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Juggling Academics & Elite Sports – how one school is trying to make it easier 6 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Switzerland that you must visit 10 Things Swiss parents do differently


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Welcome to the Summer 2018 edition of International School Parent Magazine! Welcome to the Summer 2018 edition of International School Parent Magazine! The countdown to another exciting, exam-free summer has begun! However, lots of you, like me, may be wondering how to entertain your children over the long holidays. Which camp should I choose for my child? What happens if the weather is bad? How do I stop my children just wasting the wonderful weather and staying inside on their consoles? Check the Summer Camp Extravaganza in this edition to see the best selection of summer camps in Switzerland and even as far as Canada! You can also view the full list on our website For our summer edition, we have a great feature from World Heritage Switzerland. With 12 World Heritage sites across Switzerland, we have listed 6 of these fabulous sites to visit this summer. We have an article by Sandra Steiger, Academic Support Manager at TutorsPlus, on how to get the most out of Summer learning. This edition is also packed full of interviews with parents, educators, and school directors, and as usual we have some great articles from educational experts. I would like to extend our invitation to other specialists in all fields of education to contact us for writing opportunities. We welcome all enquiries about being featured in an issue of the magazine. We remain committed to the task of helping parents and children to make the most of the fantastic opportunities an education at an international school in Switzerland provides. All that remains to be said is that I hope you have a wonderful end to the term and a fantastic summer holiday. Work hard and be the best! Best wishes

Nick Gilbert Editor & Publishing Director International School Parent Magazine

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Contents 04 A student-designed integrated Learning Management System that really works 08 Language Immersion in the Swiss Alps 12 10 Things Swiss parents do differently 16 Juggling Academics & Elite Sports – how one school is trying to make it easier 22 International School Parent Magazine: Interview with James Dalziel 30 Getting the most out of summer learning 34 The Three A’s of international schools 37 Watch out, watch out there are ticks about! 40 How to make a smooth transition to a new school 44 A home for a global community 48 6 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Switzerland that you must visit 60 Our pick of the best summer camps for 2018 68 Financial Columns

International School Parent Spring 2018

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A student-designed integrated Learning Management System that really works BY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT EDITORIAL TEAM

International School Parent Spring 2018

n this conversation we talk to Alexander Degenhardt and Noah Liebherr who are in their final year of the IB Diploma at Zurich International School. Seeing how complicated it could be for teachers and students to manage all the different digital platforms used within their school, they saw an opportunity to design an easyto-use platform that could integrate all of them. With the support of parents, teachers and ZIS, Cikumas was born – allowing teachers to be free to choose which software they like best, and everyone only needing to remember one password!

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELVES AND YOUR INTERESTS? Noah: When I’m not in school or working on Cikumas, I like to spend time with my friends, and enjoy sports like American Football or the gym. Currently, I am very interested in cryptocurrency and am also trying my hand at that as well. Alexander: I’ve always loved business. I’d take my interests and make a business out of it. Previously, I worked for my own gaming start-up and collaborated to organise Switzerland’s biggest entertainment and games expo. I enjoy playing Football, Table Football and Sailing. I also enjoy Geography, Video Games and Model Rocketry.

WHAT IS CIKUMAS (PRONOUNCED CHIKUMAS)? Cikumas is a state of the art Learning Management System (LMS) and assignment distribution system, which totally digitalises the classroom and takes it to the next level. Our aim is to simplify teachers’ work by providing them with tools to efficiently manage their classroom and enhance the student learning experience. The platform was created based on our own experiences as students at Zurich International School.

WHAT EXPERIENCES INSPIRED THE IDEA? We felt frustrated with current technological solutions at school. Although grateful to have many options to use in our different classes, we felt that our learning was hindered by having to switch from different softwares all the time to accomplish different tasks. Based on this, we wanted to create a comprehensive platform so students and teachers would only require one login in the classroom. So, we started to save up our monthly allowances to develop a trial platform. When one of our teachers and our parents decided to invest in us and our vision, we knew that we were on to something bigger than we ever imagined.

IS THERE AN ASPECT OF CIKUMAS THAT YOU FIND PARTICULARLY VALUABLE? Obviously, as the product is our “baby”, we find all of the features exciting and look forward to continuing to develop our vision for the perfect classroom. However, if there is one stand-out feature that we find most useful, it would be the student note taking tools. We don’t only provide the classic note-taking functionality, but students can actually highlight text and get it instantly translated to their native language. This is an incredible tool for multilingual students, like a lot of other students at international schools. Naturally, the fact that we as students can play a part in reshaping the way the modern classroom functions is extremely exciting and especially rewarding.

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International School Parent Spring 2018

HOW IS CIKUMAS INNOVATIVE? Innovation forms one of the core values at Cikumas. We know firsthand what works for our competitors and what doesn’t, at times even better than our competitors themselves because of our experiences as end users of their products. Therefore, we can take all the good parts of today’s EdTech world and mix them with inspirations taken from our own ideas or feedback that we have gathered from our teachers. Take the “Who’s viewed what” feature for the Class Wall. We know firsthand that students are always coming up with new excuses to not hand in their work, saying that they didn’t see the post or that they didn’t receive a notification. We show teachers and students, like in WhatsApp, exactly who saw what, essentially eliminating that excuse. Other innovative features include ideas like the Global Library, the new search bar, the note taking tools, or the automatic grading interface. We know a search bar doesn’t sound particularly innovative, but you would not believe that one of the main LMS’s that schools use actually do not even have this basic functionality. Our aim is really to address pain points that teachers and students experience in the platforms that they are using today. 8 |

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS THAT EXISTING LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FAIL TEACHERS, STUDENTS AND PARENTS? Current EdTech solutions are either outsourcing the teacher - by being too high tech, automated and hard to understand therefore making the teacher’s presence in the class redundant - or they are too simple and don’t comply with teachers’ and students’ vision of a modern classroom. Other solutions often don’t offer the flexibility teachers need to enhance their teaching experience. A main pain point we have discovered is that a lot of platforms don’t listen to user feedback, something that’s crucial in a changing industry, which is why we have made it one of our main priorities in Cikumas. Furthermore, currently parents don’t use LMS’s at all, and therefore can at most just follow the grades of their child.

WHERE DO SOME SCHOOLS GO WRONG IN CHOOSING LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS? Often times, decision makers implement tech from a top-down approach. School leaders or IT administrators choose which solutions should be used at their institutions and teachers are expected to use it in their classes. Research has shown that it is important to include both teachers and students in the decisionmaking process of what is needed in the classroom, to support a successful learning experience. We’ve also realised that schools spend a lot of their IT budget on hardware, which is what is tangible and what parents and other stakeholders see. However, hardware is just a part of the solution and the choice of software is just as important.

WHAT DO STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS HAVE TO GAIN FROM AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM SUCH AS CIKUMAS? Since Cikumas was created based on our experiences, we recognize how important it is to listen to feedback and needs of all our users. This allows our user base to have a direct impact in shaping the platform and its functionalities. Buying an integrated system is also cost effective for schools, as they forego the need to buy other systems. Our solution starts from 800 CHF per year, a drop in the ocean for most international school budgets. Furthermore, technology has the potential to completely transform how schools operate. Our goal is therefore to be the complete solution for all stakeholders in a school, eliminating problems such as incompatible software, non-transparent communication between schools and parents, information getting lost between systems, forgetting logins and having to learn multiple systems, etc. Parents also have a great deal to gain from using Cikumas. Apart from just seeing their children’s grades, they can follow closely what’s happening in their child’s school life. They can see their classwork and homework, and how much time their children spent working. Additionally, they will also be able to see teachers’ comments, and have a direct and easy link to their child and the teacher in the classroom. The result is a transparent and easy to use system for parents to gain more insight into their child’s school life and abilities than just their grades. We know that that is definitely something our parents would have liked to have.

International School Parent Spring 2018

HOW DID THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT CONTRIBUTE TO OR SUPPORT THE CREATION OF CIKUMAS? As IB students, we have been taught to take an active role in our learning and to be critical thinkers. This way of thinking helped spur us to start Cikumas and gave us the confidence to be student entrepreneurs. Our school is already quite technologically advanced with its 1-1 device policy and use of various EdTech products. We are aware that not all students have this opportunity in their schools but we truly believe that public policies will change to support this in local schools soon as well. In addition to this, our teachers have been extremely helpful by taking time out of their busy schedules to sit down with us and help us better understand their needs. We also had the help of other staff members who have put us in contact with their international network of educators and influencers. All of this has helped us to dream big, not to just focus on Switzerland but that we can reach educators and be featured in classrooms all over the world, in different national curriculums. We also believe that the perspectives and connections that an International School environment brings is a great resource in the early stages of a company. For example, one of the schools that uses Cikumas the most is in Kuala Lumpur, which we never would have gotten into contact with had we not had a personal connection to an international school friend who moved from Zürich to Kuala Lumpur.


IN WHAT AREAS DO YOU HOPE TO CONTINUE YOUR STUDIES? OR IS CIKUMAS GOING TO TAKE ALL YOUR TIME?! Alexander: We have decided to take time off after graduation to fully focus on developing Cikumas. It’s amazing to see how far we were able to go with this while working in a part-time capacity, juggling work, school and our social life. It is exciting to see how much farther we can take it, having our full attention and dedication. It’s challenging to be taken seriously as a student and we want to show that this is not just an “after school project” but a legitimate solution for schools. After that, I will most likely be attending university in Switzerland, perhaps business to help take Cikumas (and my future ventures) all the way. Noah: Our company is our first priority for our time after high school. However, I will definitely go to university at one point. A good family friend of mine and a very successful business man in his early 70s once told me that university made up around 7% of his time after high school, and that those 7% paid off later in life. I’d like to attend a university with similar forward-thinking people, such as Alex and myself, one that will support me on my future endeavours. I still haven’t decided as to where but I know that I want to go in the direction of computer science, art or business.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF CIKUMAS? Our goal is to reach as many teachers and schools globally including those with limited resources, which is why the current version of the platform will remain free of charge for users. As of this summer, we will be focusing on delivering whole school solutions to also cover the pain points that IT administrators, school administrators and directors face making us a one stop shop for schools. You can find out more about Cikumas at

If you have an idea or see an opportunity, just start to engage with it and come up with concepts of how you could execute it. Chances are very high that you will end up with something completely different, but you have to start from somewhere. Find a competent partner that complements your strengths and skills who is also a friend. Down the line, you will appreciate having a sparring partner and trusted companion. We also recommend people to plan their projects carefully since student projects often don’t have big budgets and every Swiss franc spent matters.

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International School Parent Spring 2018

Language Immersion in the Swiss Alps BY INTER-COMMUNITY SCHOOL ZURICH

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International School Parent Spring 2018

hildren can learn new languages easily, especially if given a real purpose to speak in a foreign language. The Inter-Community School Zurich encourages and expands students’ language skills and awareness. We believe that in a changing world being multilingual is a necessity. The school bus leaves the Inter-Community School Zurich filled with a Grade 3 class excited and a little nervous to start its overnight excursion into the Alps. The open, rolling countryside gradually gives way to narrow valleys with scattered villages and soon the bus is creeping up a mountainside on a narrow, winding road. The van stops at a scenic spot, but the children have not reached their final destination. When they climb into a Luftseilbahn (aerial gondola) to keep ascending the mountain, all have realised the uniqueness of this trip. The Luftseilbahn drops them and their teacher at Mettmenalp in the heart of Freiberg Kärpf, the oldest protected area in Europe and the largest in Switzerland. It is a region with more cows than cars and more marmots than people. During their short walk to the Berghaus (mountain chalet) where they’ll eat and sleep, they take in the sights: the shimmering blue See (lake), the green meadows, and the rocky peaks soaring above them. This trip is one of the multitude of ways students learn language at the Inter-Community School Zurich (ICS). The language of instruction is English, but German, the language of the host community, holds an important place in the ICS curriculum as well. Starting with the Early Years programme, children ages 3–5 can enter a bilingual strand to learn both English and German within a classroom setting in which both languages are used throughout the day. There are German-language teaching assistants in every classroom in the Early Years Centre. During lessons, children are introduced to German in age-appropriate ways: listening to stories, playing games and singing songs. This expands their knowledge and ability to engage with the language and gives them a real purpose to practice their language skills. This comprehensive language learning programme is what sets the stage for the Grade 3 students’ expedition into the Alps. Starting in their first weeks at ICS, these students will have enjoyed a series of truly integrated experiences that encourages them to speak German in the classroom, playground, and on field trips. So when the ICS German teachers greet them at the Berghaus with a cheerful Willkommen (welcome), it is not the students’ first authentic immersion into Swiss culture and German language. The teachers give a tour of the house, explain the house rules, and give an overview of what will happen during their stay. And it’s all in German. Sometimes new students who are freshly exposed to the language need a translation from a classmate, but that’s fine too. There are many ways that people communicate in the

real world, especially in a country like Switzerland with its four national languages. For the students, during the next 24 hours, all instruction will be in German. And while students might speak amongst themselves in English, they are encouraged to use as much German as possible, especially in the unit-based activities. This also applies to the class teachers who are not the German teachers. Seeing their teachers go through the same challenge and eventually witnessing their success is a huge motivator for the children. Soon the children are out for a hike along the See. They stop to make a fire and cook Cervelats on sticks, thrilled at how the ends of the Swiss sausages spread open like bird wings. They sing songs, solve problems, create art work, and participate in team building activities – all in German. The instruction is also tied back to the topics they are learning in the classrooms, meaning it will all stay with them as highly relevant. The students are then tasked with reading the information boards by the lake. The signs give information about various animals that live in the area: the Fuchs (fox), Luchs (lynx), Steinbock (alpine ibex), and Murmeltier (marmot) are a few of the favourites. The students choose two animals, learn in detail about those animals’ habitats, draw paw prints, and then answer questions about the animals. Then, back at the Berghaus, the students divide into groups to prepare a presentation about one of the animals that they will present to the entire class. Each group contains a German mother-tongue student to support the others, but everyone is expected to contribute in some way to the project and presentation. The exercise follows the theme of the trip – to challenge everyone and take them out of their comfort zone while ensuring they can succeed by collaborating and working as a team.

