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The Anticipation of Winter and New Opportunities

Posted on: 24th January 2019 | Category: Principal's Blog

Winter Term is always a much anticipated term amongst our girls, and with just a few days to go they are eagerly preparing for the excitement of Surval’s annual Ski Week. We are returning this year to the stunningly picturesque resort of Anzère, high in the Valais mountains: those who have not been before will be struck by the beauty of the white snow carpet glittering in the light of the sun and the uninterrupted views stretching across the awesome backdrop of the lofty Swiss Alps; for those of us lucky enough to have visited previously, we cannot wait to get back up there…

The Winter Term brings the opportunity to discover a very different Switzerland; one of the many joys of this country is the fact it is blessed with four distinct seasons over the year, each with its own character and possibilities. For some of our students, our first Ski Thursday was their first time in the mountains and on skis – a never-to-be-forgotten experience, which the girls captured in their reflections on the day in our Student Blog. “It feels like being in a dream; like flying,” Violeta, Mexico, G9, wrote, and Isabella, Mexico, G9, echoed this, stating: “When I am sliding across the snow, I feel relaxed and happy at having this exceptional opportunity to try new things in a natural environment.” Our Winter Camp students have also loved their lessons so far, from perfecting “buttering” on a snowboard to skiing in powder for the first time. Seasoned skier Annabelle, USA, FY, writes in her Winter Camp blog, “I have been skiing for most of my life but I had never skied in Europe before, and being on the top of the mountain, about to go down a trail, and seeing the sun start to set over the Alps was one of the most amazing feelings.” Of course, the fun isn’t just limited to the skiing – the girls also described making snow angels with their friends and having snowball fights as some more unforgettable moments!

I have not only enjoyed hearing about our current students’ stories from the slopes, but have also been delighted to have the opportunity to reminisce about seasons past with several of our Survaliennes. Lusiya, Russia, class of 2018, with whom I used to snowshoe, and who is currently studying at BSL, dropped in for a catch up and to speak to the students about how Surval helped prepare her for her university studies. Ace snowboarder Ineria, Venezuela, 2017, popped by with Hala, Bahrain, class of 2017, for a visit; Ineria is now studying Diplomacy at GSD, and commented on how lucky the current students are to have Sustainability on offer as a club here: “We study Sustainability as part of our course and it’s really interesting!” Hala, meanwhile, has ambitious plans to set up her own restaurant and is already inviting all the staff to visit. Finally, Tamara, South Africa, class of 2018, whose speech at assembly on the importance of Etiquette was a particularly memorable moment in her time here, popped into Surval after a week of skiing in the Dolomites; she is looking forward to beginning a Foundation course at Oxford Brookes University in the UK, and is excited about the prospect of living in the beautiful historic city.

Seeing the successes of our previous graduates inspires me to look at our bright and talented group of international students and wonder anew what the future holds for them. The school website regularly features writing by the girls, and student-led assemblies and class presentations give the girls the opportunity to hone their leadership and public speaking skills. Foundation Year impressed in Monday’s assembly with their imaginative responses to the causes and effects of The French Revolution (you can find Annabelle and Natalia’s thought-provoking poem on the Student Blog) and the Excellence Book continues to be added to on a weekly basis with rewards for students’ achievements both in the classroom and beyond. Already this term, the Charity Club has raised over CHF 300 towards the Habitat for Humanity trip; the Model United Nations students are busy preparing for their upcoming MUN Conference in Amsterdam; and the Sustainability Club are looking forward to welcoming representatives from Protect Our Winters to deliver a whole-school workshop on the Friday after Ski Week. I am confident that after six days on the stunning slopes of Anzère, our students will be even more passionate about preserving our beautiful planet.

What a start to the year, and it’s still only January!   

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