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Swiss Semester - Students

Testimonials


"The whole program was amazing and so much better than I could have ever expected and will ever be able to express.  I learned so much, not only academically, but so many life lessons along with how to challenge myself..."  Liz Brodsky '04

"I have never forgotten the time I spent with you and all the others under the Matterhorn, and I am more certain now than ever that it changed my life.  I learned how to do real work (thanks for all the 'pep" talks) and started to really grow up."  Catherine Shrader '98

"The fall term of '04 was probably the most compelling and formative period of time that I will ever experience;  the friends that I made, the mountains that I climbed, the pistes that I skied, and the trails that I biked are just a few of the memories that stay with me wherever I go."  Kyle Megrue '04

"She has loved everything and doesn't even want to think about the semester coming to an end" Mrs. Krabill '98

"How can I ever express the appreciation for a wonderful experience she had at Swiss Semester.  She matured in so many wonderful ways.  She met so many great friends from all over the country, many of which she will have the rest of her life and to top it off, she got Honors—a first for her."  Mrs. Link '03

"This has been by far the most amazing and unforgettable experience of my life!" Miwa Kosuga '01

"Once again—in reflecting about the beginning of my college experience, I must praise your program again.  Not only did Swiss Semester give me the tools to reach out and leave home, but also ti promoted risk taking, a sense of adventure and discovery.  Amy Brokl '96

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to study art history at Swiss Semester.  If it weren't for my experiences in Europe (especially Venice), I probably would have spent my summer life-guarding." Helen Brown '97
"Swiss Semester was indeed the "the experience of a lifetime" for my daughter and for me and her father!  She left us a tentative girl, and returned a self-confident young lady.  Thank you so very much.  Mrs. Wreigard (Gillian Bleimann '00)

"Saying that it was a pleasure or an honor to go does not do the program justice.  It truly changed my life.  For the better.  I could not imagine a more utopian way to spend a semester, or frankly, a life.  The program is so special, and I can only hope that it will continue on for years to come.  Zermatt will always hold a special place in my heart, and every time that I see the Matterhorn, a St. Bernard, or something Swiss, I will feel some sort of ownership."  Quig Bruning '00

"I wanted to let you know how impressed my husband and I were with the Swiss Semester program after visiting Zermatt.  While not an inexpensive venture, we both feel this was well worth the cost, and frankly a bargain considering all that you do.  I have already recommended it to several people and will continue to do so. Kathy Zeller (Katie Meidell '05)

"More importantly (to her and to us) was the academic awakening she experienced at Swiss Semester.  She truly loved her teachers...and she began to enjoy learning for the first time in her life."  Mr. and Mrs. Moellering (Claire '03)

"It (Swiss Semester" will truly be one of the most memorable experiences that he will carry with him for the rest of his life.  He loved every moment of it.  But not only the living in Zermatt, traveling in Europe, hiking, biking, skiing, and friendships made along the way, but what it did for him as a person and how he views life now is something no one could ever teach him."  Mrs. McCandless (Will '03)

"You run an extraordinary program.  The positive changes it has wrought in my daughter cannot be underestimated.  She is so confident nowadays and at the same time modest in the demands the makes on other people.  I don't know how you instill these qualities in your students and I am all the more pleased that Swiss Semester was such a enjoyable experience for her as well."  Dr. Ann Olivarius (Kathryn '03)

"She has returned to us happy, healthy, and full of energy and enthusiasm for what she had seen and experienced in Switzerland...She is organized and timely with homework and is receiving kudos from instructors for her class participation and her ability to slip seamlessly into her classes after having been away for a semester...She has truly been reinvigorated and is much more self-directed and self-confident about her abilities.  Swiss Semester has made a difference in her attitude about school and herself."  Mr. Knutson (Arie '03)

"I would like to thank Swiss Semester for giving me the greatest semester of my life.  The 3 1/2 months that I spent as a part of the Swiss Semester family gave me the opportunity to become stronger, more independent, and a better version of myself.  Without this program, I would not be nearly as confident or happy as I am.  I have had life-changing experiences that tested my strength and gained the best the best friends anyone could ask for.  Eleanor Killian '04

"She has returned more confident, more comfortable with herself, and more willing to take a stand that she was when she joined Swiss Semester.  She is ready to risk taking on some leadership roles and she continues to be in daily communication with her new friends from Swiss Semester."  Julia Clark '04