The afternoon wraps up with a simple dinner, followed by a night walk that gives a whole new perspective on the area. While it starts with the students all carrying batterypowered torches, it ends with only the light from the teachers’ flame-bearing torches. The rest of the evening is filled with marshmallows roasted on a fire and quiet songs, with all activities geared towards helping the students appreciate their peaceful surroundings.

After a night snuggled into warm sleeping bags and a simple Swiss breakfast of Brot, Butter and Marmelade (bread, butter and jam), more morning activities and lessons await. Far sooner than everyone would prefer, students are back to the Luftseilbahn for a return trip to the waiting ICS school bus and the journey back to Zumikon, while the German teachers begin preparations for the arrival of the next class. The students take home with them not only memories of fun and friendship in a stunningly beautiful location, but also a bigger lesson about communicating in a foreign language. They find that they do not need to be fluent to get through a day.

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International School Parent Spring 2018

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They learn that with creativity, courage, and collaboration they can understand and make themselves understood. Many will share this newfound knowledge with their parents, who themselves might be feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to communicate in a new language. It is a great reminder that a youthful, playful and open-minded approach to a new situation can be rewarding and enlightening. As students move up in grades at ICS, they continue to study German. Secondary students also have a choice to study Spanish and French. In addition, children of all ages can study their mother-tongue language. This gives students another opportunity to maintain and develop the languages they speak at home. By Grade 11, students can enrol in the German language courses which qualify them to receive an IB Bilingual Diploma issued by the International Baccalaureate Organisation. This Diploma, which carries great weight in university applications, is granted in addition to the IB Diploma and the ICS High School Graduation Certificate. If you would like to receive more information or book a personal tour of the Inter-Community School Zurich, please visit our website at or email us at

International School Parent Spring 2018

They learn that with creativity, courage, and collaboration they can understand and make themselves understood.

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International School Parent Spring 2018

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International School Parent Spring 2018

ne of the first things I noticed about Swiss parents when I came to live in Switzerland was how they encouraged, or if necessary forced, their young children to greet guests properly. Bemused, I would find myself shaking hands with two-year-olds when I arrived at friends’ homes for dinner. There is no doubt that Switzerland is a safe and nurturing place for children but high expectations can also put pressure on families. So how much effort is involved for Swiss parents in delivering the ideal Swiss childhood? Let’s take a look at 10 things Swiss parents do differently. 1


The quality of maternal and baby healthcare in Switzerland is second to none. From the moment their babies are born, Swiss mothers are surrounded by comforting expert help from people with time to spare. There is no rush to send new mothers home from hospital. Time is taken to help get breastfeeding established, if desired. And in most cases, it is desired. According to a 2015 Swiss Infant Feeding Study, 95 per cent of mothers in Switzerland were breastfeeding after birth. Almost two-thirds exclusively breastfed in the first three to four months, way ahead of most other European countries.



Swiss parents are generally reluctant to hand their children over to childcare providers. This may have something to do with the history of children who were taken away from poor parents by the authorities in the not very distant past. There is a still a feeling that a successful family does not rely on outside help. Grandparent care is very common, and mothers of young children rarely work full time (13%). More fathers are reducing their working hours too. Day care is very expensive and most children only attend for two or three days per week. More than that and the parents, if not financially pressed to work, risk being seen as selfish.



Swiss children, like all children in prosperous societies, accumulate an awful lot of stuff. The changing seasons add to the demand, and children end up with a full set of clothes, accessories and equipment for different times of the year. But Swiss parents don’t mind buying or renting second-hand items for their children. Parents’ clubs hold seasonal bring-and-buy sales for children’s clothes and items. There are half-a-dozen of these within 15 minutes’ drive of where I live. Communes also run toy lending centres, the Ludothek or Ludothèque, which work just like a library allowing parents to regularly renew their toy stock at home.



Parents are discouraged from driving children to school. Some parents of kindergarten children walk or cycle with them, but you see children from a very young age walking to and from school or getting public transport unaccompanied. There is not the same fear of abduction or paedophiles you find in many other countries. Forest days or play groups are very popular, where children spend the whole time outdoors with no shelter in all weathers. Once a week in winter, my daughter would come home from kindergarten smelling of smoke because they lit a fire in the forest to keep warm! What’s referred as free-range parenting elsewhere has no name here. Whether in suburban or rural areas, it’s the norm.



There is no urgency in the Swiss school system to teach children to read. In the two kindergarten years, when the child is aged four to six, learning is play-based and the concentration is on pre-literacy skills. The notion of boosting children’s IQ in their pre-school years is alien to Swiss parents. There is no market for flash cards, CDs or activity classes to accelerate babies’ or toddlers’ learning. By Christmas of first class (age six or seven), the Swiss child who began to learn his or her letters in August will be reading as well as their counterparts who started the ABC at age four.



The first fashion statement of the Swiss baby is an amber bead necklace, which is believed to be good for teething pain. Swiss parents also give their children herbal teas for different ailments, like fennel tea for indigestion, sage tea for a sore throat, or black tea to clean eyes affected by conjunctivitis. The family doctor may recommend leaving a chopped onion in the bedroom at night for a child with a blocked nose. Swiss parents are also big users of homeopathic remedies and they love their osteopaths.

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International School Parent Spring 2018




Swiss young people either start working very early or pretty late. Two thirds of Swiss pupils choose an apprenticeship – a mix of on-the-job and classroom-based training – when they come to the end of three years of compulsory secondary school. They may be only working part-time but they work alongside the adults in whatever company or institution offers them a place. It takes three or four years to complete an apprenticeship, after which there are lots of further education and training options to get more professional qualifications. Swiss parents have to help their children make the big decision of whether to aim for university or not when the children are still pretty young. Meanwhile, those who go to university attend four years of pre-university college when they finish secondary school before they begin a degree course. The young men do military service at nineteen. Depending on what they study graduates can be pretty ‘old’ when they qualify and join the workforce.


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I would love to know what the playground-to-child ratio is in Switzerland. It is certainly more favourable than in my home country of Ireland, where the fewer facilities available are always mobbed by crowds of children. Every new housing development seems to include a playground and often a concrete table tennis table. Swiss parents of young children never have far to go for action. The well-designed playground is only the beginning of a lifetime of great facilities for Swiss children – playing fields, swimming pools, sports halls, libraries and music schools galore.


Swiss kids are closely watched for any learning, speech or motor issues that might require therapy. By some estimates, half of all school-going children are receiving some sort of therapy to overcome learning difficulties. It is difficult to tell if this is because parents are pushing for intervention or if it has more to do with societal pressure. On top of the “official” therapies organised through school, many parents bring their children to alternative therapists.



There are many wild traditions in Switzerland that feel like they come from the Middle Ages, in some cases because they really do. Swiss parents are the ones who keep these traditions alive, passing them on to their children with enthusiasm. Some, like getting a home visit from St. Nicholas and his sidekick Schmutzli, are linked to the Christian calendar. Others, like parading in grotesque masks and burning effigies are more pagan in nature. Every region has their own special celebrations and children are involved from a young age.

International School Parent Spring 2018

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Why choose ISBerne? • O ur ISA test scores place ISBerne in the top tier of schools around the world. • Happy students – 96% of our students enjoy school. • H appy parents – our families appreciate and contribute to a strong, supportive parent community. • A new purpose-built campus. • E asy access by train, car or tram. Bussing can be made available for groups in Fribourg, Neuchâtel, or Solothurn. For more information visit our website at For questions, please call us at +41(0)31 951 25 58.

International School Parent Spring 2018

Juggling Academics & Elite Sports – How one school is trying to make it easier BY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL PARENT EDITORIAL TEAM

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In this conversation we speak with Antoine Laffay, Director of Sports at the International School of Geneva –Campus des Nations. Mr. Laffay has a wealth of experience in Physical Education and a passion for providing avenues for student athletes to succeed at an elite level, without having to sacrifice their academic potential. In this piece, Mr. Laffay highlights the challenges of communication and organisation for families of elite student athletes and explains how schools are well-positioned to provide more innovative approaches to supporting students and their families in managing their academic and athletic aspirations.

International School Parent Spring 2018

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International School Parent Spring 2018

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR A STUDENT ATHLETE WHO PERFORMS AT AN ELITE LEVEL? There’s a double challenge – academic and athletic. Students are held to the high expectations of their coaches as well as their teachers and have to balance a double life. The older students get, the more they have to make decisions, big and small, about what to prioritise at any one point in time: sport or academics. Rather than getting to the point where they completely sacrifice one or the other, it’s better to find a way to support them in managing both these important aspects of their lives.


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There are so many different actors to communicate with and different elements to prioritise at any one moment. Parents need to inform the school about upcoming absences from class, liaise with teachers to organise material to study at home, and ensure important academic deadlines such as exams or assignments aren’t missed. They equally need to be in constant communication with their child’s coach regarding training schedules and important events. Sometimes a choice needs to be made and catching up needs to happen either academically or in the sports training. Another important element is health and medical care. When a young athlete is injured, parents are left largely unsupported in managing the treatment and rehabilitation of their child.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE A FULL-TIME JOB! HOW DO THEY MANAGE? Other than constantly tearing their hair out?! Parents spend a lot of time emailing, calling and meeting teachers and school management to create a schedule and manage schedule changes to balance both aspects. Depending on the situation, they manage to find a tailored schedule that more or less works for the entire year, which isn’t often the case. Often, students keep the same schedule as their classmates and it’s a case by case basis to manage competitions. It’s complicated, it needs an incredible amount of work and availability on the part of parents.

HOW CAN SCHOOLS BETTER SUPPORT STUDENT ATHLETES AND THEIR PARENTS? I think schools can step up to take a larger role in the life of a student athlete. Schools are at the centre of a student’s life. It’s where they spend the majority of their day. Schools are, therefore, best-placed to serve as a platform to facilitate the communication between all the different actors. One example is the way the Swiss public school system manages to group all the student athletes for larger sports federations such as football or hockey into one programme in one school. They organise a tailored academic and training programme for that group. But I don’t find that individualised enough, especially for age, level, and the variety of different sports that students perform.

International School Parent Spring 2018

HOW DOES YOUR PROGRAMME, NATIONS SPORTS+ MEET THESE GAPS? The Nations Sports+ programme places itself at the centre of communication between parents, coaches and health professionals – as well as academics of course. It also takes on the responsibility of providing regular and fast access to health and medical professionals and services. Our objective is to make managing all of the aspects of academics and sport a smoother experience for students and their families, with fewer stressful unknowns and problems. We create a tailored programme for the individual student athlete based on their age, level and sport. There are four main pillars to the programme. Firstly, we organise individualised physical training before and after school, incorporating instructions from the student’s coach or sport federation (if the student performs at a national level). We regulate the intensity of the objectives according to the calendar of competitions. Another goal of this element is to avoid a situation where a student misses class owing to scheduled training during the school day. We speak with the coach and ensure that the same preparation is covered from 7am – 8am that morning and the student doesn’t have to miss class. The second important pillar is a dedicated medical team that follows the students. We have developed a partnership with Dr. Boris Gojanovic – Health and Performance Medical Director at the Hôpital de la Tour – who is our medical advisor. The Hôpital de la Tour is a medical centre approved by Swiss Olympic, and it’s compulsory for student athletes who have a Swiss Olympic Card to receive medical attention in a Swiss Olympic-approved medical centre. Dr. Gojanovic performs a complete medical check of all students in the programme, including electrocardiogram, blood test, and muscular composition. If a student

suffers a serious injury, we have direct access to him for a fasttrack appointment, MRI scans and precise diagnosis of what the student can and cannot do for the moment. A physiotherapist comes weekly to the school and works with any students who’ve experienced small injuries over the weekend. Students are given professional medical advice: whether they should go see Dr. Gojanovic, or adapt their training for a certain period, according to the diagnosis made. This is communicated to our personal trainers and the coaches. Lastly, a nutritionist works with students at the beginning of the year to create a nutrition plan and revisits these with the students 3-4 times throughout the year. The third pillar is the student’s academic progress, which remains a top priority. We want them to complete successfully their MYP or IB Diploma because they need to be prepared for and open to options other than sports. I personally hold a meeting once a month with the students to discuss grades, areas they’re struggling with, whether extra tutoring needs to be arranged. If a student needs to go away for an extended period for a placement or competition, we can anticipate and put measures in place so the student keeps up with their academic studies. Lastly, the school organises information sessions on issues related to the world of elite sports. We want students to be vigilant and informed about the more negative aspects of an athlete’s life, to avoid situations of being offered products, money or other things that could compromise their integrity and career. Doping is typical example. Students need to be regularly reminded what it is, how they might knowingly and unknowingly be drawn into it, and how to avoid this. There are products that are prohibited on an international level that students need to be aware of. These can even be products to treat something as simple as the ‘flu that students need to avoid. So, we will revise the list of products accepted by the student’s sport federation. Dr. Gojanovic also supports these sessions and students are open to call him at any time to check a product is OK. We want students to feel supported, and confident to communicate any issues that may arise.

