Eleven Swiss teens served as Youth Ambassadors for SSCA's 11th school-to-school exchange with the Interlaken Gymnasium, a college prep high school in Interlaken, Switzerland. Begun in 2000 by SUSD administration shortly after Interlaken became a sister city with Scottsdale, this exchange has been in partnership with SUSD as a field trip held every other year. The students arrived September 24th and shadowed their hosts at school for the first day. The entire group spent a day at Arcadia High School and a day at Coronado High School. They all enjoyed Friday Night Lights at Desert Mountain High School, where they watched the Wolves defeat the Horizon Huskies at a Hawaiian-themed game.
The Swiss also had the opportunity to get a good "taste" of Scottsdale. They experienced our Mexican traditions through dinner at Los Olivos and salsa dancing at FatCat Studio; Indigenous culture at the CHANT program at Coronado, a tour through SCC, and petroglyph ranger hike at South Mountain; and cowboy life on a tour of Old Town and a western-themed homecoming dance at Arcadia. On family days, Swiss students joined their families to see typical Arizona traditions including events such as attending the Arizona State Fair. In addition, they met with Mayor Ortega, toured Taliesin West and played at Top Golf. A journey to Sedona and the Grand Canyon rounded out their trip. One additional highlight was the short concert provided to guests at the MIM on their lobby Steinway by two of the Swiss students who are accomplished pianists.
More than the tours and events, the host families grew to really know their Swiss "siblings". At the Membership Farewell Dinner held October 5th, the Swiss students each spoke of their experience, saying how much they appreciated their new families and will miss them. The feeling is mutual. Our Scottsdale Youth Ambassadors, representing all five SUSD high schools, can't wait to go to Interlaken at spring break to experience Swiss schools, hospitality and get to know their new Swiss families. We need your tax credit contributions at all five high schools. Contact email@example.com to get a form for 2023 and 2024.
A special thanks to Arizona Swiss Foundation and Arizona Swiss Society for helping fund the expenses for this Swiss portion of the exchange. Sister Cities: making the world a better place, one city, one person at a time.
Submitted by Interlaken Chairman, Lisa White
Caption: Swiss and Scottsdale students enjoyed a tour of the Civic Center and Old Town. Can you tell the Swiss from the Arizonans?