Students who attended the first session of the Middle School Program (MSP) or the TASIS Summer Program (TSP) wrote reflections about academic clubs, outdoor adventures, cultural trips, the TASIS campus, the diversity of the student body, and more. See examples of their work below.
Middle School Program
See more photos from the Borromean Island photos here.
Exploring Borromeo Palace
Written by Vida Obradovic (Croatia)
If you are looking for a stunning palace on a small island, you should visit the palace of the Borromeo family, which is located in Italy on Lake Maggiore. It’s placed on the main island of the Borromean islands, along with its vibrant garden.
The Borromeo family was a prosperous, noble Italian family that owned a lake that is gently washing the coast of those islands. On the outside, the palace looks like a fortress, while inside it is a rich castle. Walls are colored in pastel colors and decorated with marble stones, wood, and gold, and even the ceiling in each room looks like a masterpiece. Most of the rooms are full of paintings framed in gold hanging on the walls and marble statues representing mythical creatures. Most of the well-made and richly decorated furniture that you can find is original and is illuminated by the light of Venetian glass chandeliers.
To get to the garden, you need to pass through six rooms with walls and floors covered in fragments of black and white stone. The garden is full of trees and bushes and also has colorful flowers. Through them you might notice the head or feathered body of a white peacock. In the middle, you can see a huge vitrine-like statue that keeps statues of Roman gods. As a bonus, you will have a beautiful view on a Mediterranean-like port that’s lying on the lake’s coast. Everybody should visit that castle, especially lovers of art, history, and architecture.
See more canyoning photos here.
Written by Ana Luz de Pablo Huete (Spain)
TASIS does many trips, both cultural and physical. Canyoning is a physical one, which can be also entertaining. In canyoning you go down the mountain river and you jump down the waterfalls or slide down rocks. Canyoning is meant to be safe, but if one of the ropes breaks you can get hurt because you can fall down. Canyoning is a very fun activity if you take some security precautions such as listening to the guide, as he has already done canyoning before. Finally, canyoning is a sport that makes you stronger by making you use all of your muscles. For all the reasons highlighted above, canyoning is a risky but amusing sport.
Swiss Culture Club
Written by Vida Obradovic (Croatia)
One of the many different clubs at TASIS that you can choose from is the Swiss Culture Club, which is also known as Swiss Games. What makes this club so interesting is the opportunity to learn about Swiss culture, which isn’t something you can do everyday. If you are boarding at TASIS for the first time, you can make friends with people who are as interested in Swiss culture as you are. We tried different kinds of typical Swiss cheeses, practiced yodeling, and visited the Swiss Miniature Garden in Lugano. These are just a few of the activities that the club offers. What is better than having an enjoyable experience of chatting with people your age while also learning about this stunning and fascinating country where you are spending a month?
See more photos from MSP clubs here.
Written by Lucy Naroyan (Switzerland)
Cooking class at MSP is a very enjoyable club. Every week on Friday you cook different things and later you eat them. It is a nice club because you learn how to cook things that you’ve never heard about. A nice thing about cooking class is that you cooperate with each other while you cook.
Throwing a Football
Written by Michele Pipitone (Italy)
Football is a very popular sport, especially in the US, and it is even a part of a scholastic physical education program. This is why it is better to know how to throw a football. Throwing an American football ball is easy and the result will be exceptional if you follow these helpful tips. First, identify the white line on the ball. This line will help place your fingers correctly. Position your index through pinky fingers on the bogs that are perpendicular to the string. Make sure to hold the ball firmly. Arrange your fingers in a “C” shape. The thumb has to be below the ball. Next, pull your arm back at the height of your ear, throw, and keep your hand up and follow through. Your feet have to be shoulder-width apart and must let your body twist. Remember to add a little backspin. The final effect will be to throw like a pro.
TASIS Summer Program
Written by Mikołaj Cyganek (Poland)
It’s my fourth summer at TASIS, but every time I’m giddy. It was a sunny, outstanding Saturday. I packed all my needed clothes with my mother, and then my parents, my sister, and I used a rental car to get to TASIS. My father parked the car at the parking lot near Hadsall. Then I entered my summer paradise. Very swiftly I could smell all the trees around the entrance. The warm touch of the handrail was as unforgettable as a first love. The beauty of the nature seemed to be a part of a palace garden. The gentle wind seemed to be a wind near the breathless ocean. I took some photos with my old counselors. After that, Shea, my future advisor, told me where TSP check-in was.
At check-in, I heard that I needed my passport. After a while I realized that I didn’t have my passport. Firstly, I thought that my dad had my document, so I called him to ask him where he was. He said that he was in Belvedere with my mum and with my cute sister. They had to check-in my sister in CDE. Obviously I had to take pictures with old friends because we didn't see each other for a whole year. Because of this, my journey to Belvedere didn’t take five minutes, but 30 minutes.