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International School Parent Spring 2018


WHAT DO THE STUDENTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT: 1. Their biggest challenges juggling academics and elite sports. Henry

It’s important because students and their families need to be reassured that the health professionals looking after them are competent and trustworthy and that precise, coherent diagnoses are being made and adapted to their child and their needs.

Unlike other students, I don’t have the same amount of free time.

Christopher In the world of adolescent sport, there are two things we need to be aware of. Firstly, when a student is hurt, it’s not clear where to go and how to proceed. Secondly, after an injury, the student athlete will often be put aside. Whether off for a week or months, they’re usually left to their own devices.

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What we are able to do is adapt their training to focus on areas other than the injured one, so we gain time in their ability to reenter smoothly after their rehabilitation. The other advantage of including a medical team is in avoiding small injuries becoming more serious. Students can work with the physiotherapist to anticipate issues and adapt their programme to recuperate quickly from small injuries. The availability of a medical professional to advise a few days rest at such a moment can prevent more serious injury or the development of a chronic issue in which case the student could lose months during the season, falling far behind their teammates. So including a medical team helps the student in their performance short-term and long-term and this is the strength and originality of our programme.

Cycling | Yr 12 IB Diploma

Rock climbing | Yr 12 IB Diploma

The biggest challenge I face is probably the timing. Most of the rock climbing gyms are outside of Geneva and I sometimes go as far as Lausanne after a school day.


Basketball | Yr 11 MYP

For me, it is the start of the year… creating a timetable that everyone can agree on, the fact that missing practice shouldn’t be a regular occurrence, while working hard at school and studying for tests/exams is very important.


Track and Field | Yr 9 MYP

The biggest challenge is to keep up with homework when you train nearly every day. Your homework time is limited and every minute of your extra time is used for it.


Basketball | Yr 13 IB Diploma

The biggest difficulty is definitely fatigue. If you’re not managing your time well you’ll get worn out really quick due to the mental and physical strain. It is really important to be able to rest and recuperate, but at my stage in the IB there is basically no time off, so I sometimes miss out on much-needed rest.


Synchronised swimming | Yr 9 MYP

Trying to find time to do all the homework while still producing quality work and having time to relax and do sport can prove to be difficult.

International School Parent Spring 2018

2. The importance of academics. Henry

Cycling | Yr 12 IB Diploma

The unpredictability of sports means that you can’t afford to have no back up plan if something goes wrong, or if you end up not being good enough. On top of this it is not always possible to make a decent living out of your sport in the short and long term; this means that even if you have a career in the sporting world until you are 35, you still need to be able to turn to something you are passionate about, that you want to do and that you may even have a degree in.


Synchronised swimming | Yr 9 MYP

It’s extremely difficult to make it big in sports, and if you do, there’s always the risk of a career-ending injury or just performance drop. Without academics on the side, after your sports career ends, you won’t have many options available. Therefore, having a backup or a plan B is always a good idea. That is why I believe it is important to pursue academic success alongside elite sports. Liam |Basketball | Yr 13 IB Diploma

3. How they feel best supported. Christopher

I think the best is that I have been permitted to miss a regular weekly assembly (unless it is very important) to be able to go early to climb. This allows me three more hours of time to be able to get to the gyms that are further away much more easily.


Synchronised swimming | Yr 9 MYP

I don’t think that you can balance both academics and sport without people supporting you along the way: I wouldn’t be able to do anything without my parents’ support. My teachers are also very supportive and my coach is very understanding about school. Earlier this year I injured my back and since joining the Nation Sports+ programme they have supported me in my healing. As for the academic side of it, when I asked for math help I was provided quickly with a tutor and feel much more confident and seem to be getting better grades in math.

Henry Without my sport I wouldn’t have learned very valuable things like respect and hard work but in the end academics is my number 1 priority. For me I see academics as my future, a tool I can use to build my life and while I love my sport I won’t always be able to do it.

Rock climbing | Yr 12 IB Diploma

Cycling | Yr 12 IB Diploma

I think my parents have always been there and are the ones who sacrifice the most time and who are the most committed to ensure that I succeed. However, it would be wrong to say that they are the only ones who contribute to the support. My coach will always give me hours to train around my academic hours and not the other way around. Nations Sports+ providing tutors has proved to be extremely useful in my case, as I made a big jump from a public to a private school and was behind in terms of work from day one. It’s this combination of everyone willing to support you and believing in you which create the perfect atmosphere in which you can succeed both in the academic world but also in our beautiful world of sports and competition.

Link to Nations Sports+ beyondtheclassroom/sports/nations-sports

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James Dalziel – Head of GEMS World Academy 24 |


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Dr. James Dalziel is the new Head of School at GEMS World Academy Switzerland (GWAS). He has many years of experience leading schools, including spending the last 16 years in Singapore as Principal at threel different international school campuses. James Dalziel wants to bring his passion and energy to GWAS to provide strong, inspiring leadership and the best possible education for all students.

International School Parent Spring 2018

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT INSPIRED YOU, AT THE VERY BEGINNING, TO GET INTO EDUCATION? When I was in my teens, I had the opportunity to take a course at the Outward Bound Eskdale Centre and ended up staying and working there, and loved it. I loved the outdoor education elements of it, but I really got excited working with students. I then started working with kids that didn’t necessarily fit into mainstream education, and I just found my place. I came back, applied to university, and that was the start of that career choice.


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I think that between outdoor education, coaching athletics, and holding workshops for adults, teachers, and even for Principals, I have always enjoyed the idea of increasing people’s capacity. That is the core of it. The idea that I might have knowledge, skills, or an understanding that I can share, and that people have chosen to be there is, for me, very rewarding. I like to say that we are in the “people making” business. I think that is true whether the people are three, 13, 33, or 83; we always want to be giving of our ourselves and making people’s lives better.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN YOUR ROLES AS A SCHOOL LEADER? My leadership mantra is that I am here to improve learning for the students. The question that I keep coming back to is what is the intended outcome? What is it that we really want to achieve here?

SO WHAT CHARACTERISES A STUDENT GRADUATING FROM GEMS? That’s an excellent question. “If we are successful, what are these young people like as a result of their experience here?”. Of course, academic skill is critical, and we want to deliver excellent grades for our students. GEMS is a global organisation, placing a strong emphasis on developing a ‘global mindset’. One aspect that we hope to develop is global, intercultural awareness, with an openness to the benefits of it, as well as the skills to work within it. Another unique element of a GEMS education is a real focus on innovation. One of the things that I like to ask is “How are we creating an innovative mindset?” I think it’s quite misunderstood within education. People will say “We definitely want innovators.” One of my tests is to ask people about something they have done lately that’s been innovative. When you hear feedback from that, it becomes very clear that there’s very little consensus around “What do we mean by innovation?” Is innovation applying traditional thinking in new ways? Or is it applying new thinking in a traditional way? We want to set kids up to have the right mindset, skills and qualities, and to be open to new ideas. GEMS also seeks to inspire world activists and people who are going to make a difference in the world. We want to develop leaders of the future and ‘agents of change’. My philosophy is to get children used to partnering with people. I call it the ‘no muffin sale rule’. Selling muffins to raise money to give to an organisation doesn’t necessarily really help them understand what the complex issue is, let alone be an agent of change. You’re providing resources, which is a good first step. But if you really want to develop agents of change, you want people to understand systems thinking: Why is this a problem in the first place? The idea is to make them understand how to stand beside someone who has an issue and think about prototyping solutions. Maker spaces are a great way of giving kids a chance to prototype solutions, and to apply them in the world. It helps them understand what might work and what doesn’t work. We hope that they would have excellent partnering and team skills, not only for understanding problems, but for collaborating and prototyping. We hope that they have excellent systems thinking, where they understand the difference between complex problems and complicated problems. We want them to be able to prototype, or figure out who they can work with to prototype. And then go through that design process of “What’s working, what’s not working, and what can we fix?” Of course knowledge and the academic disciplines feed into this process too.

International School Parent Spring 2018


HOW DO YOU GET YOUR CHILDREN TO DO THEIR BEST ACADEMICALLY? I’m a real believer in rationale. So, why is it important that we are academically successful? Well firstly, it is still largely the measure that society uses whether you are transferring schools or going to university. We still ask, what were your marks?

I think they’d say three things: 1. A caring learning environment. A genuine feeling that everyone in this building cares about their child. Not just their teacher, but their coaches, the chef, the receptionist, the security guard; so, there is a sense of real warmth here. 2. Expert teachers. People who truly know, not only the discipline that they are teaching, but that have an understanding of the pedagogy too. 3. A learning program that holds everything together. So, we all know what’s happening in Grade Three and we know that that’s leading to success in Grade Four and so on. It is not just about academics but a sense of connectedness which makes every experience part of a bigger, collective goal.

Secondly, we need people who are knowledgeable about the world, and I know that the counter-argument is “Oh, you can look anything up these days.” Yes, you can, but you need to know what you’re looking up and actually it’s even better if you already know something about it! We think differently mathematically than we do in terms of language, or in terms of physical movement. Each one is a discipline of thought and to be able to think in a disciplined way allows us to solve better problems within those areas. Learning how to think like a mathematician, or a scientist or a musician is very valuable. That understanding is especially important in the International Baccalaureate (IB), which is all about a holistic education. We don’t want specialists in one discipline of thought. We actually need you to have experience across a multiple of disciplines. We want kids to think “Oh, that’s interesting, how historians think about this issue differently to an economist, or a how a statistician would?” And again, that helps us solve better problems.

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YOU HAVE A VAST AND VARIED AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM OF ACTIVITIES. CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT? This is all part of the learning program. We want kids to have great experiences. One of the tests for this with me is, when you talk to alumni from schools and you say “What had the biggest positive impact on you as a student? Where did you really come out of your shell? Where did you get that confidence? They don’t always point to an academic subject. They’ll often say “On the basketball court, or at music lessons, or in drama...” We don’t instinctively know where kids are going to find their passion so as a school, we have a responsibility to offer a wide variety of really high quality activities. I include academics in that too, but also service opportunities, trips, skiing, sports, and music. High quality is really important. This isn’t just about “Oh, go out with a coach or music instructor and see what happens.” No. We want you to have a high quality experience in order to get the utmost from the experience.

HOW DO YOU ENCOURAGE THE UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN DIFFERENT CULTURES AND NATIONALITIES, AND POTENTIALLY LANGUAGES, WITHIN THE SCHOOL? Well, firstly you have to declare that you value it. So, we recognise that we actually need that diversity of language and culture. Once that is clear, you can appreciate that your culture’s quite special and unique, relative to others. That helps people appreciate what it must it be like for someone who is learning a different language, or shifting to a different culture. Going forward, if you want to move into a different culture, having that openness and understanding is valuable, and we’re hearing universities recognizing that. Coming from an international school, I always tell the university applicants here, let them know that we have 35 different nationalities and many different languages. Emphasize how difficult it was for the person sitting beside you in math class when you first got to know them, and how you ended up working together. That’s such great experience for the future because that’s probably your reality, at least professionally, for the rest of your life. So, we value it, and then we find opportunities to develop that skill of working together, and then we celebrate as well.

International School Parent Spring 2018



My connection with this region goes back some time. I have done quite a bit of climbing in Chamonix. Being here offers many more outdoor opportunities that we didn’t always have in Singapore. Not impossible, but not nearly as easy to find. Even seeing my own kids just wander outside and play has been absolutely tremendous. Sunday is hiking or skiing day for us. It’s about getting out as a family and just exploring and tapping into the rich history here. One of our first family trips was a drive down to Italy. We saw where the Romans lived and explained the history. Just watching the kids framework out that “Wow, this is 2,000 years old!”, was wonderful. I have two children and they are both in this school. It has been reassuring to see how easily they have assimilated here. Neighbors, friends and the school community have all been just wonderful.

I think that as a parent, there is an incrediblely supportive community here. A really interesting mix of local Swiss, people who are on their 10th move from around the world somewhere and people who are on their first move, yet everybody just seems to come together. We have a very proactive parent group who really want to make the school a special place and to support other parents. There are language groups making connections across cultures, groups taking people cross-country skiing who’ve never been on skis before, and even a popular wine tasting parent group. It’s just a very pro-active, positive community. One of my mantras is: “The school should be adding value to the community.” Parents are part of that community. We open up our pool and gym at certain times. They can come in for free and use it. There’s a parents coffee area if they want to meet. We have parents who will drop their kids off, go for a work-out, then head into Geneva or Lausanne a bit later to avoid the rush. It’s quite supportive. We have a fantastic chef and a great restaurant. If the grandparents are visiting, the family can pop into the school, pick up their child and have lunch all together in our restaurant. This isn’t a school that says “Please drop your kids at the gate and go away.” Exactly the opposite of that. “Come in and have a coffee. Come in and chat. Connect with other parents. Sort out that play-date for Saturday or whatever it is. Have an exercise or language class.”

