Last year 23 of our students traveled to Switzerland as part of the first cohort of the Ignite: Switzerland programme where Year 9 students have the opportunity to spend 12 weeks at Hochalpines Institut Ftan, nestled in the Swiss Alps.
This September we held the Ignite Evening on our campus where the students presented their capstone Passion Projects and received recognition of graduation from the programme with parents, peers, and faculty in attendance.
Three of our Ignite graduates gave eloquent and moving speeches reflecting on their Ignite experiences.
Abi J remarked on her personal growth: "It was the most intense, eye-opening, breathtaking thing I have ever done. I don't think I have lived as much as I did during those three months. Looking back and reflecting on who I was 5 months ago, I don't think I'd be able to recognise myself. Ignite has helped me grow so much and helped me build newfound confidence that I did not think I had."
Sze Kay T spoke about overcoming fears: "What I learned from Ignite is that we can do all the things we think we are too scared to do. In fact the more something scares you, the more you should do it."
Timothy C emphasised the value of getting out of comfort zones: "We have experienced so much through this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Whether it was pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones, trying new things, or persevering together though the hard times, we've all grown so much from this spectacular experience."
They also highlighted the new relationships they made with people they might otherwise never have spoken to and the memories they made which will stay with them the rest of their lives.
Parents of the Ignite graduates were equally generous in their praise of the experience.
Parent Matthew J shared, “Ignite transcends academia and delivers crucial new learnings for students at the perfect time in their education journeys. Ignite creates space for young people to pause, get to know themselves more deeply, discover their own hidden or untapped passions or talents, learn how to interact with the natural world and new groups of people, and unlock resilience, courage, and curiosity and confidence. The positive change I have witnessed in my daughter since her Ignite experience is acute and inspiring.”
Passion Project Inspire Action
Our Ignite students chose a wide range of subjects to pursue for their Passion Projects.
For her project, Kelly W applied her love of music to the inspiring Swiss environment by writing an original song called “We Go Over the Mountains”.
"It’s a song about the wonderful memories we had at Ignite which also raises awareness about the consequences of climate change: snow melting, glaciers moving."
Joy L, meanwhile, created a 2D pixel game about the birds of the Engadine mountains called ENGARUN, an innovative way to raise awareness about the importance of animal protection in the Endagin Mountains near Ftan.
"I am deeply passionate about ensuring that my project has a transformative impact on people residing in urban environments. My project aims to spark their curiousity and inspire a profound appreciation for nature."
Passion Projects enable students to showcase their learning in creative and dynamic ways. They represent the culmination of their learning and give students the opportunity to share their experience with friends and family. The Passion Project encourages students to practise and strengthen their approaches to learning skills, to consolidate prior and subject-specific learning, and to develop an area of personal interest.
Passion Projects are part of the rigorous academic programme each Ignite student undertakes. The core academic programme ensures that all students study English, Maths, Science, and a language to the same standard as the Dulwich Colleges in Asia. All subjects are aligned to, and fully meet, the criteria of the Year 9/IGCSE curriculum.
Outdoor Learning and Sport
The Outdoor Learning Programme is the highlight of the Ignite: Switzerland experience. The inspiring alpine environment offers a variety of exciting, challenging and easily accessible sports and activities.
With the Swiss National Park and the southern alpine peaks on their doorstep, the students can walk from the school out into the most beautiful of surroundings. The students will develop confidence and resilience in the outdoors that will enable them to take leadership roles in other aspects of their lives in the future.
Our Ignite graduates fondly recalled their experiences hiking, camping, trekking, sailing, skiing, or simply stargazing with their friends.
The Sport Programme, meanwhile, revolves around the seasons as the weather will dictate what can be done safely, and includes sports such as alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice hockey, curling, and ice skating.
Ignite students also make the most of their time in Europe through travel and weekend trips. Our first group of students, for example, visited exciting places such as Zurich, Lake Como in Italy and Bavaria in Germany.
Are you Ready to Ignite?
Ignite: Switzerland is an opportunity exclusive to Dulwich College International students. It is a programme for the curious, passionate, and brave. It is inspired by Education in Motion (EiM)’s vision to provide pioneering education for a sustainable future and underpinned by its global network of resources and industry knowledge.
Through new challenges encountered, Ignite students discover their best selves. They lead their own expedition into the world of learning, find new ways to reflect on the world and themselves in an awe-inspiring natural environment.
Ignite: Switzerland is a transformative experience that is meant to be one of the highlights of a student’s time at Dulwich. Find out more about the programme here.