Featured Member -- Neuchâtel Junior College
The Best Year of Their Lives Say Canadians
Studying in Switzerland for Pre-University Year
By Barbara Sutton
“It was the best year of my life!’ is the most often heard comment from graduates of Neuchâtel Junior College. Founded in 1956, NJC is a Canadian school based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. NJC is the only Canadian school anywhere to offer students an incredible year of experiential learning that includes residence with a French-speaking family in Switzerland, exposure to European history, art and traditions, travel guided by teachers to North Africa and Southeast Asia, and international volunteering experiences in developing countries with NGO partners like Free the Children and Habitat for Humanity.
Classes are taught in English and follow the Ontario Grade 12 curriculum, which enables NJC graduates to apply with confidence to top universities, knowing that they have the academic credentials, international exposure and volunteer experience that will serve them well as they pursue a post-secondary education.
Being in the heart of Europe brings the curriculum alive for NJC students. In the 2010 autumn semester, they learned about World War II from historian Robert Johnson, who presented a lecture about the rise of Nazism, preparing the students for their trips to Munich, Krakow and the Nazi Death Camps of Dachau and Auschwitz. Then, a few days prior to Remembrance Day, acclaimed Canadian actor RH Thomson addressed the students, telling them about his VIGIL project, which commemorates the 68,000 Canadians who lost their lives in World War I by projecting their names on the wall of the church in Ypres, starting at sundown on November 4 and concluding at sunrise on November 11. Many schools across Canada participated via the web, but NJC was the only Canadian school that actually attended the Vigil in Ypres. Our students were profoundly moved and many said it was the first time they had fully understood the meaning of Remembrance Day.
Once students have a taste for travel, they are keen to explore independently of the College. Independent travel is a privilege that is earned. It inspires confidence, personal discovery, strong friendships, and maturity. When students have proven themselves academically and exhibit readiness and maturity, they are permitted to embark on independent weekend trips. These are limited to three weekends per semester. In small groups, they visit many of the world’s most interesting places, all within a few hours by train from Neuchâtel, including Vienna, Munich, Paris, Milan, St. Moritz, Brussels, and many more. The bonds that students make on these trips never fade. Likewise, exposure to different cultures, people, and locations gives NJC students a new respect for, and an advantage in, today’s growing global community.
FEATURED MEMBER ARCHIVE:
Schwaben Capital Group
Velago Patio Furniture
The I Love to Travel Group
Neuchâtel Junior College
Busch Vacuum Technics Inc
René Wälti President, SCT
Mesh Innovations Inc.
Niagara Helicopters Limited
Urban Edge Shading Inc.
Hottinger Asset Management
Lindt & Sprüngli
Basler Group Inc.