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International School Parent Spring 2018

POLISH UP YOUR CRYSTAL BALL. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MAIN TRENDS IN EDUCATION IN THE COMING YEARS? I think largely that they will be similar to trends in education that we have seen for the last 2,000 years. We’re never going to get away from dispositional or character education. “Beauty sustains itself through time” and there are certain skills and qualities that have always been valued. Resilience, the ability to focus and get involved and problem solving. I don’t think any of those skills or qualities will suddenly evaporate. What is interesting for me though, is technology. Humans and computers on their own aren’t as good as humans and technology working together. I think that is the future of education. How do we leverage what technology can provide us, without losing that human element? How we merge those two together is going to be really important, without losing all the skills and qualities that we’ve always valued.

I think education also has the potential to become more flexible. Flexible, in that we can choose to learn things in more ways than we ever could in the past as there are infinitely more opportunities. I think we have the potential to be more interdependent than we have ever been before. We know that more and more of our professional jobs are going to rely on our ability to connect with people and work in teams, and leverage technology. So, interestingly, that interdependence is not just with people, it is also interdependent on technology. I think we are getting better at being educators. We know more now about how the human brain functions than we ever knew in the past. For example, understanding what parts of the brain are activated and why language is so powerful as a learning tool outside of language acquisition All of this means that schools need to remain relevant. What are we preparing kids to be successful for? I think we’re preparing kids to be successful at looking at potentially big, complex issues, understanding project management and collaboration, and prototyping and systems thinking to make a positive difference.

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International School Parent Spring 2018


Happy children make brighter students.

A key challenge is going to be recognising that some of the skills and qualities of the future may not be the ones of the past. Not everything needs to change. There are some things that we need, such as effective communicators. That’s always been the case and I think it will be the case many years from now. The second aspect is being open to progress and transformation. Knowing when something does need to change. This is one of the biggest challenges I think for parents. Your child’s education may not look like your education, and that’s okay. Part of our job as a school is to inform parents about what the current reality is, and provide a rationale for how we have changed to meet new needs. As professionals, I think we need to be able to say confidently “Here’s where we are with reading or this is what we know about effective reading.” We need to know and understand past studies, and we need to incorporate them into future learning. We teach reading differently than we did in the 1960s for a reason and that is because we know more now based on research about what is effective. The same thing applies for numeracy. As long as the change is based on research, that is absolutely fine. James, thank you very much for your time. It has been a pleasure. GEMS World Academy Switzerland is an international school in Etoy, Vaud, Switzerland, offering all three International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes for students ages 3 to 18. GWAS offers an exceptional learning experience in state-of-theart facilities, with an emphasis on Wellbeing and Innovation. To find out more about what makes us unique and why we say that we are “a school built around your child”, please call us at (012) 964 18 18 or visit our website:

With us, your child will learn to love learning.

Every child has something brilliant if you give them the opportunity to shine.

Every child has a hidden talent, our school is the place to find it. GEMS was founded in 1959 on the very simple idea that school shouldn’t be a mould but a place where the uniqueness in every child is nurtured. Our International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes with a bilingual option, combined with our state-of-the-art facilities, offers students aged 3 to 18 an outstanding educational experience where every child can thrive.

021 964 18 18 – La Tuilière 18, 1163 Etoy

A school built around your child.

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International School Parent Spring 2018

tudents, teachers, and parents - we’re all looking for a welldeserved summer break, more sunshine and longer hours of daylight. But it can also be a challenge to have the kids at home for such a long stretch of time. They need a break from academics – but it’s also important for the brain to stay active and healthy. How does one balance the two? It’s a question we often get asked at TutorsPlus, by students and parents worried that all the great progress that has been made over the year will be lost over the summer. So, here are a few ideas to get you started.

THE BRAIN NEEDS TIME TO REST AND ABSORB The last few weeks of school there is so much excitement and anticipation of the holidays. Those first few weeks, students need to rest, play, and enjoy the sense of freedom that comes with not having to be at school at 8am. The brain and the body need time to calm down after what is often a tense and emotional period.

REMAIN MINDFUL OF AREAS IN NEED OF IMPROVEMENT Towards the beginning of the holiday, it is important to reflect on the past year. You can use the final report cards as a guide to celebrating the achievements your child has made and make a note of the areas that need improving. If there’s a particular skill or topic that is clearly causing concern at school, discuss with your child ways they can work on these over the summer. Perhaps this can be done through reading more on the topic or stimulating interest through a project or an exhibition related to the skill or topic. If the issue has been consistent, or your child is showing signs of losing confidence, organising some sessions with a tutor over the summer is an option to carefully consider. Sometimes only a few sessions are needed to unblock learning and regain this confidence, which will make a huge difference in your child’s attitude towards going back to school. Whichever way forward you choose together, remember to check in with your child through the summer to see whether they feel they’ve made progress since your earlier discussion.

DELEGATE HOUSEHOLD TASKS AND PLANNING Take the opportunity of your child having a little less going on in their life to delegate some household tasks for them to learn to do. For younger ones, this can be practising helpful habits such as setting the table and taking the dishes into the kitchen, and sorting and folding clothes. Older children can be help create the shopping list, do the shopping and, for an extra challenge, keep it all to a budget! If you’re staying close to home, you could even ask an older child to plan a surprise family adventure including all the elements involved: where you’ll go, how far away it is, how you’ll get there, how long it’ll take you, what you’ll eat, what you’ll need to take. Such planning and budgeting skills often come into school projects but aren’t explicitly taught. This is a fun way of practicing these important life-long skills.

COOK TOGETHER For younger children, cooking together presents opportunities to develop their concept of mass and weight through weighing and measuring ingredients. For older children, the opportunity to begin to master some simple, healthy dishes will enable them to be more independent in looking after themselves once they leave home. Other than simply learning and practicing this very necessary skill, it is also an opportunity to focus on perfecting an easy recipe from your family’s culture(s). This will make life so much easier when you receive a last-minute request for a food from your country to share at an event – so common in international schools!

ENCOURAGE THEM TO REDESIGN OR REDECORATE THEIR ROOM What a great way to practice spatial awareness, design concepts and creativity! The opportunities of this project are endless. For younger ones, cleaning off old stickers, painting furniture a different colour or creating fun frames for pictures or photos. Older children can measure spaces and furniture to move things around, as well as design clever new ways to store items and save space. You might even get rid of some old clothes, toys and more in the process. The biggest challenge will be resisting the urge to go to IKEA!

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International School Parent Spring 2018

Some other hidden opportunities include:


• Asking them to read the ingredients and instructions of a new recipe before and as you cook. • Reading signs as you travel and discover new locations. • If you buy a new game ask your child to read the instructions, set it up and explain it to you.


• If you go to a hotel, ask your child to find out for you if there’s a particular service, etc. in the Welcome Guide.

There is plenty we don’t know – but it’s not always easy to admit it, especially to a teen who knows it all. However, trying to consistently model humility and a willingness to learn something you don’t know is a great way to instil a healthy attitude to learning. It might not show immediately but they’ll look back to you as an example.

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• Some online games, especially role-playing ones, require a lot of reading and can actually be a great way to practise reading and communicating, especially when English is an Additional Language.


• If you buy any new device or complicated appliance that requires understanding the instructions, ask your teen to set it up and explain it to you.

Inviting your child to teach you something THEY know is a wonderful way to both model a great attitude to learning as well as reinforce their knowledge, especially for older children. I’m sure we’ve all experienced a time where we’ve tried enthusiastically to explain something interesting we’ve just learnt to a friend and in the fumbling, mumbling process, realise we haven’t really entirely understood it at all. From long division to calculus, philosophers, coding, soil analysis, the current definition of great literature, new perspectives on historic conflicts – the list is endless! Take your pick.

LOOK FOR HIDDEN OPPORTUNITIES FOR READING PRACTICE Some of you have children who spend their holidays reading everything they can get their hands on, relishing in the opportunity to be able to immerse themselves in a great book until the early hours of the morning. Some of you have to be more creative to find ways for your child to practise reading. Having dedicated reading time as a family – where everyone spends half an hour or an hour reading together is great for all the family. If your child, or even the whole family, are learning a new language, adding subtitles to movies is a great tool.


• Questioning and discussing song lyrics with your teen prompts them to actually read, understand and critique what they’re listening to. You might want to do some background reading yourself of your teen’s favourite music as this could well open a whole range of topics not for the faint-hearted! Be prepared for some honest and frank conversations.


• Never underestimate graphic novels and audiobooks. Graphic novels often treat powerful themes and the text plays an important role. Audiobooks on their own stimulate creativity and add to a child’s bank of knowledge and ideas. Reading the text alongside listening an audiobook is a very powerful way to engage interest in reading. If the book is compulsory reading for school, and your child is having trouble getting started, an audiobook could well solve the problem.

International School Parent Spring 2018

GET THE MOST OUT OF SCREEN TIME Screen time is a much-discussed topic and it is still early days on conclusive research on its benefits and harmful consequences. An important factor, however, is less the screen but the level of social interaction surrounding the event. For example, watching a series together as a family and laughing together or discussing the events of the story is a valuable screen time experience because of the social interaction and opportunity for reflection it brings.

CREATE A VISION BOARD As the summer winds to an end, and a new academic year approaches, your children will most likely be full of plans, ideas, well-rested, hopefully motivated, and maybe even a little nervous about the unknowns and expectations of the year ahead. That’s a great time to create a vision board – a visual reference of their passions, strengths, dreams, and intentions for the year ahead. This is a great exercise in learning self-awareness and also serves as a foundation for setting milestones to achieving goals. Templates for vision boards for kids are easily found online.

RESEARCH AND RESERVE EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IN ADVANCE Sometimes clubs aren’t set up until the first few weeks of school. However, depending on the activity there may be open days to put in your agenda in advance, or highly recommended music teachers that you will want to book early. In our experience, this also is the case for tutoring. If your child needs extra support in a subject or needs to fill gaps because they’re moving to a new school or new country, it’s worth booking tuition as early as possible to get a day and time that works best for you, as well as have access to the best possible tutor. If your child needs extra support with a particular subject, topic or skill over the summer break, we’d be delighted to find you an experienced, personalised tutor. You can reach TutorsPlus at 022 731 8148 or

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sandra Steiger Academic Support Manager Sandra Steiger has over 10 years’ experience teaching English at various schools in Switzerland. During her 6 years at the International School of Geneva, she was also the Service Learning programme Coordinator, International Award Supervisor, Homeroom Mentor and Head of Year 8.

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of international schools


International School Parent Spring 2018

mongst the criteria parents should consider when looking to enrol their children in an international school are its accreditation(s), authorization(s) and affiliation(s). Broadly speaking, an accreditation is a seal of all round quality with regard to the education the students receive, an authorization gives approval for the delivery of a particular academic programme, and an affiliation can be equated to the membership of a group with like-minded establishments. But of course, there is more to it than that!

In essence, both accrediting and authorizing bodies are looking to ascertain that a school is in a position not only to deliver an excellent education, but that it has the capacity and the means to ensure that the students’ learning experience is maximized. They each have slightly different requirements, but these fall under similar headings. For example, a school must have a clear mission which expresses its educational values end encourages positive, supportive relationships between students, staff and parents. In addition, the school management and leadership must be suitably qualified and experienced, set clear targets for school improvement and staff development, and professionally manage the school’s finances. The suitability of the school premises, satisfactory specialist facilities and the availability of up-to-date resources are also areas in which standards must be satisfied. A school must have approval to operate according to the local guidelines and legal requirements, and have in place appropriate operational licences, fundamental health and safety checks and procedures, as well as child safeguarding measures. These factors together provide the foundation upon and framework within which teaching and learning take place. The school curriculum must be clearly mapped out and communicated, taking into account the different needs of the students; outcomes monitored and evaluated through quality and fair assessment procedures that give consideration to the individual learning processes; and a culture of continuous professional development and institutional advancement established.

The most common accreditations to be found among international schools in Switzerland are those delivered by the Council of International Schools (, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges ( and the Council of British International Schools ( The accreditation cycle in each case covers five years, and places high demands on the schools and their staff. Such external validation is not simply a matter of compliance with a number of qualitative standards, but rather an encouragement for objective self-reflection, continuous self-improvement and judicious strategic planning. Student learning and well-being is at the heart of the process, as is the development of intercultural awareness and global citizenship. The process is validated by a visiting group of peers from other schools, who spend several days confirming observations using the school’s self-study and making recommendations, as well as commendations, to drive progress. It is important to realize that schools undergo accreditation voluntarily, and are evaluated within their own context, not measured against a generic definition of what constitutes a good school. Not all accredited schools will look or feel the same, but they will have a number of common characteristics, which embody their commitment to the students in their care.

