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Student Stories

Valeria (Survalienne, Class of 2017)


After finishing my year in Surval, my life took a series of unexpected turns. In the first place, I thought I was going back home to start university there, but for different reasons I ended up in Madrid, studying law, and I´ve never been happier.

Even though my life has changed a lot in these couple of months, I still remember my Surval experience vividly; it was, without a doubt, the happiest year of my life, even being miles away from home. Every day was filled with laughter, jokes, hugs and long talks with friends that I will cherish for life.

Nowadays, I’m studying law in one of the most important universities in Spain, called “Universidad Pontificia Comillas”. My biggest struggle here has been the challenge of living alone and having to balance my study time with the time that I spend hanging out with my friends. Back in Surval, I had the privilege of not having to worry about such things, since we were together basically every minute of every day.

For various reasons, Surval became my home away from home, and I miss it constantly. Even if at the time it didn´t seem like it, the same thing happened with things that I learned, things that I didn’t even know I was learning and after a while I realized how important they are in my day to day life, such as organizational and leadership skills, that I developed thanks to different activities. Life at Surval also taught me how to be more responsible and punctual in general, even from something as simple as attending at 8:30 to the Assembly.

Some other things that I was aware of learning have come in handy as well, for example, French. Living here in Europe it is extremely important since if you are not in a French speaking country, you´ll probably meet a French tourist in needs of help that can’t speak English or any other language other than French, for that matter. Another thing I learned that has changed my perspective in life was probably everything related to charity, because being honest I was never a charitable person, but after the several experiences that I had in Surval, I had a change of heart and now I see everything so differently.

On a more personal matter, Surval also helped me find not only my inspiration but my true self, it helped me discover my passion for writing, something I hadn’t done before and now I can’t see myself not doing it. It helped me be more confident and more comfortable in my own skin; it basically shaped me into the woman that I am today.

Even though I’m at a new stage of my life, I will never forget my days in Surval and everything I learned, not only in school but also all the culture that I was lucky enough to experience thanks to all the girls from Surval, and to the trips that we constantly did, these being through Europe or even within Switzerland itself.

Without anything else to say, thank you Surval, for helping me become the woman that I am today, and for holding such an important place in my heart and in my soul.

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