They were already gone when I came to Belvedere. However, I saw my sister playing on the soccer field. So, I asked her where our parents were. She told me that they were in DeNobili talking with [MSP Director] Marc-Pierre. Of course, on the way to DeNobili I had to go to Ca’ Pietra to see Nancy and Margaret. They are nurses. Then, I went to DeNobili and noticed that Marc-Pierre was eating lunch with my parents. I came to them and said hello to Marc-Pierre. I asked my parents where my passport was, and my mum said it was in my bag. I opened my bag carefully, and on the bottom of the mountain of my things I saw my crimson, Polish passport rounded with the gum elastic thing.
Losing my passport and finding it was very similar to returning to TASIS for several summers. It was one in the eye for me. First, look at your surroundings, and then ask for help. During the school year, I always miss my friends, my teachers, my counselors, and Montagnola. However, when I look at pictures from previous summers, I begin to remember people and that beautiful place. That familiar place is full of memories that can be found again.
The White Bench
Written by Francesca Martinelli (Italy/Uruguay)
I had been for the past hour or so gazing outside the bus window towards the green and mighty Swiss mountains, the Italian-style buildings that rose from the ground, and the long, dark tunnels that seem to go on forever and ever without end. I kept shuffling with my sweaty hands, picturing what it would be like this second time at the TASIS Summer Programs. I had loved my last time here, in the picturesque town of Lugano, a small town near the Swiss border with Italy. But my head couldn't stop wondering if I would be able to make friends this time since I had gotten on the plane in Montevideo, Uruguay, my home country now on the other side of the world.
In the bus with me came a few Brazilians and a big group of Dominicans, but none of them had said a word to me since we gathered around the TASIS counselor who had come to pick us up. They probably didn't have the need to because they all came together and knew each other, so getting to know people to hang out with during the first days wasn't a problem for them. But for me on the other hand…
As I kept gazing out the window, I could start to tell by the way we began moving uphill that we would soon arrive at campus. My stomach fluttered both with hunger and concern, and I was unbelievably nervous, but I tried to remember what a great time I had had last year to calm myself down.
We passed the church with the long entrance and tall pine trees standing on its sides, and a minute later there we were, parking the bus on the TASIS campus. I heard excited chatter and the shuffling of bags and luggage as we all began to make our way off the bus and to the registration area. As I walked down the concrete path, the soft breeze caressing my face, a green hill with a white marble bench caught my attention, just as it had done the year before. I slowed down my walk and decided to stop in front of it to admire it as if I hadn't seen it last year.
The snow-white bench stood held by a stone platform that emerged from the hill, shining in front of a green curtain of grass and trees. On either side of the bench stood two small bushes, guarding the bench that looked pure and angelic with its carved wings on the sides.
As I kept staring at the scene in front of me, mesmerised by how the natural and artificial elements combined to create such a beautiful picture, I tried to remember what I had thought of it the first time I had seen it. Had I imagined the bushes as guards as I had now? What about the way the wings on the bench looked? And it was then that I decided that this time at TSP I would see things from a different, new perspective. Because that's how I would savor and truly enjoy the experience that would lie forever in my memory as the previous one had, and still does.
The faint side of distant chatter filled my ears, along with the rolling of luggage wheels on the concrete path. I took a deep breath and felt the pure fresh Swiss air enter my lungs as I took one last look at the beautiful scene of the white bench on the hill, knowing full well that now I was ready to begin a new unforgettable experience at TASIS.
Written by Christian Fischer (Dominican Republic)
It was 8:00 AM, and the day was Friday, June 23. I was feeling strange. The past three weeks I was dying waiting for this day, but when it finally came, I got scared. My first trip by myself—only me, not even one friend. By the time we were in the airport at 3:00 PM, I started to make some friends. That helped me a lot. I didn’t feel alone anymore.
On the first plane—Santo Domingo to Madrid—I started to feel happy about the amazing trip that was waiting for me. I had a great time with my new friends. Hours later we arrived at Madrid, where we spent four hours in the airport. Then it finally was the time, at 3:20 PM, after 20 minutes of delay, and we were in the air on our way to Milan. After we arrived in Milan, we met the Brazilian guys, who were at the airport waiting for us to take the bus. By 7:00 PM we were on the TASIS campus.
When we first entered the place, I was like, “Wow! This is unbelievable.” I had never been to Lugano before, so I was very impressed by its landscapes. After a long process of registration, I left my bags in my room. I was very excited. My first night was one of the worst nights I had in my life. It was so hot and I felt alone—homesick. It was at 2:30 AM when I finally defeated the heat and went to sleep.
By 7:45 AM I was awake. I took a shower and went to breakfast with the other Dominicans. We talked about the past night, and I found out that every single person in the table had suffered the same night. So, I felt better. By afternoon I had made like eight friends, all of them Latin Americans: Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico...
When I first arrived at TASIS, I felt strange. Something that impressed me since the first second I arrived on campus were the buildings. The buildings on this campus are really amazing to me because they look very classical but are still beautiful inside. All of them with different colors: white, pink, green, yellow…
All of them together look very artistic. That’s one of the things that I love the most about TASIS. I actually like this place very much, and now I understand why people come back every year. This is like my second home. I will never forget this place.