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Authorizations also entail rigorous preparation and visits by independent evaluators. A school wishing to deliver one or more components of the high-quality and challenging International Baccalaureate Programme, for example, must apply to the International Baccalaureate Organization (, requesting to offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP) and/or the most recently developed Career-related Programme (CP). Schools seeking to become IB World Schools must have been in existence for a number of years and agree to comply with the programme specific requirements. The IBO determines

assessment criteria, moderates projects and assignments, and sets externally marked examinations. This allows a consistent level of comparability between students attending IB schools in different countries, and provides universities with a reliable yardstick for evaluating compatibility with their entry requirements. In a similar vein, schools wishing to offer any of the other internationally recognized programmes, must meet the expectations of the organization which oversees their delivery (e.g. the Cambridge International Programmes www., or one of Fieldwork Education’s International Curriculums

Provided they fulfil the membership criteria, opportunities exist in Switzerland for international schools to join organizations such as the Association Vaudoise / Génévoise des Ecoles Privées (AVDEP or AGEP at the cantonal level, and the Swiss Federation of Private Schools (FSEP at the national level. These bodies are open to private schools of all kinds, and provide a platform for their representation, working to optimize their positioning vis à vis the public domain within the local and federal political, economic and legal framework. The Swiss Group of International Schools (SGIS

has its origins in the 1960s and exists specifically to promote cooperation between international schools through interschool activities for students, as well as providing professional development through job-alike groups and an annual two-day conference in the spring. On an international level, many schools, or individual educators, are also members of the Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS, originally the European Council of International Schools, which helps them to remain current with latest educational trends, receive professional training and network with colleagues from around the world on various occasions throughout the year.

International School Parent Spring 2018

Watch out, watch out

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there are ticks about! BY DR MICHELLE WRIGHT

International School Parent Spring 2018

With summer upon us, it’s the ideal time to get out and enjoy the Swiss countryside and all it has to offer, including mountain and valley hikes, camping and picnics…..but remember to watch out for the ticks! Ticks are small arachnids about the size of a pinhead before they feed on the blood of their animal or human meal. Found the world over, ticks hang out in forests, parks, gardens and playgrounds with tick season usually running from May to November in Switzerland. They like thick undergrowth, dry leaves and low-lying vegetation - often being found on the edge of paths where they attach on to humans and animals as they brush past. Present on the Swiss plateau, ticks don’t like altitude so head above 1500-2000m to avoid them! Once these opportunistic little vampires have got onto the skin of passersby, they look for a choice place to bite, preferably a warm, moist area where the skin tends to be a bit softer – the groin, under the arms, around the hairline, behind the ears or behind the knees. And they’re clever things - people don’t usually notice when they’ve been bitten because tick saliva contains a local anaesthetic. We worry about ticks because of the potential infections they can pass on to humans when they bite.

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In Switzerland, ticks may carry the virus that leads to tick-borne encephalitis – a serious infection that can attack the nervous system. Flu-like symptoms are usually the first noticed and then in some people, the infection can spread to infect the brain tissue and the meninges (the protective covering that surrounds the brain and spinal cord). If this happens, high fever, headache, vomiting and a reduced level of consciousness can result.

Treatment is supportive with hydration, analgesia, medication to bring down fever, and perhaps steroids to treat any brain inflammation. Ticks may also carry the bacterium that leads to Lyme disease, the first symptom of which is often a red, circular rash that spreads outwards from around the tick bite. Flu-like symptoms may also be present for some weeks. If recognised at this stage, Lyme disease can be easily treated with antibiotics. If not treated, it is possible for the disease to worsen some weeks, months, or even years after the initial tick bite, affecting the joints, nervous system, skin and heart. Prolonged courses of antibiotics can still be given at this stage and may be curative. But don’t panic! Not all ticks in Switzerland carry the virus or bacterium that can lead to these infections. And even if a tick is carrying them, the rate of transmission to the human host is not 100%. Just to give an idea, even though there are countless tick bites each year throughout the country, there are about 10,000 cases of Lyme disease annually and about 100-250 cases of tickborne encephalitis. Ticks throughout the whole of Switzerland may carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease with 5-50% of ticks being infected depending on the region. But it’s less common that ticks carry the virus that can lead to tick-borne encephalitis. Around 1% in certain areas are carriers of this infection with Northern and Eastern parts of the country more affected. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health produces a map showing the hotspots:

We worry about ticks because of the potential infections they can pass on to humans when they bite.

International School Parent Spring 2018



Wear long trousers, socks and closed shoes in areas where there may be ticks; tuck trousers into socks.

Avoid walking in undergrowth.

Use insect repellent on clothing and skin.

1. Remove it as soon as possible - it can take up to 24-48 hours for germs to pass from the tick to you so the sooner it is removed, the better. Special tick removers are available from pharmacies.

Talk to your doctor about vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health recommends vaccination against this disease for adults and children over 6 years living in high-risk areas or regularly visiting them. Note that there is no vaccination against Lyme disease.

Check yourself and your children regularly for ticks, remembering the areas of the body where they like to hang out and making sure you check clothes before you take them off if you’ve been in a possible tick area.

And don’t forget to check your pets regularly as well.

For more information, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel is a great resource:

2. Once removed, wash and disinfect the area around the bite. 3. If you think some of the tick has been left behind, see a doctor. 4. Stay vigilant - see a doctor if you develop any redness around the tick bite, a rash, a fever, or any other symptoms you’re worried about.

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Stay safe with this knowledge, but still enjoy the wonderful countryside that Switzerland has to offer this summer season.

And there is also a smartphone App about ticks in Switzerland, including what to do if you are bitten, and a video showing how to remove a tick. Search “Zecke – Tique” in the App store or on Google Play. The App is available in English.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr Michelle Wright is a British-trained General Practitioner and Executive Director of HealthFirst, providing dynamic First Aid Training and Health Education in English throughout Switzerland ( She also has a regular radio show about health on World Radio Switzerland (

International School Parent Spring 2018

How to make a smooth transition to a new school

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Whether in the same city you currently live or in another country, transitioning to a new school can be incredibly exciting, but also nerve-wracking and quite emotional. There are so many unknowns: How will my child cope with seeing old friends less, and making new ones? Will their new teachers be supportive of their

individual struggles? How am I going to keep it all together?! Drawing on our years of collective experience of easing academic transitions at TutorsPlus, here are some elements to consider so you and the whole family feel better prepared for the big move.

International School Parent Spring 2018


• Openly discuss your expectations, hopes and fears as a family, and emphasise to your child that it’s normal to have feelings of doubt as well as excitement! Being honest about your own feelings reminds children they’re not alone, and that their own perspective is part of a larger family dynamic. However, if you have any concerns about your child, try to keep these to yourself and focus instead on being constructive and optimistic about their ability to overcome their fears and doubts. • Make as many decisions as possible together with your child. Visit the different school options together and consider your child’s opinion in the choice. If there are elective subjects, make sure your child has their input. It’s important that your child feels as much ownership and control over their new surroundings as possible as will set them up to be more responsible for and committed to their new life.

• Alert the school as early as possible to any important allergies, disabilities or special learning needs that your child has. They need time to consult with staff and services to make sure that they will offer the best support possible for your child. They’ll also then be able to inform you on any school, or even national, policies that may be different to where you’ve moved from. • If you’re on Facebook, ask the school or PTA/PTO for the names of recommended local groups that can support your transition. If you aren’t on Facebook, don’t hesitate to ask others, like the PTA/PTO, to make a request on your behalf! Whether it’s for information, bureaucracy, sports groups, language learning, making new friends, help in the case of emergency – these groups are minefields of information and support.

• If you’re moving country, make sure the whole family has an opportunity to say goodbye to friends, favourite locations and anyone or anything that has been special. As a family, talk about what you’re grateful for in the time you’ve had to get to know the place. Saying goodbye allows space for new beginnings.

• As soon as you have decided upon a school, prepare any extra tuition ahead of time, even while you’re still at your current school. Get full reports and feedback from your child’s teachers about where they’re at academically and socially. What skills or topics haven’t they mastered yet? What skills or competencies does the new school expect your child to have upon entering the academic year? Will your child need to learn a new language? Even if your child is moving from one programme to another on the same school campus it is incredibly worthwhile finding out if there are gaps ahead of time. Our most common requests are for Maths, Sciences and Languages and we find that students who receive support ahead of time transition much more easily into their new academic programme. • Be honest about your child’s needs. It is rare to find a school who won’t make it their priority to fully support your child as they enter a new environment. Schools have all sorts of support systems in place: homework groups,

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buddy systems, counsellors, intensive language learning classes, learning assistants, gifted programmes - the list goes on. A school can only help a smooth transition when they know if your child has some gaps to fill in a particular subject area or skill or even if your child needs a bit of extra emotional support due to difficulty handling the move. Letting your new school know early on about suspected or confirmed special education needs will also help teachers and management prepare without delay to observe and put into action the various systems they have in place to support your child academically and socially. • If you’re moving to a country where you don’t speak the language, try and organise classes in advance to give yourselves a head start. A family group on Duolingo can be a fun way to “compete” against each other with your language progress. Sharing your funny stories about language “fails” can help counter the often frustrating and debilitating feelings of those early days learning a new language.

International School Parent Spring 2018


• Set idealistic expectations of each other. Talk about how things might be tough for a few months, and even the first year. Be aware that everyone in the family might act a little differently as each person adjusts to the change. Don’t be surprised if your child wants to sleep more, goes through a moment of being quieter than usual, or experiences days/weeks of huge excitement followed by sadness and loneliness. • If there are any family traditions or rituals that you’ve let slide, make an effort to bring them back in your new home! Or create some new ones that your family can look forward to and feel stabilised by in those first few months of radical adjustment.

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• If you’ve moved time zones, figure out together as a family what the best time is to chat with friends and family you’ve left behind, and try to make sure that precious time doesn’t get filled with other commitments. This isn’t always an easy one – as getting enough sleep is also important! But be prepared to relax the rules a little at first and be more flexible and creative! When I was suffering a particularly lonely period after a move to a new country, my partner offered to message me every day at 3pm “Have you called a friend today?”, as that was the time I had discovered my friends back home were most likely available.

Saying goodbye allows space for new beginnings. • Depending on your child’s age and what works with your family, find ways to capitalise on the benefits of social media to keep in touch with friends and relatives.

• If the school doesn’t offer an orientation day, request one, so that you and your child can meet the teachers and get to know where important things are located – like lockers, the cafeteria, the office to go to for help, the library, and the bathrooms! Ask the school to explain their grading scale and their attitude to homework. There’s always too much new information on the first day so try spread it out. It also gives you and your child a chance to share any concerns ahead of time… before all students arrive! • Find out how to get to school, whether there are any safety concerns you should be aware of regarding walking or cycling to school or when taking public transport. Inquire about the reliability of trains and buses as well as how the ticketing system works. Do a trial run. • Make sure you have the names and contact details of your child’s teachers, the principal and the school nurse. Also, ask what the country’s emergency phone numbers are and keep these in a visible place. • Every school has a different way of communicating with parents. Find out if you are responsible for regularly visiting the online calendar or portal, if the school sends regular updates via email or SMS, or if important information will come home in paper form with your child. In the latter case, be sure to comb your child’s backpack every evening those first few weeks as - even in the rare case they are miracle children who always remember to pass the info on! - there will be guaranteed information overload at the beginning of term. • Getting up early for the first day is rough! Practice getting back into a sleep pattern that fits the school time rhythm a week or two in advance of the first day back.

International School Parent Spring 2018

• Organise any loose handouts with contact phone numbers, names or important websites in a place you can find easily when you need them. If you’re still unpacking boxes, make sure there’s at least one corner dedicated to filing /organising all the new information about the new school and your new home. Visit the websites, links and portals the school gives you and bookmark them. You’ll inevitably need to contact someone quickly at some point got more information and you’ll be glad not to have to waste time tidying the house (or moving unpacked boxes around!) just for that phone number or email address. • If your child is not the most reliable at handing you any paper-based information – make sure you go through their bag with them every evening, especially the first few weeks of class. There’ll probably be more information than either of you know how to handle! So make a ritual of it. It’s never too early to practice being organised.

• Search for ways you can network and connect either by asking advice from your new employers, or the school or PTA/PTO. In as much as possible, get involved with the PTA or PTO. It will help you learn more about the school, meet people who could become new friends, and increase your knowledge of the community and what resources are available to make your transition smoother. Not only that, but if you’re not working for the moment, it can give you the opportunity to put your skills, talents and time towards the school community – great for the school and great for you, as we all feel better when we feel we’re contributing to something worthwhile. • Keep an eye out for early indications of your child struggling academically. More often than not just a few sessions with a tutor can help overcome a small block before it turns into a larger issue. In our experience, once a child loses confidence in a subject, it takes much more time to unblock the barrier to understanding and learning.

• Without overloading their schedule, get your child involved outside the classroom. Do they want to continue old activities and/or try something new? Identities and tastes are often shifting - your child might be excited to take advantage of the opportunity to redefine themselves by exploring new interests.

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If you’re preparing a school transition this year, we wish you and your family all the very, very best! If you’re considering tuition, it would be a pleasure to match your child with an experienced, personalised tutor who can help support their transition to a new programme or school. You can reach TutorsPlus at 022 731 8148 or

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sandra Steiger Academic Support Manager Sandra Steiger has over 10 years’ experience teaching English at various schools in Switzerland. During her 6 years at the International School of Geneva, she was also the Service Learning programme Coordinator, International Award Supervisor, Homeroom Mentor and Head of Year 8.

