Asian Correspondent » Haut-Lac Asian Correspondent Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:59:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Where are you? Fri, 08 Jul 2011 13:29:52 +0000

Hello from sunny Switzerland!

Well, we are 3 weeks into our summer programme and things have been going brilliantly. We have already welcomed students from 17 different countries around the world. On our programmes at the moment we have students from the USA, Japan, Russia, UK, India, Armenia, Greece, Kazakstan, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Cyprus Venezuala, UAE, Ukraine, France and of course Switzerland!

This Wednesday I took a group of students to Europaparc in Germany for the day and we had a fantastic trip.

I took our first ever trip to Europaparc back in 1998 but had not been back in about 10 years so I was looking forward to seeing the changes. The most impressive thing was the new rides – Silver Star and Blue Fire – huge rollercoasters which were amazing. Once the meeting place and times were arranged each member of staff took a group of students and headed off. Each time we met up the students were gushing about the rides they had taken before setting off to try some more.

Although the park was busy the queues were short as there are so many rides and everyone is spread out throughout the park.

After over six hours of rides we were ready to leave, stopping halfway to have a McDonalds, before heading back to the Centre. We arrived back at 21.30 tired but elated. We thanked the students for their excellent behaviour throughout the day, which really made our job very easy in a busy environment.

After relating their experiences to the other students, who had opted for visiting the labyrinth, zoo and rock swimming pool, everyone headed off to bed tired but happy.

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Summer has arrived! Mon, 30 May 2011 12:52:40 +0000

We are currently having one of our driest ever years in Switzerland. We did not have a lot of snowfall or rain during the winter this year and this has continued through the Spring. It now feels that summer has arrived as the weather is hot and sunny. Although the farmers could do with some more rain we are expecting the summer to be very good.

Geneva International School has just brought a group of  10 and 11 year olds for a geography and adventure programme and we had great fun with them, mountain biking, swimming and rafting.

It has just got us all in the mood for our upcoming Summer camp.

Already we have students enrolled from 18 different countries – Switzerland, France, USA, Romania, India, Venezuela, UAE, Russia, Ukraine, Japan, Italy, Armenia, England, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Kazakstan and Greece. With many more students still to enrol we are looking forward to a really international experience again this summer.

In this time of uncertainty it is always nice to know that Switzerland still represents a very safe and secure environment as well being one of the most beautiful countries in the world and having an excellent reputation for quality.

So if you are looking to improve your language skills in a dynamic, fun and exciting environment just click on our ad and we would love to provide you with an amazing Summer experience.

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Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire – WB Yeats Mon, 16 May 2011 14:03:44 +0000

I have used the above quote many times, to my staff and on our marketing material, as I believe it captures the essence of education. Too often in our lives we do things out of necessity and not out of passion and I believe this is mostly because we do not always recognise the significance of what we are being asked to do and the possibilities and potential that may follow.

As a boy growing up in Northern Ireland during what was called ‘the Troubles’, I studied, among other things, French. After passing the O-Level I had the choice to continue to A-Level but, as a lot of English speakers do, thought what do I need French for, so I opted for History, Politics and Computer Science.

To be fair I was good at French but never passionate about it as I was about History and Politics. Fast forward four years and I found myself working on my summer college vacation in Switzerland for the newly founded Haut-Lac International Centre attempting to use what French I could remember. All of a sudden I saw first hand what can be achieved with the ability to communicate in other languages. I remember a nine year old girl from Colombia who could speak four languages and it blew my mind. After college I spent another year at Haut-Lac before returning to London to work, but I never really settled and when the chance came to return, I jumped at it. I continued to progress in French, mostly by playing football with a local team. The more fun you have the more you learn and I loved adapting to a French speaking culture.

My French has improved and I now feel completely inadequate when I visit a country and cannot communicate in their language. I always try and learn a little bit before I travel and if stuck I generally fall back on French just to show that I am not a one language person!!!

In talking to parents about our language camps I always stress the point that what we try to achieve with the students who come to us over a short space of two or three weeks is to develop a passion for the language, to show how wonderful it is to communicate in other languages and the potential that this amazing skill can have for changing your life. I know this personally! I never dreamed or imagined that I would be in this beautiful environment working with fantastic young people, both staff and students, and helping them aspire to fulfill their potential in ways they possibly had not even thought of!

So we set out to light a few fires and fan the flames in a beautiful and safe environment. We know that we have had success from the stories that come back to us, from the students that return every year until they are too old, from the students who become staff.

We are all passionate about something, but with a little help we can all be passionate about everything!!!

Giants, Wizards and Elves Game

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Did you know that your brain thinks in PICTURES? Wed, 11 May 2011 12:59:13 +0000

Close your eyes and think of a horse. No…stop and really do this! Notice you thought up a picture of a horse. You didn’t see the letters “h-o-r-s-e” floating nowhere in space. You saw a picture of a horse. Your brain thinks in pictures, not words. Case in point…you never walk up to someone and say, “You know, I remember your name, but your face escapes me!” When you picture something vividly in your brain, your memory improves 800%. Anything that improves your memory 800% should get your attention! (Terry Small –

Welcome to the Haut-Lac International Centre blog. My name is Steve Mc Shane, I am the Centre Director and I will be providing you with a regular update on life here in Switzerland and particulary at our Summer Camp.

I was at a seminar recently given by Terry Small and it was fascinating. It gave me a whole new perspective on how our brains work. Luckily for me a lot of the facts he presented about the brain actually endorse how we run our language learning programmes at our camps.

The brain thinks in pictures – Our programme has always been very visual, from using flash cards to taking walks around the local area, to using video images in order to learn vocabulary!

Standing up makes you 80% more effective – Our students get out of the classroom as often as possible or get moving as often as possible. We use games, role playing, interviews, video reporting, acting and many other mediums to get our students moving, focused and interested.

You learn better when you are having fun – We have always found this to be true. You will  not learn if you are not interested and generally you are not interested if you are not having fun! Our students chose the themes around which their classes will be based so they have a big input into what they will be learning to make sure that it will be interesting and fun. Our teachers are encouraged to think outside the box and to innovate, to organise inspirational lessons that will show our students how valuable it is to communicate with someone in their language!!

So remember, stand up, get moving and have fun. Not only will you feel better but you will perform better whether at school or at work!

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