Offered to TSP students in the first session of the TASIS Summer Programs in Lugano each year, the Academic Writing course is designed to help advanced English as an Additional Language learners take their writing skills to the next level. (Native speakers looking to improve their writing are also welcome to take the course.) Throughout the 3 ½-week course, which is taught by experienced writing instructor Karen Leland-Libby, students practice the various forms of writing that are expected in EAL programs at quality international schools. Classes focus on structuring and writing essays, research papers, and persuasive texts, and students leave with a portfolio of work that enhances their future school applications.
Following the first batch of TSP weekend trips, which fell in the middle of a record-setting heat wave and included a canyoning adventure and journeys to Venice, Verona, Munich, and the Borromean Islands, these young writers (most of whom are only 14 or 15) returned to their laptops on Monday morning with stories to tell. Below we share several examples of their impressive work.
By Bianca from Puerto Rico
Who oversleeps in one of the most beautiful cities in the world? Even though the first morning in Venice my alarm didn’t go off and we were late for our tour, it was an amazing weekend for various reasons. First of all, the food was tasty and delicious. Also, we were given a lot of free time to explore the magnificent city. Lastly, my favorite event was the relaxing gondola ride throughout the city on Saturday night.
Our hotel had fresh air conditioning and comfortable beds, and thanks to my roommate who went to the bathroom to check the hour, I was able to enjoy a full day in Venice. Overall, this fascinating city offers beautiful views, interesting tours, and many ways to learn about its past.
By Malika from Egypt
The heat melted the color off my cheap necklace that I bought only the day before. It gave me a rash that only made the painful and exhausting walk around Verona worse. Despite the fact that the tour was draining, the pain was worth the experience. The underrated city carried more than just Roman history. It carried stories of love and tragedy, which were perfectly displayed when we toured around Juliet's balcony—surrounded by thousands of love letters, both tragic and merry. We visited old yet beautiful Roman ruins that expanded our knowledge of the Roman Empire, and we ate. We ate the best of the best Italian food. The pizza and the gelato were the perfect end to the already amazing trip.
By Samuel from USA/Mongolia
Despite the long hike and the many struggles of putting on wetsuits, the cold water was refreshing, and overall canyoning was a great memory-making experience. Even if jumping from high ledges into pools doesn't seem appealing to everyone, the comradery of the group and the feeling of accomplishment when you finish is worth it. In addition, in the heat of Swiss summers, jumping into cold water is refreshing, especially after the 30-minute hike up the mountainside to get to the starting point. Finally, the views from the various jumping/rappelling/sliding spots are incredible and warrant a visit alone.
Canyoning, however, is not for the faint of heart. With some jumps being upwards of eight meters, and some rappels being upward of 14 meters, those with a fear of heights may not enjoy the visit. Additionally, the long, wooded hike is tiring, and attempting to pull on the wetsuits is even more so. Overall, canyoning is an amazing experience if you’re up for the challenge. With high jumps, natural water slides, and amazing views, canyoning is the perfect experience for adrenaline junkies and adventurists alike.
By Raymond from USA
The weekend was boiling hot, but not as hot as Switzerland. While temperatures reached up to 30° C in Munich, it was still a fun and interesting trip for three main reasons. The first reason is the amazing sights we saw; the countryside of Germany was amazing and beautiful. The second reason is we got a tour of the city of Munich. The third isn’t a fun topic but it was nice to witness it. We went to Dachau. Maybe some people didn’t enjoy it because it was depressing, but it was nice to witness a piece of history. This trip was one of the most interesting and fun trips I've ever been on because of these three reasons. The visit to Munich was an opportunity to experience different cultures.
By Yelizaveta from Ukraine
When we arrived at the boat, I immediately felt the heat of the sun. They dropped us at the bus station and gave us time to eat our lunch. People complained that there is no place to sit, so we need to eat our sandwiches near the bus station standing. Despite the fact that Borromean Islands were hot and boring, it was a fascinating and beautiful trip. When we were on the boat, my friends and I felt a fresh breeze of the cold water. Freezing drops of the sea were raining on me and everyone who was sitting at the prow of the boat. We arrived. TASIS staff gave us one hour to do what we want, but the island was too small to contain something interesting, so we had to be satisfied with the smell of fish and awful gelato. Then, after an hour of doing nothing, we traveled to another, the last island on our trip. There we heard an interesting excursion about the ancient castle. I was satisfied. Everyone including me was amazed by the dazzling views of the Borromean islands, and after that excursion, we had free time. We had nothing to do there, so we sat in the hot cafe, bought ice cream and talked a lot. A visit to Borromean islands is a great opportunity to go back in time.
Students in the TASIS Summer Program (TSP) typically have their academic classes for four hours each weekday morning, and, depending on which of the two summer sessions they attend, can choose from the following courses: English as an Additional Language (EAL), EAL Academic Writing, Intensive Italian, Intensive French, Digital Photography, Architecture & Design, Fashion & Textile Design, Fine Art Portfolio, Musical Theater, International Baccalaureate Preparation Course, Italian Cooking, and Lean Startup Masterclass. Learn more about TSP’s academic offerings here.