So its a lot of fun with my pension and I get along with them very well!"
"My 'pension' Dad is a wine maker, so he has his own wine company. It's called Valentine!" "And then my Madame is Croation and my Moms side is Croation. So she makes the same food as my Mom and my Grandmother. It really feels like home.”
"The whole 'pension' living is one of the most important aspects of living in NJC because along with having all this education, you also have the ability to be integrated into the swiss culture, to learn how to speak french, to learn as much as you can about the locals during this year that is just so jam packed with a whole bunch of learning.”
"I love my 'pension', i live with an old woman and her cat, and she’s just the cutest thing. She worries about me, and we just talk about everything. She tells me about her life before students and she tells me about everything else.”
“My relationship with my 'pension' is really good. I live with a mom, a dad, and a little 7 year old. And for me that's really nice because i have a younger sister at home. So, I’m not really used to being the only child in the house. So its nice to have; even though they speak french, its nice to have a second family here.”
"My 'pension' is great. I was also a little bit concerned about the pension situation before i came, but once I got here I realized that they would become my family this year. They are always there for you and supporting you. It's definitely your home away from home."
Callais Harrison '19
My pension has been the most unforgettable part of my NJC experience. From day one, they welcomed all four of us girls into their house with open arms and tried to ensure that we had the best experience possible.
A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap
Neuchâtel Junior College Crêt-Taconnet 4 2002 Neuchâtel, Switzerland 011.41.32.722.1860 (from North America)