A New School Year Begins!

Wednesday, 03. September 2014

by Daniel Davis Wood

New students have been on campus for a few days already, and returning students arrived on campus last night, but this morning gave everyone in the Ecole community our first opportunity of the new academic year to unite and get to know each other.

The morning kicked off with a skit from Sarah and Alain, who gave the audience a glimpse of the different dynamics between roommates here at the Ecole. Sarah’s character spoke only English, Alain’s character spoke only German, but somehow they had to find a way to communicate. Sarah’s character came from a warm country and wanted to sleep with the windows closed, Alain’s character came from a cold country and wanted to keep the windows open, but somehow they had to find a way to compromise. Sarah’s character was raised in a devoutly Muslim household, Alain’s character was raised in a devoutly Christian household, but somehow they had to reconcile their differing religious views and practices. At every turn, they faced two options each represented by a prop: a serrated blade and a love heart. Either they could follow the easy path to anger and conflict, or they could put in a little effort, work hard to behave with compassion towards their roommate, and have a more peaceful and rewarding experience with a new close friend.

After the skit, all of the new members of the Ecole community were invited to stand, one by one, and briefly introduce themselves to everyone else. What emerged from this activity was a portrait of an extraordinarily international body of students and staff from places as far abroad as Argentina, Costa Rica, Iceland, Bali, the Ukraine, Iran, Thailand, Brazil, the Philippines, and New Zealand; from countries closer to home including Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Greece, and Russia; from states in every corner of the USA including Rhode Island, New Mexico, Virginia, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Colorado, and Hawaii; and from Zürich, Basel, Luzern, and elsewhere across Switzerland.

Now it’s time for all Ecole students, new and experienced, to put together their weekly plans for the Fall Term. They’ll choose their morning academic courses later today and their afternoon extracurricular activities in the days ahead. In between those two events, they’ll spend time getting to know each other a little better – and hopefully they’ll keep Sarah and Alain’s skit in mind to guide them into choosing the best path forward.