Our residential way of life strives to educate students to be responsible, productive and ethical citizens with the skills to think creatively, reason critically, communicate effectively and maintain an attitude of respect toward people of other cultures.
Dormitories have several live-in faculty members who rotate supervisory nights and weekends throughout the year. Students know who is on duty each night so that in an emergency, the person on duty is the primary contact. Dormitory supervisors also rely on student prefects for assistance. These students must be familiar with apartment locations and contact numbers should an emergency arise.
Living with a roommate and away from home is a unique opportunity for a teenager. It provides ripe opportunitis for sharing about one another’s cultures, personal histories, and forming wonderful bonds that can last a lifetime. It also can be challenging to learn how to share a space at this age.
Differences between roommates are not uncommon when considering the various needs and habits that may present between two or more young adults. We work extensively with the students to establish an air of mutual respect in the rooms, and work on voicing issues with regards to the room in a respectful manner.
This provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn how to listen to others’ concerns openly while also having theirs heard; and to then, under the guidance of an adult mentor, devise an agreement that meets each person’s needs to the extent possible.
Learning how to communicate effectively, adapt, and share a common space while taking into consideration their own needs and those of others provides opportunities for life lessons and growth students would not normally get until university or beyond.
It is one of the more challenging, but also more special, aspects of attending a boarding school. Our experienced dorm staff work extensively to mediate and foster positive roommate relationships.
Building a community is our primary objective.
We believe in a stable, caring, supportive, family-like environment where students receive adult guidance through frequent daily interaction. “Family” is the key word because, given the distance that many of our students are from their own families, our faculty is committed to providing a positive “in loco parentis” role model for students.
The residential houses of Leysin American School are vital to the well-being and positive functioning of the school community. Our students feel at home on campus, and this helps them to feel positive about themselves and to appreciate their life at LAS.
In the dormitories, students have the opportunity to appreciate and understand other cultures. Living together, they recognize the differences of language, food or traditional costumes and then begin to explore the ideas, values and histories that have created each cultural group’s uniqueness.
This rich experience opens up another avenue to realize that, despite our obvious differences, we share many similarities as human beings that we might not have previously recognized.
LAS Uniform and Dress Code
The LAS uniform is not a traditional school uniform, but it does help to give students a sense of identity. This is their home away from home, and by wearing the school badge, they feel they belong. Upon arrival and during orientation, students choose from a range of clothing items that are then tailored on the spot to fit them correctly and comfortably.
Items available include polo and other shirts, skirts and ski jackets. The dress code must be respected during the school day.
Athletics and Activities
The Leysin American School strives to offer a balanced program of study, sports, arts, recreation and cultural travel. The nonacademic life is equally important and helps to mold our students into model citizens of the world.
The Value of Team Sports
At LAS we believe that exercise and fitness contribute to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The habit of regular physical exercise during adolescence can continue for years to come and is important in maintaining health and well-being. Our students choose among recreational activities for fun or participate on a competitive sports team.
Team sports allow students to experience the value of teamwork, engage in leadership roles and enjoy the benefits of healthy competition, all while having fun and making new friends. Students who play on a sports team often learn to manage their free time and excel academically. At LAS, we recognize the value of sport and leisure.
Our sports coaches instill the importance of sportsmanship and fair play from the first practice to the last game and beyond. Our student-athletes are expected to uphold the virtues of good sportsmanship, such as winning graciously, accepting failure with dignity and always showing respect for opponents and officials.
Our Competitive Leagues
Several teams represent LAS in Leysin and throughout Switzerland. We compete in two leagues, the Swiss Group of International Schools, and the Association des Directeurs des Instituts de Suisse Romande. SGIS events consist of weekend tournaments hosted by various international schools throughout Switzerland, while the ADISR schedules weekly matches within a league of private schools located in French-speaking Switzerland. LAS also competes in several non-league and invitational tournaments.
Seasons of Play
Most sports competitions take place during the fall semester. Tryouts are held during the first week of classes, and teams practice two to three times a week after school. Sports teams typically have one ADISR match each week and attend a few multi-school tournaments throughout the year. ADISR play-offs and finals are held in late November. LAS annually hosts the SGIS Volleyball Championships in early November for both boys and girls. Track participants train and compete in the spring term. Some teams, such as swimming and tennis, attend tournaments throughout the year.