International School Parent Spring 2018

A home for a global community In conversation with Naomi Hattaway, founder of I Am A Triangle (IAAT) and 8th & Home Relocation

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International School Parent Spring 2018

he stresses and strains of a move abroad can have a lasting effect on families, without the proper support. Yet with the pangs of moving away from family and friends, it’s often easy to overlook the huge network of potential allies, friends and supporters that you’re moving into. The potential safety net of the international community is something that Naomi Hattaway, founder of I Am A Triangle (IAAT), has tapped into with her international social network of thousands of global members who share

WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR OWN UPBRINGING? I had a very unconventional upbringing. I was born in the mid70s in Nebraska, USA, out in the middle of cornfields in a very rural area. My father is black and my mother is white and, at the time, it wasn’t widely accepted to be of mixed race. Added to that was the fact that we were home-schooled by my mother before it was legal to do so, and this meant that we grew up feeling like we didn’t really belong anywhere. As a result, my mother created our own community and opportunities. I loved being home-schooled. My mother had the freedom to be completely flexible with our schooling; we experienced a lot of real-life scenarios and were taught to understand from experience, not just textbooks. We would go to a construction site, for example, and talk to the manager who would explain how the boom worked or the wrecking ball functioned. As we got older, my mother would develop our work for the week and she let us do it at our own pace, which allowed me to learn about self-reliance and time management. I had several different jobs after graduating, including as a para-legal for a long time, but began my international life when I met my husband 15 years ago. In our overseas homes, I mainly occupied myself with volunteer work, and I found a huge amount of meaning and value in giving back to the community. This led me to start my real estate referral network four years ago, which connects people on the move with agents who actually have some empathy and awareness around what it takes for family to relocate, and also to set up the I Am A Triangle network.

the experience of a life away from home. With a passion for community building and helping international families ease the emotional burden of a move – based on a lifetime of personal experience – Naomi has developed the IAAT network from a Facebook page to an online resource and community with in-person gatherings in more than 70 cities across the globe. We speak to her about what inspired her to set up the network and how she sees it developing in the future.

WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN OF MOVING OVERSEAS? I have moved 16 times, eight of which have been as a family. From the United States, we moved to India, then a year in Singapore. Following this, we moved back to the US, from Florida to Virginia to Ohio. So we have experienced both moving overseas and inside the US, which has been an interesting contrast. As many international families experience, you get into a routine of moving and develop a set of coping mechanisms to make it easier. We got really close as a family during our time overseas, but we also know that we cope better when we have good people around us, so we try and slot into a new situation fairly quickly. We’ve noticed since having children that the school environment makes it much easier as it provides a natural opportunity to meet people. There’s also a difficult emotional dynamic which comes with every move. I realised during our last relocation that I had often taken on the role of ‘the barometer’ for our family. I would be extra attentive to who needed what, but in the process neglected how I was feeling about the move myself. I was afraid, in the past, that if I expressed my sadness to my children, they would be influenced by that and see the negative side of the situation. However, as they get older and more used to moving, they’re able to process these emotions better, so I’ve been able to have moments when I’m crying and not have to hide it away from them. We’ve been able to talk about it, which has been a really good thing for our family. We’ve achieved that level of awareness as a result of these upheavals, so we now know what emotional processing needs to happen.

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International School Parent Spring 2018

LET’S TALK A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES MOVING BACK HOME TO MOVING OVERSEAS; WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACED? It’s easy to assume that the move abroad is more difficult than a move within our home country, and it’s true that there is a much more instant culture shock when you arrive in a foreign country. However, there are advantages to this, as it provides a ready-made community of outsiders, all hoping to find common ground with those around them. In our experience overseas, there is a heightened level of awareness and expectation among the international community that someone who has just arrived might need something. Those that have gone through the same experiences as you are ready to ask if you’re ok, or to understand and empathise with the issues that come with moving, like the stress of a lost container or an unsettled child.

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Then there’s the infrastructure which comes with being part of that community. When we moved to New Delhi, for example, dropping the children off at school provided the perfect opportunity to build relationships with the other parents as the international school catered to this need with a café on site, so you could sit and chat to other parents right there and then. The difference, in our experience of moving back to the States, is that there is an assumption made that we will know how things are done in that culture, and therefore slot in much easier. People around us are much less attentive than they would be if it was obvious that we were out of our comfort zone. The school set-up is different, as most parents either drive their children or send them on the bus, so there’s less parent interaction. It’s difficult because you feel like you should be comfortable and at home in you own culture, yet you lead a completely different life to those around you and lack the support of family and friends.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF SETTING UP I AM A TRIANGLE AND WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE COMMUNITY? The move back to the US was quite sudden, and because of this I felt more out of control than I had during previous moves. I was enjoying our time overseas, and moving home I was naïve in thinking I didn’t need to prepare, plan or research as I usually would have, so my repatriation back to the States was very difficult. My mother, who is a missionary in Kenya, saw that I was struggling and shared this piece of wisdom with me. The I Am A Triangle concept centres around a transition the individual goes through represented in shape form; when you are in your home country, it’s as if you are a circle and all of the things around you, like politics, food, religion, celebrations, seasons, make sense to you. When you move overseas, those same things are there but they are represented differently, as if in a square. To fit in and adapt, you can’t stay a circle, but neither can you ever fully become a square and, so the concept goes, you become a triangle. Once you return home to the land of circles as a triangle, you no longer fit in there either. This idea resonated strongly with me: it made sense and provided a reason for why I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I wrote a blog post about it initially and was amazed by the strength of the reaction I got from hundreds of people. I realised that there was a real need there that wasn’t being filled. I decided to start a Facebook group as a platform for those who were going through these experiences to talk to each other and collectively support each other. It was a huge success. It was a platform where people that felt adrift could come and have those hard conversations with others who really understood what they were feeling. We outgrew Facebook at around 16,000 members because we became too big to be of service to one other. I Am A Triangle exists to provide support and have the answers that can’t be Googled, but those snippets of useful information were being lost in the stream of content, so we needed to find a better way of organising it for our followers. We also matured away from it as we developed the culture and personality of I Am A Triangle. I always intended for it to be a platform which champions kindness and is entirely supportive, without being a crutch or interfering in family life, and I felt like there was potential for it to get away from this on Facebook.

International School Parent Spring 2018

HOW HAS THE PLATFORM DEVELOPED NOW THAT IT HAS ITS OWN DEDICATED WEBSITE? We have been able to branch out and develop our content to include support, resources, advice and entertainment for our members, in an easily accessible format. The community has grown and expanded around the globe, with gatherings that help people network and get support from other ‘triangles’ in more than 70 cities worldwide. Members that sign up can access a community of people ready to provide them with invaluable advice and practical help in their area, as well as benefit from the expert content we share. It’s also now a space that people feel safe in. We noticed that members quickly began to personalise their anonymous profiles and identify themselves because they felt it was a place they could really open up without fear of judgement. From my point of view, the transition allowed me some breathing space to take a step back and look at the essence of what we were trying to do. I was spending upwards of eight hours a day monitoring the Facebook group and it was taking away time from my family and my business, which was detrimental all round. Since moving to the new site, I’ve been able to manage it more easily and ensure it remains true to the I Am A Triangle standards.

AND WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR IAAT IN THE COMING YEARS? This year our aim is to turn our focus more towards community impact. We have built up a fantastic network of international people who already add a lot of value to others in terms of support and practical help, but we want to develop this further. Many of our members want to do something to help their local communities while abroad, and volunteering while you’re overseas can sometimes be very challenging. So we’re looking at partnering with some volunteer organizations to help bridge that gap. We’re also looking at what monetary impact we could collectively have on charity projects or to aid members in difficulty or distress. With a large community like ours, I think that would be something beautiful to see. As well as focusing on growing I Am A Triangle, I personally am continuing to grow my real estate matchmaking service around the world, as I know from personal experience how much of an impact on a family’s wellbeing a smooth move can have. I’m also collaborating with Emmy McCarthy, who runs Amsterdam Mamas, to explore leadership at a micro-level and how it correlates to community building. We’re hoping to write a book about this aimed at the international community later this year, to bring a microphone to these important issues.

WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO’S ABOUT TO GO THROUGH A MOVE, EITHER BACK HOME OR ABROAD? For those moving home, I think the first thing is doing that practical research that I overlooked on my return. When you’re moving abroad, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of researching a new environment and preparing for a new culture. Going home, we feel like we know what we’re doing and what we’re heading to, yet it’s the same process of emotion and upheaval – so it’s important to be aware of that from the start. Secondly, I would recommend a mechanism for talking about how you feel. From my family’s experience, this has been so crucial to coping with a move. We use a deck of cards called A New Adventure by Dr Sarah Whyte, which are very simple cards for helping to express emotion and coach yourself on how to deal with it. The act of a third-party, in whatever form, coming into your family’s discussions can be helpful, as it takes the pressure off the adults to try and draw feelings and emotions out of children, or vice versa. We pull out a card when we’re together at the dinner table and talk about the emotion that comes up. It’s a simple way of making sure everyone is processing their emotions in a healthy and open way. I also think it’s hugely important – wherever you are moving – to leave on a positive note. This is again a very basic concept of making sure that you leave the last location well, so that you can land in the new one without residual negativity. It has been something we practiced as a family on each move, and has had a huge impact. That concept is inspired by Jerry Jones’ articles on Leaving Well, as well as by a book called This Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick, where she talks about how to placemake and how the act of intentionally saying goodbye to a place means that you can say hello to the next one with a little more space. We do this by doing simple, meaningful things which will give us closure on the place we are leaving. This might be revisiting our favourite places and walks one last time and taking photos so that we have something to look back on as a family, or saying thank you to the people that have mattered to us. For our last move, for example, we made a special trip to one of our favourite restaurants to thank the waitress there. She had made us feel welcome when we first arrived, so we made an effort to tell her that we appreciated it. And lastly, it’s about reaching a place of acceptance and awareness of everything that a place has given you. Whether you had growth or whether you had loss, I think I think it’s about embracing it for all it has been to your family and making sure that the baggage you move with is physical not emotional. To find out more about Naomi and I Am A Triangle, visit:

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International School Parent Spring 2018

6 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Switzerland that you must visit 50 |

Switzerland - famous for stunning mountain scenery and cosmopolitan cities - also boasts 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites that travellers in Europe must visit.

International School Parent Spring 2018

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UNESCO-Welterbe Tektonikarena Sardona

International School Parent Spring 2018

orld Heritage sites are selected for special protection due to their cultural, natural or scientific significance by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).


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Switzerland has 12 UNESCO sites, which include magical cities, breathtaking landscapes, captivating history and hidden gems - and testify to the country’s rich cultural and natural heritage. Here are six of our favourite:


Standing in a valley in the Grisons, the Convent of Müstair is a striking example of Christian monastic renovation - and features Switzerland’s finest figurative murals. The monastery was founded by Charlemagne - the Holy Roman Emperor - in the 8th century, then converted into a convent for nuns in the 12th century. A community of nuns continue to live here, following the Benedictine principles of prayer and work. St John’s convent features many architectural styles and artistic expression spanning more than 12 centuries - offering excitement for anyone with an interest in archaeology or art history.

Stiftung Pro Kloster St. Johann in Müstair

International School Parent Spring 2018

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Stiftung Pro Kloster St. Johann in Müstair

Activities • Visit the Convent Museum and discover twelve centuries of monastic, architectural and artistic history, including guided tours. • Take a church tour and explore the world’s most extensive and preserved early-medieval fresco cycle. • Enjoy a guided tour of the 8th-century Chapel of the Holy Cross. • Spend the night at Guesthouse / Maiensäss a unique Benedictine guesthouse. Stiftung Pro Kloster St. Johann in Müstair

International School Parent Spring 2018

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Roland Gerth



The magnificent Baroque cathedral and Abbey District are worldclass structures, set amidst a beautiful, historic city in eastern Switzerland. The Abbey’s famous library, known as ‘the Pharmacy of the Soul’, includes a spectacular Rococo interior and 170,000 books including 2,000 priceless medieval manuscripts. St. Gall’s charming, traffic-free old town is a great starting-point for cycle and rail trips to Lake Constance and Appenzellerland. And hikers can enjoy the ‘Bridge Trail’ - which crosses over 18 bridges in the Sittertobel. Roland Gerth

International School Parent Spring 2018

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Kurzschuss photography gmbh

Activities • Visit the Cathedral and the Abbey Library one of the oldest libraries in the world. • Take the breathtaking Old Town Tour. • Follow in the footsteps of Gallus, the wandering monk, with the Gallus Tour and the Children’s Gallus Tour. • Take the Voralpen-Express from Lake Constance to Lucerne, via St.Gallen and enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Toggenburg, Lake Zurich and Rothenturm.

