At Leysin American School in Switzerland, we love celebrating different cultures, traditions, and languages. With over 50 nationalities represented in our community, we believe it’s vital for students and staff to learn about the many cultures they’re surrounded by. We always love finding different ways to incorporate immersion-based learning into our students’ daily lives, whether that’s through the curriculum, cultural trips, or during Faculty Family evenings.
Recently, our Spanish learners took part in a day of fun activities that allowed them to practice their language skills and learn about the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. This is the first year we have incorporated this brand-new program into our curriculum, and our students loved taking the time to integrate cultural immersion into their study of the language. Experiential learning is a core component of the curriculum at LAS, as it allows students to see firsthand the real-life applications of their studies.
Students participated in various fun and challenging activities during this day of workshops. Creative tasks such as hand-making Mandala ojos de Dios (God’s eye mandalas) allowed students to get creative and learn through Spanish instructions. This traditionally Peruvian and Mexican handmade technique taught students how to create a design by weaving yarn around a wooden cross, a task which they really enjoyed!
Students were also given the opportunity to taste-test many cultural cuisines during this day of workshops, such as sampling liquid gold: olive oil! This is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, and by means of smell and taste, students engaged in a qualitative evaluation of the sensory characteristics of each oil. Students established the winner among the range of oils. Students also discovered all the secrets to making rich and tasty bread without additives with its three essential ingredients: flour, water, and salt. These essential foods are a staple to many Latin American and Mediterranean cuisines, allowing students to delve further into different cultures.
A student favorite from the day was a mojito mocktail-making class! We shared a little piece of Caribbean culture with one of Cuba’s most famous drinks, and students loved learning the perfect combination of ingredients for this mocktail. It was easy to understand how the beautiful island’s history, climate, and people brought one of the most popular drinks in the world. This masterclass was such a refreshing way to spend the afternoon!
Later on in the day, our students were lucky enough to learn the art of Flamenco, a traditional dance that is a big part of Spanish culture. The instructor learned her skills from the great artists of southern Spain and shared her knowledge and skills with our community. Seeing her perform was such a treat, and our students loved giving it a go!
Our students loved getting out of their seats and participating in these engaging activities that allowed them to access their creativity and practice their language skills in an encouraging and hands-on environment. Learning through experience is an area of our curriculum that we are very passionate about as a school, as we have seen first-hand the progress that students make from using their language skills in an environment that helps them build their confidence and learn from experience. We can’t wait to build further on this area in the future!