When Dixon Dorand says he's been to the mountaintop...he means it literally. The Montgomery Academy sophomore spent last semester in Switzerland. "Every weekend depending on the activity we selected, we would travel to different parts of Switzerland; or maybe into France to do things like mountain climbing or biking. There were trips where you biked all over Switzerland," he says.
The trip was through an educational program called Swiss Semester. Rigorous athletic activity is a key part of it; and so are challenging academics. Dorand spent four days in Venice. "We collected pictures and did research on different pieces of artwork; and then when we got back we had a week to write our paper. And throughout everything, with introduction, conclusion and appendices, I had a 21 page paper," he says.
Dorand says the teacher-to-student ratio and scheduling improved his time management skills and knowledge of his capabilities. The program is open to 10th graders, but may not be for every student. Rhea Kirk, who oversees foreign education plans for Montgomery Academy says, "I think it takes a special student to leave their home school for a semester and travel to a foreign country alone. It does take a student with a sense of adventure."
Dorand says this was an adventure he'll remember for the rest of his life. Students interested in the Swiss Semester program need to apply before December first of their freshman year. For more information log onto http://www.swisssemester.org.