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  • Writer's pictureHannah Bywater

Going to School in Switzerland

I go to a school called Collège Sainte-Croix/Kollegium Heilig Kreuz. It is a bilingual school, hence the two names. Most of my classes are in German but I also have some in French. I feel so lucky because I have already found a great group of friends. They have warmly welcomed me into their circle. One of them was a former exchange student so this friend group is pretty familiar with the experience I am having and they have been very patient with me. I also meet new people on the bus/train/tram every day but sometimes it is hard to maintain the conversation because of the language barrier. I am sure I have said this before but Switzerland is a challenging place to learn German. I am learning high German, which they speak in my classes but the Swiss speak Swiss German, so when my peers are chatting amongst themselves in class or in the halls or literally any other time outside of school they speak the dialect. To me high german and Swiss german sound like two totally different languages. On top of that every canton has a totally different dialect. For example, the Swiss dialect people speak here in Fribourg is different than the dialect they speak in Bern, where I was taking my german course. AND on top of that different regions within the cantons have unique dialects like whether you are in the city or up in the mountains. It might just be me or it really is as confusing as it sounds. Anyways, my german is coming along nicely and I am very excited to be able to understand and speak german at the level that I am at. With patience and practice my Swiss German will also pick up and hopefully I will be a little bit less awkward when people talk to me (but probably not).

If anyone is still reading (lol) this is what a school day looks for me.

Every weekday I wake up and eat Frühstück aka. breakfast with my host family at 6:40am. My host mom normally has bread and a bunch of fixings spread out on the table for us. After Frühstück I bike to the neighbouring town to catch the bus at 7:20am, then the bus takes me to the train station to get to school which starts at 8:05am. My classes end at different times every day, my longest school day goes until 5:30pm and my shortest ends at 12:15pm (my favourite). This semester I am taking: German, gym, geography, visual arts , history, math, biology, chemistry, physics, photography and religion which are all in German and then I have French and English. In my english class I normally walk around and help my friends with their work or I go to the library to practice my german. My favourite class is my photography class. We are doing a project using film cameras. The school has a red room and top of the line developing equipment which has been soo much fun learning to use.


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