Life will take you where it wants you to be.

Have you ever been forced into doing something you thought would be the worst but turned out to be the best?

Well I certainly have. June 2011 my father tells us we’re moving to Switzerland, one way or another. Me being 13 at the time, not even speaking any other language than dutch nor having any interest in living in the mountains, wasn’t very excited about that. After several enraged conversations with my father and somber moments with my friends the move took place.

August 2011 we had officially moved to Zug, a small town in the centre of Switzerland, and I had started my education in an international school. As you could reckon, the first day of school I had been confronted with the fact that my knowledge of English was at 0. This became clear as a classmate of mine had come up to me and I couldn’t even understand a word, this left me speechless. Classes were difficult and integrating was fairly challenging but with Nikki (my first friend who was dutch and going through the same struggles as I) by my side, it made the journey much easier.

(View on the Zug lake, taken from halfway up the Zugerberg)


Having Nikki be in the same boat as I, we soon got under each other’s skin like sisters and took on this journey together. Even though she was dutch, we came from two places not far from each other and had very similar backgrounds. We’d never been in an international environment and came from a public school where values and habits are very different. In public schools students tend to have little respect towards a teacher and fellow peers whereas our international school’s main motto was RESPECT.

Nikki on the left, me on the right. (April 2012)
The middle school campus of ISZL, where I was from August 2011– June 2012

On top of getting comfortable in a new school, I had also been pulled into a country of which I did not understand the local language nor their way of living. I got confronted with people of different social classes and personalities I wasn’t used to. In the beginning of the move, this was really uncomfortable for me and I felt genuinely homesick but when being surrounded by the same people on the daily in a beautiful place like Zug, it did not take long to find my comfort zone. Also having to speak a certain language with everyone besides your best friend and parents, you soon pick it up.

To sum it up, up until a year after the move I went through many obstacles and personal issues in order to find myself which made me want to return back to Belgium. But as soon as I moved from middle school to high school I found who I wanted to be and what part I played in this big world.

“One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” — Henry Miller

You’ve just been introduced as to how I ended up in Switzerland and what it was like to move there, but in my upcoming blog posts you will read about what it’s like to be a foreigner going to an international school in Switzerland.

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