The Outdoor Adventure program is a series of excursions and activities designed to showcase the natural outdoor resources in the area surrounding LAS. Leysin is located in a prime alpine location, with abundant rock climbing, high-mountain trekking, via ferratas (mountain routes equipped with fixed steel cables and footholds) and several ski resorts and mountain huts nearby.
The Outdoor Adventure program encourages students to be active in the outdoors and the Swiss mountains—with hiking boots, snowshoes or ropes and harnesses—to see the view from the top. The program consists of afternoon activities and weekend trips. The fall semester includes an overnight trek to the summit of the Dents du Midi (the highest peak in the area), as well as an after-school activity of orienteering and avalanche awareness. This activity includes hiking around the local ski resort terrain and surveying the various aspects of the slopes, becoming familiar with piste and off-piste trails.
The series of outdoor activities and weekend trips are open to all interested students. They include (but may change because of weather factors and enrollment):
- Overnight trek to summit the Dents du Midi mountain (3257 m; 10,686 ft.)
- An overnight hiking trek organized by the students
- Sailing on Lake Geneva, a team-building exercise
- Via ferrata up the Tour D’Ai, Leysin canyoning and/or whitewater rafting (in the spring)
- Indoor and outdoor rock climbing
- Early season overnight ski trip
- Winter overnight hut trip
- Overnight spring camping trip
- Lake Geneva bike touring trip
Ideally located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland’s Lake Geneva region serves as the gateway for travel to the cultural treasures of nearby France, Italy, Austria and Germany.
Centuries of history come to life before students’ eyes on school-sponsored excursions to cities such as Rome, Paris or Athens. For example, when students visit the Sistine Chapel, they learn about the election of Catholic Church popes over the centuries. In Athens, they visit the sites where democracy was born. Leysin American School combines formal study with travel as part of the curriculum. Students are expected to pursue academic tasks on these visits, complete reports and projects, and are graded on their work.
Students get to know their faculty family brothers, sisters and parents. These trips are generally within Switzerland and often involve sports and team building activities.
Swiss Culturals (October)
Students in Grades 9, 10 and 11 visit cultural centers of their host county, Switzerland, such as Basel, Berne, Geneva, Lucerne and Lugano.
Italian Culturals (October)
Senior and postgraduate students visit Florence, Rome or Venice as part of their Theory of Knowledge class.
European Culturals (May)
Students have a choice of European cities to visit. Thse trips generally include Barcelona, London, Paris, Venice, Istanbul, Vienna, Munich, Prague or St. Petersburg. Through a Swiss chapter of Habitat for Humanity, students may participate in community service trips to such countries as Romania and Poland to assist the less fortunate. Our Peace Corps Partnership provides an opportunity to visit and work with struggling communities in Morocco.
Optional Spring Break Trip (March/April)
At extra cost, students may opt to go on a faculty-sponsored trip over Spring Break. Past destinations have included community service trips to Bosnia as well as cultural trips to Tanzania, China, Egypt and Nepal.
Weekend field trips are organized throughout the year within Switzerland and to neighboring countries. Every weekend, school-sponsored trips are offered to nearby Lausanne, Geneva, Montreux and Bern to take advantage of museums, theater and shopping. Weekly sports and leisure excursions include Zermatt for glacier skiing and the Aquapark adventure destination in Bouveret.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement award, bringing together practical experiences, life skills, and fun. It operates in over 140 countries and has involved more than 8 million young people. Universities and employers look favorably on Bronze, Silver, or Gold International Awards because they demonstrate a student’s commitment to goal setting and achievement.
The Leysin American School is proud to introduce the International Award during the 2014-2015 academic year. During this first year we are particularly aiming at 8th and 9th graders working toward Bronze Awards, but we are also welcoming older students direct-entering into Silver or Gold. Most of your effort toward the International Award can be accomplished through your existing activities, though some additional time will be needed for the Adventurous Journey and service requirements.
What is involved?
The Award is voluntary, non-competitive, enjoyable, and requires effort over time. Students design their own Award program, set their own goals, and record their own progress. They choose Service, Physical Recreation, Skills activities, go on an Adventurous Journey, and—to achieve a Gold Award—take part in a residential project away from home or school.