"She laughed, she cried, she persevered—and we are so proud of her." Mr. and Mrs. Connors (Mari '02)

"When I got home, my grades just kept going up, as did the number of activities in which I participated and the number of leadership positions that I took on."  Ben Berman '02

"Returning to school is hard, for there is nothing in the world comparable to Zermatt and everything there, but I bring back a new outlook, new opinions, new friends, and the memory of and incredibly wonderful experience that I will never, ever forget."  Gillian Bleimann '00

"I find it amazing that such a short period of time can make such an impression on a single life.  I often wonder if I would be the same person that I am today if I had not gone to Swiss Semester.  I know that I wouldn't.  I want everyone to be able to have the experience that I did, to have the opportunity to change their lives, to grow, to mature, and to learn."  Kate Hufft '99

"Not only was I able to grow physically but emotionally as well.  I find that I'm less quick to judge, more understanding and open, and always ready to do something!"  Sarah Harris '04

"The whole program was amazing and so much better than I could have ever expected and will ever be able to express.  I learned so much, not only academically, but so many life-lessons along with how to challenge myself."  Elizabeth Brodsky '04

"Alexander had a very good time and was extremely appreciative of the whole program.  He felt he gained a lot from all aspects of the program, be it academically, physically, and socially.  He repeatedly expressed his gratitude and appreciation for being offered the opportunity and was extremely grateful to you for your devotion and dedication making sure that all aspects of the program were optimized at all possible times." Salim Fadil '05"

"I view every obstacle I encounter as a challenge which I am determined to conquer—no mountain too high."  Kelly Rohrbach '05

"He is meeting outstanding students of varying ethnic backgrounds from all over the US.  This will certainly enhance his understanding of the world around him, as well as his tolerance and willingness to embrace peoples' differences.  He is learning how to fend for himself and manage his time without the daily haranguing of overbearing parents.  He is learning how to navigate a strange new world, and appreciate his accomplishments meeting physical challenges such as long hikes up icy peaks, solo hiking the mountainside of Zermatt, technical rock climbing and reading topographical maps (in fact, he was a phenomenal guide as he took us on hikes in, and far above, the Zermatt valley).  He has exceptional teachers who are dedicated to challenging Ryan academically, in an effort to have him dig deep and learn at least as much as would be expected "at home" despite limited time—which should improve his developing study habits.  Finally, his experience should add to the colorful fabric of the home school."  (Steven Segal '06)

"Every single morning, I would wake up with a goal or a purpose, and each night I would go to be having learned a lesson, accomplished something, or made a mistake, all of which I learned and grew from."  "I have become a lot more confident.  I never expected that I would be able to accomplish all that I did in Switzerland.  I've always claimed to be a hard worker, but I don't think I understood what hard work was until Swiss Semester pushed me to my limits...I never gave up and I pushed myself harder than I have ever before to balance the physical, academic, and social demands of Swiss Semester...I've never grown more or learned more about myself that I did when I thought I was going to die on one of your long hikes."  (Liza Winton '06)

"He truly enjoyed his time in Zermatt, and Swiss Semester has given him a new sense of confidence and maturity that his teachers at GHS have noticed.  HIs experience with Swiss Semester will be with him always, and we look forward to watching him grow from this foundation." (Mr. and Mrs. Wright '07)

"I think that he finally gets it.  He understands now how much more fun it is to participate in life than just watching it.  I know these changes are due to Swiss Semester, and I thank you!"  (Mr. and Mrs. Weindling '07)

"We would like to thank you for all that you and your team accomplished over the past several months with our daughter and the rest of her world class friends.  The effort, energy, and professionalism brought forth and maintained through out the entire semester by your staff was nothing short of incredible." (Tim and Beth Traff '07)

"It is thrilling to me that he is loving both the people he is with and the learning that is happening for him.  My prayer is that he will take all of this and plant it deep inside himself as a model for how to live his life." (Mary Smith '07)

"Now that a few months have gone by and I have had time to watch Adam reflect back on his time at Swiss Semester, I thought that I would share some thoughts with you on your program and what it has meant to our entire family.  Hardly at day goes by that Adam doesn't say, "I wish so much that I could be back at Swiss Semester."  The time that he had with you, your staff and your program will always be one of his fondest memories.  I know at the time he had some complaints as to how intense the program was, but now he is desperately searching for a comparable experience.  I can see that he has grown in many ways.  I feel that you have touched his life in a way that might happen only once in a lifetime." (Ariana Weindling '07)

