Personal Development Week (PDW) at ISZL

Helga Jaimes

Deepening our connections to Switzerland

Providing students with experiences that are not otherwise possible during the normal academic programme, the Personal Development Week (PDW) is an integral part of the IB curriculum. All students are expected to participate as important learning takes place during these activities and, on return to school, the experience of PDW is further developed in the classroom.

This year, the PDW offers our students an exceptional learning situation and opportunities to get to know their host country of Switzerland. Our faculties have created meaningful experiences that capture the essence of PDW and at the same time students can explore the different faces of Switzerland.

Primary School PDW

PDW in Primary School is all about enjoyment, collaboration and community spirit, designed for students in Grades 3 to 5. For this year, the Primary School Faculty put together a programme filled with activities that both connect to existing student interests and offer opportunities for them to broaden their experiences.

Making the most of the natural environment that is on our doorstep, some of these activities include a ropes course on Mount Pilatus, a nature hike on Mount Zugerberg and tubing and trampolining on Mount Sattel-Hochstuckli.

The faculty has also established connections with many local providers in Zug and Luzern as the students can visit a chocolate factory, take a cooking or baking masterclass, enjoy a pottery workshop or mini golf. The PDW week also includes a charity fund-raising event for the Nawa Asha Griha school in Nepal, an important partner for ISZL.

Middle School PDW

The Middle School PDW is designed for students in each grade level and is an ideal opportunity for students to develop independence, social awareness and leadership skills as well as strengthening relationships with peers and teaching staff across the grade level.

This year, an alternative solution has been designed that embraces the spirit of the Middle School PDW and reflects the Middle School programme; offering students choice and exposure to new and challenging activities.  

The Middle School PDW provides a variety of three-day adventures, each one focused around a theme and including a number of experiences led by experts in that area. Students choose the adventure theme they wish to follow and complete the activities listed over the three days.

Students can choose from a wide variety of themes, from animal, action, drama and sailing to adventures of the mind. For those wanting to try out a wide variety of physical, mental and fun challenges, and for the ultimate PDW experience, students can choose the Adventure Medley.

These three-day adventures will run alongside whole grade activity days including some of the traditional celebratory events that are part of the Middle School experience.

High School PDW

For our High Schoolers, the goal of the week is to challenge themselves, learn new skills, focus on their passions, develop some leadership skills, goal setting and time management techniques and also to have some fun at the end of a long and challenging year.

For our Grade 9 students, the Swiss International Leadership Camps have put together a fantastic and varied programme. The 5-day programme takes place mostly off-campus in the surrounding areas and gives students the opportunity to experience activities related to leadership, well-being, outdoors, culture and service while exploring the Swiss nature and culture.

Grade 10 and Grade 11 are able to choose from a number of grade-specific options, offering a balance of creative, cultural, active and service-oriented experiences. These range from completing some environmental service with the WWF in the Jura, painting murals around campus, to rafting and canyoning in Interlaken. Given the challenges with students undertaking work experience over the last couple of academic years, ISZL also works with ETH Zürich to provide a three-day immersive experience for students, where they will have an opportunity to develop some of the ‘softer skills’ which are so valuable in the workplace.

We wish all our students wonderful and enriching experiences during their PDWs in Switzerland!

  • High School
  • IB Programme
  • Learning and Curriculum
  • Local Connections
  • Middle School
  • Personal Development Weeks
  • Primary School

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