Without a doubt, life is all about experiences. Our past experiences shape the person we are today. Likewise, our new experiences can shape the person we become. A new experience is something that we haven’t tried before, which opens our senses and minds to new adventures and ways of thinking. Moving your family halfway around the world to take a new job as a housemistress in Switzerland indeed constitutes a unique experience. It has undoubtedly provided both myself and my family with lots of fantastic, new opportunities.
Of course, with change comes a certain amount of trepidation; not knowing the routines, not knowing the staff or your colleagues, not knowing the pupils and simply not knowing the buildings can prove highly daunting. So, half a term in, I have been asked to reflect on my experiences as a new housemistress here at Beau Soleil.
Having the opportunity to work in a co-educational boarding house presented a new challenge for me, and it was one that I was keen to explore. Deux Chalets is the only co-educational boarding house on campus, and up until this year, I had only had the good fortune to be a housemistress in an all-boys boarding house as well as a housemistress in an all-girls boarding house. However, the opportunity to work with both boys and girls simultaneously has not disappointed me, and although the experience is different, the relationships with the students remain the same. Every day in Deux Chalets is different, and it has been charming getting to know all of the students throughout the last few weeks. We cannot underestimate the importance of relationships. These relationships are integral to the success of a boarding house and, ultimately, a boarding community.
For me, working as a housemistress in a boarding house with people from 21 different nationalities is a fantastic opportunity to share a variety of viewpoints, experiences and celebrate cultural diversity. Such diversity offers us a global outlook on so many topics. Multiple voices, perspectives, and personalities bouncing off one another can give rise to great discussions. The Deux Chalets Common Room and Office are often home to some fascinating conversations and debates. Without a doubt, it is this diverse talent pool that makes Deux Chalets such an exciting place to both live and work.
This diversity is not confined simply to students, and I have welcomed the opportunity as housemistress to work with a fantastic team of people. Closer to home, I work with a highly talented and enthusiastic house team. The support of Adam, Nick, Lauren and Amelia has been very much appreciated over the last few weeks. Of course, coming together as a team does not happen overnight, but I am delighted that all of our strengths complement one another so well. Working in boarding is most definitely a way of life and not a 9-5 pm job. Having a supportive and happy team around you makes a massive difference, and the pupils can benefit hugely from this positive working environment. The tutors also add another dimension to boarding, and without them, we would not be able to work as effectively as we do. Each tutor brings their strengths and personality, and it is this inclusive environment promotes opportunity, talent and celebrates individualism.
Here in Deux Chalets, we openly promote the idea that to earn respect, we need to give respect. Ultimately, it is this concept that underpins everything we strive to achieve. Valuing everybody’s contribution is integral to fostering an environment of mutual respect, and I hope that every member of the Deux Chalets community recognizes this.
So to conclude, when we put ourselves out of our comfort zone and open ourselves up to new experiences, positive things happen in our lives.
Do not let fear stand in the way of trying something new, whether it’s travelling to a new country or trying a new hobby. New experiences allow you to broaden your horizons and live a fulfilled life. I can honestly say that my first impressions as housemistress at Beau Soleil have been very memorable, and I am excited to see what the future holds.
Caroline Davies, Housemistress in Deux Chalets boarding house
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