Now I feel like I’m home. I think that today I’m a better person than I was before this adventure. I was very shy, and now I feel able to be 10 times friendlier than before, so that’s something this summer program has given me and I will not waste it. Today I have friends from all over the world: Americans, Europeans, Arabs…
What I like most about it is that after only six days together, we looked like we’d been friends forever. My message for every person reading this is, “Challenge yourself; you are the one making the limits.”
Brazil and Turkey: Cultures Differ But People Do Not
Written by Deniz Türker (Turkey)
Can you imagine a Turkish woman dancing in the Brazilian festival in the carnival costumes? The festival of Brazil seems way too far from the culture of Turkey, yet the people who dance at those carnivals are not that different. When looked at from the outside, the Turkish and Brazilian cultures may seem different, but when looked at closely the people of these cultures don't differ much at all.
When a Turkish person meets a Brazilian, you can see the instant connection through their similar actions since the people of these two cultures share similar personalities. The people of Turkey and Brazil are both outgoing, warm people. Even when they are in in a new environment, these people greet each other by giving hugs, and in most cases these people are talkative. Brazilians could form an instant conversation out of nothing, and so can Turkish people. Moreover, the people of these countries are outstanding with their fun personalities. Brazilians love to party and dance, just as Turkish people do. Also, seeing people cracking jokes and laughing hysterically is expected from the people of these very diverse countries. Brazilians are not overly serious, and nor are Turkish people.
Furthermore, while these citizens grow, the similarity of their countries’ education systems possibly has an effect on them. In Turkey, private schools are common, as they are in Brazil. Only people who have low socioeconomic backgrounds attend public schools in these countries since the education is not decent and not as secure. The kids grow in a more isolated and secure environment when in private schools. Also, the private schools support the students with a well-appointed school system and teach them great skills. Growing in an environment that is away from danger while being taught vital abilities and information helps the kids grow up to be intelligent adults and protects them from most of the possible dangers. In both of these countries, this system is common.
Even though the people of these two countries don’t differ much, what makes their cultures vary is their religions. Brazil is a country of mostly Catholics while Turkey’s main religion is Islam. Also, Turkey perceives religion with its strict rules whereas religion is not necessarily as big a part of the daily life of Brazil. The culture of Turkey is built upon its beliefs, so it has an enormous effect on the everyday life of Turkish people: effects from the people’s clothes to their greetings. When religion is taken into consideration, the image of these two countries seems very different.
Overall, the cultures of Brazil and Turkey differ due to some religious divergences, yet the people of these very far apart countries share many similarities. The people of Brazil can be found sharing laughs during their conversations, hugging, or dancing together with Turkish people. The only thing that would hold back a Turkish girl from dancing in Brazil in carnival clothes is the restrictions of religion. The people of these cultures do not differ, but religion still molds their cultures and makes the countries diverse.
A total of 55 nationalities are represented at the TASIS Summer Programs this summer. See photos from the Parade of Flags here.
The Cultures of Saudi Arabia and the Dominican Republic
Written by Christian Fischer (Dominican Republic)
A place as big as the world is full of different cultures. It is important to be able to see its differences. One culture is from the East and the other one is from West. Despite our differences, we should be able to respect each other. Without respect there comes war, and with war there is hate and destruction. As Martin Luther King once said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality...I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
First, as we all know Arab culture is much different than Dominican culture. One of the biggest differences between these two cultures is their religions. Saudi Arabia’s religion is Islam. Meanwhile, in the Dominican Republic, Christianity is the most practiced religion. Another difference is its language, Arabic is completely different compared to Spanish. Both languages, Arabic and Spanish, are two of the most practiced languages in the world. There are 290 million native Arabic speakers and 470 million native Spanish speakers.
Every country has its own national plate. Saudi Arabia’s national plate is the Kabsa, which consists of a mix of rice, meat, vegetables, and spices. “La Bandera,” Dominican Republic’s national plate, contains rice, beans, chicken, and ripe bananas. Both cultures enjoy rice in most of their dishes. Dominicans are known because of their wonderful baseball team, which is one of the best ones in the world. A sport that is rising in the Dominican Republic is soccer; a lot of people are playing it. Likewise, in Saudi Arabia soccer is considered the national sport, even though they play basketball, too.
Saudi Arabia is a country situated in the western part of Asia. This beautiful country has a population of around 33 million inhabitants. Saudi Arabia is governed by a King, Salman, and a Crown Prince, Mohammed. A small island in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic contains an estimated 10 million inhabitants. However, the governing body in the Dominican Republic is different: the head of the government is the President, Danilo Medina, followed by the Vice President, Margarita Fernandez, and then the Congress. This is like most countries in the world.
For these reasons and more we can see that there are a lot of differences between both cultures, but we have to be respectful to each other and try to understand each culture’s meaning. Peace before everything. There is no need for war. We need to defend ourselves, but there is no need to fight. Like Leo Tolstoy once said, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”