International School Parent Spring 2018



The three mighty fortresses of Bellinzona are outstanding examples of 13th-century medieval military fortification. Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro, linked by walls, provided essential defence to Bellinzona, were first mentioned in 590 and were recently restored to their former glory. The oldest of the castles is Castelgrande, where the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Art are located. The Old Town offer guests the chance to wander through medieval streets. OTR Bellinzone e Alto Ticino

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OTR Bellinzone e Alto Ticino

Activities • Each castle has its own museum and captivating exhibits. • The Old City Tour includes a variety of guided tours. • Visitors can ride the Artù Tourist Train to the castle. OTR Bellinzone e Alto Ticino

International School Parent Spring 2018

Jacques Perler, OTRMBC



If the striking mountains rising above crystal blue water haven’t captivated you, then the potential discovery of ancient fossils will. Monte San Giorgio’s beautiful countryside and marine lagoon could earn a UNESCO listing alone. And once you include fossils that are nearly a quarter of a billion years old, this special place clearly deserves a visit. The mountain beside Lake Lugano is regarded as the best fossil record of marine life from the Triassic Period (245-230 million years ago), ranging from marine life that lived in the tropical lagoon, to the reptiles, insects and plants that lived on-land.

Jacqueline Quattropani, OTRMBC

Activities • Explore Monte San Giorgio’s cultural trail on Monte San Giorgio, taking you from the lake to the forest. • Discover fossilised animals and plants in the Fossil Museum.

F. Banfi, Fondazione Monte San Giorgio (FMSG)

• Uncover the history of Monte San Giorgio on the Geo-palaeontological path.

International School Parent Spring 2018

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The collision of Africa and Europe resulted over millions of years in the formation of the Alps. Gargantuan forces propelled rock layers over one another, folding and splitting them. At the Tectonic Arena Sardona, shared between the Canton of Glarus, St. Gall and GraubĂźnden, you can see the result of these processes clearly. Seven peaks rise above 3,000 m and demonstrate mountainforming with breathtaking clarity, as glaciated mountains rise above river valleys in the Central Alpine region.

UNESCO-Welterbe Tektonikarena Sardona

International School Parent Spring 2018

UNESCO-Welterbe Tektonikarena Sardona

UNESCO-Welterbe Tektonikarena Sardona

Activities • Hike the Sardona World Heritage Trail. • Discover the hidden treasures with a GeoGuide Sardona. • Find out more at the Visitor centres in Elm and Glarus

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International School Parent Spring 2018



The prehistoric life of Neolithic people is captured in these fascinating settlements. Many of these pile dwellings are underwater and hidden in marshes, making them difficult to access. Visiting one of the museums such as the Laténium in Hauterive offers the best way of experiencing them and getting an idea about what life between 5000 and 500 BC might have been like.


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Activities • Experience the pile dwellings by visiting Laténium - Switzerland’s largest archaeological museum. • Discover insights into the life of our ancestors, with demonstrations and workshops at the Lakeside Village of Gletterens. • Visit the settlement of Wauwilermoos. • Discover how tools were made 5,000 years ago, at a Prehistoric Workshop. Laténium

Old City of Bern

International School Parent Spring 2018

UNESCO World Heritage in Switzerland Three outstanding natural phenomena and nine great cultural achievements in Switzerland bear the most sought-after emblem of UNESCO, as Natural and Cultural World Heritage properties. Each of them stands for authenticity, quality and diversity for many generations to come. These values are part of the identity and mentality of the Swiss population. 1 Convent of St. Gallen St. Gallen’s magnificent emblem is its sublime cathedral, which together with the Abbey District forms a historic ensemble. A visit to the Abbey Library is a must.

7 Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch Dramatic mountain ranges, valleys steeped in traditions and the largest glacier in the Alps entice, as does the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona Over millions of years the continental collision between Africa and Europe created a pile-up of peaks. The Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona reveals the extent of this phenomenon.

Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces are part of Switzerland’s largest wine-growing region and are a shining example of how people harness their natural environment.

3 Convent of St John at Müstair The monastery complex was founded by Charlemagne in the eighth century. It hides a fascinating blend of architectural styles and cultural treasures spanning 1,200 years of history.

9 La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning The towns are important watchmaking centres and successful symbiosis of urban and industrial planning.

4 Rhaetian Railway Albula / Bernina The spectacular 122 km stretch between Thusis and Tirano is a masterpiece of engineering from the early days of rail travel.

10 Prehistoric Pile Dwellings The site counts 111 prehistoric settlements in six countries – of which 56 are in Switzerland. The best way to experience them is to visit the Laténium near Neuchâtel.

Three Castles of Bellinzona The three castles of Bellinzona – Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro – are among the most significant examples of medieval defensive architecture.

Old City of Bern Founded in 1191, Bern features a historic Old Town quarter renowned for its medieval magic, impressive cathedral and attractive arcades.

6 Monte San Giorgio Marvel at perfectly preserved fish and marine reptile fossils at the Fossil Museum of Monte San Giorgio in Meride and be transported 240 million years back in time.

Discover now Embark on a journey to these natural and cultural treasures. Take advantage of our attractive offers:










Event World Heritage Days Every second weekend in June






The World Heritage Sites open their doors and invite you to discover their secrets, their uniqueness and their extraordinary value.


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International School Parent Spring 2018

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Our pick of the best summer camps for 2018

International School Parent Spring 2018

Tech Spark Academy


TechSpark Academy works with leading

Our mission is to spark the learning process,

International Schools across Switzerland

and launch your child’s future by introducing

to offer Digital Technology focused

them to software used by professionals to

Holiday Camps for children aged 8 – 18.

build apps, websites, and computer games.

TechSpark Academy prepares the next

Cyber Awarenss: Hacking & Defense,

generation to thrive in our digital world.

Build Your Own Digital Game with Python,

Discover the camps that help craft creative

Mobile App Programming with Apple’s

problem solvers and tech entrepreneurs who

Swift and Digital Photography are just

will use their digital skills to make the world

some of the courses offered at TechSpark

a better place!

Academy Camps.

Science, Technology, and Innovation are

Our student educators from ETHZ & EPFL,

critical ingredients of your child’s future,

are carefully selected for their exceptional

whatever education pathway and career he

knowledge, motivation and ability to make

or she chooses. TechSpark Academy helps

coding fun and inspiring to 8-18 year olds.

children gain critical insights into tomorrow’s digital world.

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Camp Locations: Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, Zug & St Moritz.



www.T echSp






International School Parent Spring 2018

Camp Suisse

Camp Suisse has provides traditional

pursuits (including rock climbing,

multi-activity summer camps for children

mountain biking and camping),

and teens (7-17 years) from all over

supervised cultural excursions, language

the world.

courses (Spanish, French, German

Our private, purpose-built centre is situated

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or English) and sporting activities.

1100m above the Rhone Valley and Lake

All our programs aim to help campers

Geneva in the Alpine resort of Torgon. With

to grow as people – improving self-belief,

space for 140 campers, we have access to

confidence, responsibility and time

a wealth of facilities that enable our young

management – with the chance to forge

people to live and learn in a serene, safe

lifelong relationships with like-minded

and clean environment.

individuals from a range of backgrounds

As an accredited ‘Adventuremark’ provider,

and cultures.

we make sure that every day is action-

Individual camps (one and two weeks)

packed with events that are delivered by

run from late June to August – we

dedicated and enthusiastic staff. There

also welcome school and group

are a range of Alpine Adventure outdoor

trips throughout the year.

FIND OUT MOR E Webs ite amps uisse.c om Call +44 8 45 51 91 03 1 Email: info@ camp suisse .com www.c

International School Parent Spring 2018



friLingue offers unique and vibrant

sits on the banks of a picturesque freshwater

summer camps in Switzerland for kids

mountain lake.

and teens to learn French, German and English in some of the most beautiful and largely undiscovered locations in the country!

We offer high-energy French, German and English classes in small groups averaging 6 students per class with young and dynamic teachers. Weather permitting, we also like

Our impressive locations include an Alpine

to conduct classes outside to truly enjoy the

hotel sitting 1,260m high above the banks

surroundings - all combined with fun and

of Lake Leman, a mountain chalet in the

engaging activities and excursions for local

heart of the Alps, within touching distance

and international students.

of the French and Swiss borders, and a newly renovated and fully-equipped campus that

All of our camps are on a full board basis.

FIND OUT M ORE Website www.frili Call +41 26 321 34 3 4 Skype frilingue .office Email: info@fril

fRilingue GmbH Stรถckackerstrasse 93 3018 Bern CH - Schweiz

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International School Parent Spring 2018

Quaystage Sail Camp


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Not just a Summer Holiday, Sail Camp

Experience teamwork, learn about yourself

is an experience an Adventure of

and the natural and social world that

a Life Time!

surrounds you.

Quaystage’s Sail Camp is an ideal school and

No previous experience in sailing or diving

summer holiday expedition or a sailing gap

is needed for Sail Camp, just enthusiasm

year voyage.

and a sense of adventure.

If your Aged 12-18 join us on board for a

Destinations include South Coast UK

summer to remember, as part of the crew

and France, Greece the Canaries and the

of your yacht in our Sail Camp Flotilla. Make

mystery of the Caribbean. Contact us to

lifelong friends, feel the wind in your hair as you

find out more about how you get on board

sail to explore new destinations and dive to

Sail Camp.

discover the ocean below, even learn to cook!

FIND OUT M ORE Email: uaystag

info@q Call: +44 23 8202 6 000 Websit e : www.q uaystag

International School Parent Spring 2018

Lovell Camps

The Lovell summer camp programs offer a

tennis, horseback riding, gymnastics, dance,

wide variety of challenging and interesting

archery, football and golf. The campers also

excursions, sports and activities, language

experience a variety of cultural activities such

classes in English, French or German and a

as day trips to Interlaken, Bern or Montreux

number of special events. The Camp aims

among other destinations. Campers also

to provide a safe, healthy and fun summer

enjoy overnight and camping expeditions as

learning environment for children in the

well as special events including pool parties,

beautiful Gstaad-Saanenland region.

wake boarding, rafting, canyoning, high

The Camp feature a variety of activities such

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ropes, water parks, discos and campfires.

as hiking, swimming, outdoor living skills,

The camp is divided into four sections,

mountain biking, orienteering and rock

Juniors (6 to 10), Seniors (11 to 15),

climbing. Other sports activities include

Leadership (16 to 18) and Kids Club (2 to 5).

FIND OUT M ORE Email: vellcam

info@lo Call: +41 33 744 25 35 Websit e: www.lo vellcam

Bryce and Victoria Lovell Camps Lovell International Camps AG RĂźbeldorfstrasse 5 3792 Saanen

International School Parent Spring 2018


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Our summer and after-school programs

to sharing their knowledge of cutting-

go beyond the “T” in STEAM – it’s not

edge technologies with their campers,

just a coding camp. TechLabs programs

empowered with the most up-to-date

explore the interaction of the digital world

tools and learning paradigms to deliver

with scientific, engineering, artistic and

an experience children will find memorable

mathematical concepts through projects and

and educationally sustainable.

play. At our camps we take STEAM off the screens and put it in kids’ hands.

All of our instructors / counselors are also EduCare certified in Child Protection

To achieve this, our instructor/counselor

by the Council of British International

team is comprised of high-energy, tech-

Schools (COBIS).

savvy, experienced educators committed

FIND OUT M ORE Geneva +41 77 981 85 33 Basel +41 78 847 05 55

Camps Robotics, Flight, Rocketry and DIY Toy/Media Labs Basel Half and full day weeks from July 2nd to August 10th Geneva Half and full day weeks from July 2nd to August 3rd

International School Parent Spring 2018

Camp Wabikon - Canada

The youth of the world in the heart

choice sign-up system. Each camper

of Temagami!

is encouraged to try all of the activities

For over 70 years Camp Wabikon has provided youth from around the world with an exceptional overnight Canadian summer camp experience. We offer escorted transportation from Toronto, Ontario and have an excellent hospitality (Meet & Greet) program for long distance travellers. Our qualified, dynamic Staff team leads a safe, fun and educational program. Campers love the freedom of being able to choose their activities each day using our personal

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offered at camp, including over 30 land and water activities as well as a cabin group canoe trip in the spectacular scenery of Temagami, Ontario. Our staff to camper ratio is 1:3 and our magnificent island location is coveted by all who visit. We are a family owned and operated business that takes great pride in the work we do. By limiting camper enrollment to 150 per session, everyone at Wabikon feels like part of the family

FIND OUT M ORE Email: info@w abikon .com Call: +1 416 - 483 3172 Websit e: www.w abikon .com

International School Parent Spring 2018

Johnny Hallyday’s death exposes the stark differences between US & European inheritance principles French rock-legend Johnny Hallyday’s death shocked France in December. And the nation was shocked again, when his entire estate was left to his fourth wife - leaving his two oldest children with nothing. Given that the estate plan was written under Californian law, its content shouldn’t be so surprising, but still, there are dark areas. Johnny Hallyday (Jean-Philippe Smet) was a French citizen and is regarded as a national monument, who brought rock and roll to France. He released 79 albums and sold more than 110 million records during his 57-year career - making him one of the best-selling artists in France and in the world.