"When I think at the age of 15 I was climbing my first mountain, riding in my first helicopter and wandering through my first foreign city—all alone, I can't believe it...What did I get out of it?  And the answer has come to me slowly over the years in realizing that no I was not the best skier, but I was better than I ever thought I could be.  And there in the mountains I ceased to be so afraid to just try...And I realize now that it was the beginning of a great love affair with this world; it opened a window of courage through which to explore its cultures, its people, its high and low and sweeping landscapes, and yes, to understand that I was somehow a citizen of this planet—somehow part of it all." (Sky Hornig, '96)

"I guess I just wanted to say THANK YOU - even six years down the road, I still think about Swiss Semester at least weekly.  I really do think it changed my life in so, so many ways.  I had never really enjoyed school, or learning, until Swiss Semester.  It was my first time out of the country, as well, and I just had such an amazing time." (Kit Wiebe '01)

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go to Swiss Semester.  I did not know what was in store for me and my experience far exceeded my expectations.  In particular, I really liked wet gorging, Venice, biking in Bern, and skiing at Gornergrat." (Jay Kemmerer, '07)

"Thank you for providing Lydia with an unparalleled experience, memories of a lifetime, and hopefully friends for life."  (Mrs. Berlacher, '07)
"The experience was rewarding and enjoyable in every way, and a huge part of that directly corresponds to the efforts of yourself and the faculty.  From the grueling first hike to the teary last hour of the program, they were always supporting and ready to crack a good joke.  I recognize many ways that Swiss Semester has affected who I am as a person....It is hard to describe how much I cherish the friends I grew so close to in Switzerland.  I know I can always count on them and I will forever treasure the family we became." (Alex Boehrer, '07)

"Up until now, Swiss Semester 2000 had been the best experience of my life.  Now, Swiss Semester 2007 is quickly taking the lead.  What I enjoyed from being a student was that I continued to benefit fro the program years after I attended and I know the same will be true from having been on the other side of the fence.  I can assure you that there have been immediate rewards as well.  I have learned a great deal about myself through being a teacher and leader of the students...My life, so far, has come full circle and now I have the ability and confidence to go into the world and pursue my interests and dreams." (Alex Hughes, '07)

"It was indeed the "experience of a lifetime"!!!  The small classes, the teachers who truly cared about Jenny and her progress, and the cooperative atmosphere of the students all let to a tremendous academic experience.  The challenging outdoor activities, the opportunity to be with a group of intelligent, motivated peers from all over the country and to bond with them through so many shared experiences—these were exhilarating and led to tremendous personal growth...It was one fantastic experience after another." (Mrs. Wool, '07)

"Wow, it has been over six years and I can't forget my time spent with the program in Zermatt.  I didn't realize until a couple of months ago how much Swiss Semester changed my life...after chatting with an old history professor, he reminded me how much I matured from an immature 10th grader to an outstanding young man, and I owe it all to Swiss Semester...I think about the program all the time, especially since I put the ski trail map as my desktop background....the friendships I forged during my semester have outlasted my high school relationships."  (Dixon Dorand, '02)

"Recently, I have had to fill out a lot of surveys and right a lot of essays and I have really been reflecting on my time and Switzerland. I can not tell you how much I appreciate everything you, the rest of the teachers, and the program as a whole. I learned so much about myself; for example, I realized that I am not invincible and I definitely have some physical limits that I had never reached before--a valuable lesson considering that I got my driver's license earlier today" (Lucy Goldberg, '08)

"It wasn't until more recently in school that I became aware of how much Swiss Semester changed my outlook.  Not only am I now a more positive person, but I am able to complete school work so quickly and with such an efficient effort I never imagined.  I feel so much more capable to accomplish things I never imagined possible before, and I have overall become a better person. (Grace Nolan '09)

"It has been fantastic to have Alex home! Our house seems to have come back to life and we are enjoying this with a new appreciation!  There have been some wonderful changes, for example, Alex has become very good at cleaning her room!!  She is also working very hard at her school work and her grades are reflecting this!  Most noticeable to Geoff and I, is an inner confidence that Alex is demonstrating—who is this girl?"  (Mrs. Fitzpatrick '09)

