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Showing posts from November, 2015

Returning to Mani Matter's Flight Across the Alps

There are times in the expat experience when you feel very far away from your home country. Even I get a little homesick now and then. Things are going well but at any in some moments there is a tiny voice piping up asking for a little bit of Switzerland. I have found that the best remedy for those cravings is a bit of nostalgic youtube-ing which basically means watching my childhood favorite " Fascht e Familie " (a Swiss 90ies sitcom) or listening to Swiss German music. Another childhood favorite of mine that I keep visiting on youtube is the singer and songwriter Mani Matter. Songs that still matter today His songs are not only funny but also rich in Swiss German expressions and phrases. More than 40 years after his death, the songs of Mani Matter are still meaningful - maybe even more so today than ever. Look at " I han es Zündhölzli azündt" and think of the wars raging around the world. If only more people would pick up their cigarette butts from the carp

How to Make Your Own Wax Paper Lantern

The shortest day of the year is approaching fast. This not only means that the days are getting shorter and the nights longer but - at least in the northern hemisphere - the temperatures are dropping quickly. Thus, it's nice to stay inside in the evenings and enjoy a cup of hot tea possibly accompanied by a nice warm fire in your fireplace or oven. It's also a season where people enjoy lighting a few candles and enjoy their warm shine. They simply make your home more cozy!  Wax Paper Lanterns to Light your Home Usually, candles are put on a candleholder or in a glass - for decoration and for safety! Another option to light your home with a subtle light are little wax paper lanterns . Of course, you can also buy a lantern made from glass and metal that looks just perfect but - and that is the better option in my opinion - you can also make a simple lantern yourself.   The main thing with lanterns is that they need to be made from heat-resistant material . For most of us

The Swiss School System - Secondary & Middle School

The initial years of public schooling in Switzerland - kindergarten and primary school - are still (fairly) straightforward and probably very similar to what exists in other countries. The whole things gets more complicated for older children. Education Differences in Secondary and Middle School As you may know, Switzerland is divided into 26 districts called cantons . According to Swiss law it is the cantons, and not the federal government, that are responsible for a functioning public school system. This leads to a few interesting differences from canton to canton. For example the years it takes a student to reach the Matura (Swiss university entrance qualification) vary significantly from canton to canton. In some places of Switzerland it takes 10 years and in others 12 years. However, it is not only a difference in years but also in the structures and names of the schools a student passes through on his way to the Matura or before starting his apprenticeship (which is a grea

The Swiss School System - Kindergarten & Primary School

kindergarten -  birgitH  / Every country has it's own schooling system. Some countries may have fairly similar systems such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland or the US and Canada (correct my if I'm wrong here!).  Almost all countries do by now have some law which requires children to attend some kind of school. Needless to say, that the years of actual schooling and the quality of teaching vary greatly in different places around the globe. Early Education in Switzerland Switzerland is well known internationally for its high quality public schools. However, in Switzerland there are also quite a few quirks when it comes to public schooling. Here are some examples: The Swiss constitution stipulates that every child has the right to education but not that every child must attend public (or private) school. This decision is left with each canton which means that there are some cantons in Switzerland where homeschooling is permitted and some wh