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Despite this, he was largely unheard of in the English-speaking world - where he was dubbed, ‘The biggest rock star you’ve never heard of’. Johnny spent most of his life in France; but due to his dislike of the country’s taxation policies, he tried living in a few other countries - including Belgium and Switzerland - before settling in California. • His first child, David, was born in 1966 to his first wife the French singer Sylvie Vartan. • His second child, Laura, was born in 1983 to his partner the actress Nathalie Baye. • He and his fourth wife, Laeticia, adopted Jade and Joy - two young girls from Vietnam - in 2004 and 2008 (respectively). When his last will - made under California law - was opened a few months ago, his two eldest children were shocked to discover that he had left all of his $50 million-ish estate to his wife - and essentially nothing to them. French citizens were shocked too and most people in continental Europe would be. Meanwhile, the British and US media barely shrugged their shoulders - and not just because they don’t know who Johnny Hallyday is.

Johnny Hallyday

Why do continental Europe and the UK / USA disagree on Johnny Halladay’s estate plan? So, why is the Western world so divided on this topic? Continental Europe seems to view this estate plan as totally immoral - while the UK and US think it’s pretty acceptable. As an international estate planner who helps many US-UKEuropean families to plan for the future, I am personally halfshocked, and half not. Here’s why: – C  ommon Law countries offer almost unlimited individual freedom when making a last will. – C  ontinental Europe demands that you leave a minimum percentage of your estate to ‘forced heirs’.

INHERITANCE IN ‘COMMON LAW’ COUNTRIES In so-called ‘Common Law’ countries - which follow the English law tradition - individual freedom is almost unlimited when it comes to making a last will. Common Law countries include, among others, Australia, Canada, USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, New Zealand and Pakistan. In the United States, the family’s assets usually go to the surviving spouse first - and the children only receive them after the death of the second spouse.

INHERITANCE IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE COUNTRIES In continental Europe - including France, Germany and Switzerland - you must leave a minimum percentage of your estate to certain close relatives - referred to as your ‘forced heirs’. Your children are your primary forced heirs, no matter whether you are married. And in France, if you have three children or more (like Johnny), then they’re entitled to at least three-quarters of your net estate - to be divided between them. Surprisingly, your spouse is not a forced heir - unless you have no children at all. In Switzerland, if you are married and have children, then your spouse is entitled to 25% at minimum and your children to at least 37.5% altogether.

International School Parent Spring 2018


EUROPE’S ‘FORCED HEIRSHIP’ DATES BACK TO ROMAN LAW In ancient Rome, children would receive all of their father’s estate, while their mother would be left with nothing. The idea was that the widow would typically be taken care of by her own parents or brothers. As children have been “forced heirs” for about 2000 years in Continental Europe, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Europeans see Hallyday’s last will as immoral. But from an Anglo-American perspective, there is nothing shocking in leaving all of your assets to your spouse.

What are the lessons for international families? This story teaches us two lessons about inheritance - both of which relevant for international families with connections to Switzerland.

INTERNATIONAL FAMILIES CAN FACE LEGAL UNCERTAINTY International families are exposed to a great deal of legal uncertainty, due to their connections with different legal systems. If I want my estate to be organized with sufficient clarity and predictability, then I need to have my situation analysed on a holistic basis - taking the laws of each country at stake into account. An additional difficulty is that most legal advisors are only experts in their own legal system and are totally unequipped to deal with cross-border estate plans. And I am not even talking about the tax aspects!

Could Johnny’s will be problematic to US observers? There is one aspect in which Johnny’s last will could be viewed as morally problematic, even from a US cultural standpoint. Usually, Americans who bequeath everything to their spouse and nothing to their children know that their spouse will then leave the children a large portion of the family’s assets.

But will this be the case in the Hallyday family? Will Johnny’s eldest children be mentioned in their young step-mum’s last will - especially after they’ve spent years fighting in court? This also assumes that they will survive her - and the chances are below 50%, as far as David is concerned. Let’s leave aside moral or cultural questions for a moment. From a purely legal perspective, the key question is, ‘Which law applies to the succession of an individual who had links with different countries?’ Or, ‘Is Johnny’s succession governed by California law or by French law?’

EXPATS LIVING IN SWITZERLAND COULD FIND THAT ‘FORCED HEIRSHIP’ IS A TRICKY OBSTACLE A lot of Switzerland’s expat community come from states that follow the English law tradition (including the USA). The vast majority will probably want to leave all of their assets to their spouse, for cultural reasons. And in their view, their children should only receive the family’s wealth after the death of both parents. The problem is that such an estate plan would breach their children’s forced heirship rights under Swiss law. The good news is that there are several strategies to get around these forced heirship rights, without breaking the law. But that is another story. Guillaume Grisel

Courts will have to settle the argument. And depending on the outcome of the lawsuits, the singer’s eldest children could become pretty wealthy - or end up with nothing at all.

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International School Parent Spring 2018

US Citizenship Renunciations – what about taxes? BY PATRICK HOZA & NATALIA RAZHEVA

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Increasing numbers of United States citizens are renouncing their citizenship. ‘Expatriations’ have increased exponentially: from several hundred annually pre-2010, to over 5,400 in 2016 - and they’re estimated to hit 6,800 in 2017. Reasons range from pervasive FATCA rules, to compliance costs, to investment concerns, to daily life in a foreign country.

‘Eligible deferred compensation’ also exists. The most common form is a qualified US pension plan (like a 401K). The tax on this type of asset can be deferred from the exit tax, but only if specific rules are followed and forms are filed in a timely manner (30 days from expatriation). Otherwise, it would be taxed in full on the final return - just like ineligible deferred compensation.

But if you’re a US citizen and are considering renunciation, you should beware of potential tax costs that could bite you on the exit. An ‘exit tax’ can apply to either US citizens giving up citizenship, or long-term green card holders. And if you’re a green card holder, remember that an expired card doesn’t relieve you of US tax obligations. Confirm with a tax advisor if the exit tax is applicable and how expatriation is triggered for you.

It’s not all bad news. Even if the asset or income tax test is met, you can avoid the covered expatriate status if you acquired at birth a dual nationality of the US and another country, and you continue to be a citizen and a tax resident of that country on the date of expatriation, and you are a resident of the US for not more than 10 out of the last 15 years.

If any of the following conditions apply, you will be considered a ‘covered expatriate’ and could face a substantial tax on the ‘deemed sale’ of ALL of your assets, plus the immediate tax on ALL of your pensions and other deferred compensation. • Your net worth exceeds $2,000,000. • Your average annual net income tax is $162,000 or greater. • You have not complied with all of your US tax obligations over the last five years. Let’s assume you are a covered expatriate. You will need to calculate the gain (or loss) on the ‘deemed sale’ of your worldwide assets at fair market value (FMV) the day before the expatriation date.

Also, the December 2017 tax code provides relief in the form of an increased gift and estate tax exemption of $11,200,000 per person (starting in 2018). It is possible, with proper planning, to reduce or even avoid the exit tax altogether by utilizing this higher exemption amount. We hope you have found this article useful and will share your new-found expatriation knowledge with your US citizen or green card holder family and friends. The exit tax is not something to be taken lightly. You can learn more about these issues by searching for ‘Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2009-45’. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Say you had a gain. This would be reported on form 8854, and you would apply the available ‘exit tax exclusion’ ($699,000 for 2017) against these gains. Any remaining gain would be reported on your final US return, as long or short-term capital gains. For example: • Assume you owed stock with a value of $2m and a house with a value of $1m, you would have a total asset value of $3m • And assume the cost (or Tax Basis) in the assets was $2m • Your Deemed Gain on Sale would be $3m minus $2m = total of $1m • Your Reportable Deemed Gain After the Exit Tax Exclusion would be $1m - $699,000 = total of $301,000 And ‘ineligible deferred compensation’ makes for an even bigger tax bite. The most common form of ineligible deferred compensation is a non-qualified pension plan (e.g.,. most foreign pension plans). This type of asset faces a current taxation under the exit tax rules, with no application of the exit tax exclusion mentioned earlier.

Patrick Hoza Patrick has 20 years’ experience with US individual expatriate taxation; including multinational programs, high net worth individuals, streamline /voluntary disclosure filings, and tax consulting. He has extensive knowledge in serving US expatriates in various issues. Natalia Razheva Natalia has more than 10 years of experience with US individual, corporate and partnership tax, high net worth individuals, and tax planning. She is a CPA with an MS in Taxation and an MS in Accounting. Natalia specializes in international aspects of US taxation.

International School Parent Spring 2018

Vulnerable children still need our help, despite recent charity scandals Children’s charities may have been shaken by recent scandals but we cannot forget their vital work and the hope they give to vulnerable people throughout the world. Major charities and NGOs have been criticised for many years for perceived waste, large salaries and a lack of results. But stories of sexual harassment, hired prostitutes, and historic child abuse; coupled with apparent financial mismanagement have caused the government and the general public to sharpen their view of human rights charities.


FUNDING A VITAL STUDY TO HELP CHILDREN DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY An Austrian human rights lawyer - Professor Manfred Nowak - has been appointed by the UN to lead the study, which has around $1 million USD in funding, which was raised primarily from the USA and the EU. However, significantly more resources will be required to ensure that this study is thorough, successful and reaches its full potential. Deprivation of liberty takes many forms, which include:

CHARITIES AND VITAL STUDIES ARE UNDER THREAT Oxfam have been threatened with the potential removal of nearly £36 million of annual funding, by the UK government. The EU is also considering its position and public donations are down more than 30% for Oxfam so far this year. In this climate, trying to raise funds for a study on children has become difficult. HELPING CHILDREN DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY The UN’s ‘Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty’ is a vital study, which aims to understand the scale and conditions of children held behind bars throughout the world. According to international law (the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ‘UNCRC’), children are only to be detained as a very last resort. But in practice, this is often not the case. Defence for Children International (DCI) - an NGO with its Secretariat based in Geneva - launched a campaign in 2014, calling for a study to be carried out on this critical issue, which was requested through a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in New York. However, funding was to come through “voluntary contributions” (UNGA/res/69/157 para.51.d).

• • • • • •

Criminal detention Children incarcerated with their parents Immigration detention Institutionalization Military detention Children held for national security reasons.

With only $1 million, it would not be possible to address all of these areas of concern. This is a one time opportunity that needs to succeed. VULNERABLE PEOPLE STILL NEED OUR HELP Despite the discover of appalling behaviour within some charities, it’s important to recognise the work performed by so many charitable organisations - work which delivers hope and better futures to vulnerable, disadvantaged and suffering people through the world. Let us not become disillusioned, but instead do what we can to support their efforts. Stephen Langton Blackden Financial offers Financial Advice providing information on your personal financial planning in Switzerland.

Two previous UN Global Studies have been centred on children: • UN Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children (1996). • UN Study on Violence against Children (2006). Each study was a strong platform for advocacy and action; exposing the nature, extent and causes of these issues, while proposing clear recommendations for prevention and responsive action - leading to important advancements for children. And the UN’s Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty will offer the same benefits - for what is an urgent situation.

Telephone +41 22 755 08 00 Email Website

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International School Parent Spring 2018

7 things to you need to know about complementary health insurance in Switzerland BY DAVID RENARD, DIRECTOR WITH MYPROJECT



Insurance companies encourage us with, to take care of ourselves and be active in sports. For this reason, most Swiss health insurance companies offer to reimburse some, or all the costs associated with fitness centre membership, and other sports from between CHF 200.- to CHF 800.- annually.

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Any hospital visit can be a worrying time. Apart from the aspect of pure comfort, complementary health insurance helps put your mind at ease about some of the most important questions regarding your stay: Who will be my surgeon? Who will take care of me? When and where will I be operated on? Without complementary health insurance, it is difficult to answer these questions. Complimentary insurance hospitalisation solutions will give you access to the best doctors, the best hospitals, and support.




Since 2011, unfortunately LAMal doesn’t anymore cover the glasses and lenses for adults, only up to CHF 180.- for children. A complementary coverage offers CHF 100.- to CHF 300.- annually.



Transportation by ambulance is very expensive. LAMal cover until CHF 500.- for ambulances and CHF 5000.- for Rega. For example, a return trip between Lausanne and the CHUV costs easily CHF 700.-. With a complementary insurance, all costs are borne by the insurance.



Complementary Insurance Plans also takes care of medical care, hospitalization, research and repatriation abroad up to 100% with unlimited expense. With some simple steps, you can learn how to control the costs and continue to take advantage of some great benefits! Want to learn more?


Alternative treatments are increasing in their popularity and efficiency. If you decide to pursue alternative treatments, and your practitioners is certified ‘REM or ‘ASKA’ the LCA (Federal law of insurance contracts) can reimburse up to 90% of the treatment fees. Some examples of alternative treatments that might be covered are: osteopathy, homeopathy, kinesiology etc.



Sadly, there are many medications that are not covered by LAMal. Complementary health insurance will cover up to 100% of the cost of these treatments. When a serious diagnosis is given, requiring long duration or rare treatments, complementary health insurance gives you peace of mind.

For more information about the Swiss health insurance system please contact David Renard: Mobile :+41 78 827 00 11 Email: Website: Member of:

International School Parent Spring 2018

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International School Parent Spring 2018

Potential Passion Responsibility Exceptional academic results and top university admissions 76 | Inspirational teachers committed to students’ success Internationally accredited IB school for ages 3 to 18 Pre-school and kindergarten programmes include German lessons approved by Bildungsdirektion Kanton Zßrich



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International School Parent Magazine - Summer 2018  
International School Parent Magazine - Summer 2018