YFU Switzerland

PAO – 2015

The PAO is the first of three camps, organised on a national level by YFU Switzerland, which are a part of an exchange students’ experience in Switzerland. The PAO stands for Post Arrival Orientation. This camp gives the opportunity to reflect on their exchange year, what have they experienced so far, where do they stand, what do they want to achieve in their year, etc. It is fully organised by volunteers of YFU Switzerland. The volunteers consist of the following, the NECs, National Event Coordinators, Andreas and Laura, they are in charge of all logistical matters. The trainers, Nina and Sandra, prepared the group leader for the week. The weekend before, they simulated all the sessions and discussed the most important points. Last but not least, the group leaders, lead the 9 groups and ensure the well-being of the students. The camp took place from the third of October until the 10th of October.


SATURDAY – The NECs arrived in the morning to prepare the camp side. The group leaders and trainers arrived shortly after to conduct the first training. It was a very relaxed atmosphere. For the dinner, the kitchen crew had prepared a wonderful meal.


SUNDAY – During the whole day the group leaders worked on the sessions for the students, this included preparing flip charts, thinking about who says what and when, getting to know each other better, etc.


MONDAY – Early in the morning the volunteers got up to prepare the last sessions for the coming students. The kitchen crew made sure the volunteers were provided with an enriching breakfast. The kitchen consisted of Sandra and Marion, as the heads of the kitchen, Corinne, Susanne, Robin, and Sebastian supported the two with delivering tasteful foods. Setting the things after lunch, the students finally arrived!! Coming from Broc train station the students were greeted by Jerry, the national director of YFU Switzerland. Afterwards they jumped right into the first session in their groups, which focused on the introduction of the PAO. On the first evening the students went through the camp olympics. They had to compete as a team.


TUESDAY – Blasting with good sounds in the morning, everyone got up at 7:30 and was greeted by the wonderful kitchen crew. After some short speech by the NECs the students started with their first daily session “Culture Shock Switzerland & Family Circle”. The session gives the students the chance to exchange themselves with others and find common findings about Switzerland they have observed. In the afternoon they had the chance to choose from a workshop, in which they can choose from different activities. This ranges from visiting a chocolate factory, plat bakery, etc. For the evening the students were asked to prepare something traditional from their home country. For this we let the pictures talk.

Asia Europe Europe Americas

WEDNESDAY – Due to weather constraints, the planned hike for the afternoon was shifted to Thursday, and instead the second workshop was put into place this afternoon. Starting in the morning of the day, the groups had the sessions “Bedrock” and “Piece of Art”. “Bedrock” does embraces the students to show an openness towards the Swiss culture and teaches them how show respect. “Piece of Art” encourages the students to build artwork based on their exchange experience so far. In the evening everyone enjoyed a walk along the river. To light the way, torches were distributed amongst the students and volunteers.

Workshop II Workshop I

THURSDAY – In the morning the students and volunteers tackled the fourth session block. This one is named “School, Leisure, Friends”. As the name already implies, the focus lays on networks outside of the host family. In the afternoon everyone went on a hike around the Alps in Fribourg.


FRIDAY – The last day with sessions was very tense. In the morning the students set themselves new goals and wrote a letter, to which they will come back later during their exchange year which functions as a motivator in times of doubt. Rounding up the sessions the group leaders and student evaluated the week together and then enjoyed a well cooked meal by the kitchen crew. In the afternoon everyone went to their third workshop. The final evening was packed. First all the student groups presented their presentation of week. Funny, thoughtful, and entertaining it was. Rounding up the week, the students and volunteers had some drinks and danced to different sounds.


SATURDAY – The last day of the PAO, cam faster than thought off in the beginning. The students and volunteers worked hard to get the house clean. In the end the students left earlier and the volunteers stayed longer to reflect on the PAO. On the way back home, the bus had to drive behind a Désalpe.