The world-renowned TASIS Summer Programs date all the way back to 1955 and have enriched the lives of countless children and young adults. While The American School in Switzerland currently offers three programs at its main campus in Lugano there are additional offerings in England, France, and Puerto Rico, and many other programs and locations have come and gone through the years. TASIS recently caught up with summer alumni from each of the past six decades and asked them what memories still stand out today. Below are the six themes that appeared most frequently and some of the explanatory remarks their alumni offered.
Friendships formed with other students
TASIS was a community unlike anything I had experienced before. The structure of the camp was fun and exciting. I loved being surrounded by the beautiful scenery and getting to travel around the area. The culture, people, and experiences I had will stay with me for a lifetime.
A girl I met in the painting class (who lived across the hall from me) is still one of my closest and dearest friends to this day. Growing up we lived across the country from each other but still stayed in touch almost every day. Now we live in the same city!
I want to go back! I would love to be a counselor! It was the best summer of my life. Maggie Rubin, who attended TASIS Summer Programs in 2004–2005
It was a wonderful time in my life, being a teenager, learning new cultures, and making great friends.Robert Salz, who attended TASIS Summer Programs in 1969–1970
Traveling to other cities around Europe
TASIS was my first significant international exposure. It informed my worldview and made me recognize other cultures and languages as equal to English/American culture from a very early age, which I think has made me a better world citizen.Courtney Sharpe, who attended TASIS Summer Programs in 2000, 2001, and 2003
Having the wonderful opportunity to attend Swiss Holiday in 1966 started my love of travel. Meeting people from all over the United States ( as summer campers) and all over Europe opened my eyes and mind to the many possibilities to learn about different cultures. Being exposed to the history, the culture, and the music, foods, traditions, and “life” abroad was fascinating to me. I will never forget the thrill of going to Port Lligat with our blue VW bus of campers….where we saw Salvador Dali!!! I told my children about having my photo taken with him…what a thrill! He was a character, for sure.
I returned to Europe several times after that, and continued my love of “learning”…In 1971 I was married and my husband and I spent three months in Europe…I was able to show him some of my favorite places, including Lugano.
Years later, we encouraged our children to TRAVEL and LEARN about other cultures. One son married a wonderful Danish woman, and another married a Chinese woman. We are blessed to incorporate many of their traditions into our lives to this day.
Go…Look…See!Sally Peters Davidson, who attended a TASIS Summer Program in 1966
Outdoor adventure trips
Climbing Mt. Tamaro was the most enjoyable because I bonded with my group, but my favorite trip was Sirmione! It was incredibly calm, gorgeous, and relaxing. I was also close with everyone that made the trip so I felt comfortable going anywhere with any of them.Helen Jiang, who attended a TASIS Summer Program in 2010
Camping in the Alps was a wonderful experience. Small group of great people, enjoying the present moment of beauty.Robert Salz, who attended TASIS Summer Programs in 1969–1970
Natural beauty of Lugano
The settings are amazing, the teachers were very well prepared, the life spent in these weeks left me with memorable friendships and ideas. Truly there is no aspect that I do not remember with affection and nostalgia. Dr. Filippo Genco, who attended TASIS Summer Programs in 1982, 1983, and 1986–90
Travel was the big draw, but the beauty of Lugano and the wonderful people made the summer extra special!Mary Blumberg Dean, who attended a TASIS Summer Program in 1963
Learning/improving a new language
I loved the program. I loved learning about France by being there and traveling and learning the language and the culture. I loved meeting the other students and making friends and memories and all the different experiences we had.Elizabeth A. Smith, who attended a TASIS Summer Program in 1970
It was a terrific opportunity and my spoken French has never been better.Anna Rebecca Shealy, who attended a TASIS Summer Program in 1996
Relationships built with counselors and other adults involved with the program
The family feeling that Michele and John Watson created made everyone forget about being homesick. Every day was beautifully structured and the activities were excellent and covered a huge range of interests. We were never bored! The Summer Programs are so spectacular and mainly because of the great teachers and counselors that run them with so much love and joy. I will always love Michele and John Watson for all the kindness they showed their young charges.
Toni Perreira, who attended a TASIS Summer Program program in 1972
The time I spend with TASIS was formative to my growth as an independent woman. Lucy Hadsall Hedrick, who attended a TASIS Summer Program in 1964