"You do not know how much more of an individual Swiss Semester has made me.  I feel more prepared and able to manage my time wisely.  Academically, I am comfortable taking on more challenging assignments.  Additionally, Swiss Semester has helped me conquer some of my worst fears like heights."  (Lucas Onetti '09)

"I have improved my study habits, in-class behavior, and most importantly my attitude.  Now I know that almost anything is possible when you believe you can do it.  The combination of hiking almost every day and tough academics has taught me that hard work and determination pay off.  I have taken these skills I learned in Switzerland back to the US with me and have been getting involved in the Blake community." (Bennett Winton '09)

"Swiss Semester is an amazing program, and its structure is something I miss dearly.  It is an understatement to say that I learned a lot in Switzerland; it truly changed my life.  I am now a much better student and person and those lessons I learned in Switzerland are ones I will never forget.  The faculty were amazing and I already miss the quality of teaching that I had at Swiss Semester…I am excited for reunions—my friends from Swiss Semester are my best." (Jordan Taylor '11)

"Listening to Henry discuss with his friends his Swiss Semester experience has made it very clear to both Cassy and me that it was indeed a life-altering experience for him.  The growth in his self-confidence, independence, organizational skills, etc. is obvious to us." (Parents of Henry Ordway '11)

"Day after day, I learned to challenge myself both academically and physically whether it was summiting Riffelhorn without tears or passing a triple ICWA.  Going into the program I was not expecting it to be as challenging as it was, but coming out of the program I am thankful for each and every obstacle I faced and overcame." (Madeline Hopper '11)

This past weekend I had the pleasure to put my 3 year old son on skis for the first time and it made me think how fortunate I was to be exposed to skiing and the outdoors at such a young age, and now to be able to share that with my son.  This quickly morphed to me reminiscing about my sophomore year in Zermatt (20+ years ago).  It was truly an amazing experience that changed my life.  Independence, confidence, work ethic, discipline, and personal drive are some of the characteristics/building blocks that I learned from those months."  (Chris Sheldon '89)

"She grew in so many ways at Swiss Semester, it was an amazing experience for her.  It will give her a wonderful fountain of inner strength and great friends." (Parents of Alyssa Moreau '11)

"I had so much fun teaching and living with the students in Zermatt, and I think I will be hard pressed to find a job in the future that is as fun as working at Swiss Semester!  Not only did I enjoy the experience of teaching others, but I felt like I learned so much myself also."  (Alice Nelson, '10 Faculty)

"Day after day I learned to challenge myself both academically and physically whether it was summiting Riffelhorn without tears or passing a triple ICWA.  Going into the program, I was not expecting it to be as challenging as it was, but coming out of the program I am thankful for each and every obstacle I faced and overcame.  To think that I climbed Breithorn, wet gorged, biked in the capital of Switzerland and the vineyards, ice climbed, survived six ICWA's and so much more in just 90 days is amazing accomplishment." (Madeline Hopper '11)

"Swiss Semester is an amazing program, and its structure is something I miss dearly.  It is an understatement to say that I learned a lot in Switzerland; it truly changed my life.  I am now a much better student and person, and those lessons I learned in Switzerland are ones I will never forget."  (Jordan Taylor '11)

"The months of September, October, and November of 2010 were the best of my life.  In and out of the class, I learned more in Zermatt that I would in an entire high school term.  Swiss Semester's emphasis on handwork made me develop motivation, determination, and perseverance."  (Tommy Champion '10)

"Thank you for the greatest experience and making me a better person along the way."  (Ellie Ankeny '13)

"Thank you so much for the great semester.  It was an amazing experience that has impacted my life."  (Aury Hay '13)

"I feel more prepared and able to manage my time wisely.  Academically, I am comfortable taking on more challenging assignments.  Additionally, Swiss Semester has helped me conquer some of my worst fears." (Student '12)

"I have learned that I can handle anything that I put my mind to.  I have been challenged by Swiss Semester and overcoming that challenge has taught me more about myself.  I have improved my study habits, in-class behavior, and most importantly, my attitude.  Now I know that almost anything is possible when you believe you can do it.  The combination of hiking almost every day and tough academics has taught me that hard work and determination pay off.  I have taken these skills I learned in Switzerland back the US with me and have been getting involved in my local community." (Bennett, '09)