Carlien Shelley was appointed as Headmistress at Malvern College Switzerland in September, relocating her family for a life in the Vaud Alps. Since then, she’s taken the school from strength to strength and reflects on her first few months in post.
“Arriving at Malvern College Switzerland in September with my husband and three sons was an exciting time but also somewhat daunting as we moved almost 9,000km from our home in Nanjing, China. While we were all very familiar with the area, having our second home just across the border in France for the past 15 years, living here was to be a whole new experience.
“Holiday time in France/Switzerland would be filled with swimming in Lake Geneva, hiking expeditions including the tour du Mt Blanc and the GR5, and skiing in the very valley that I look out onto now every day. Throughout our three-year lockdown in China, we would often talk of our expeditions, which inevitably resulted in us moving to what has to be one of our favourite countries. One of the things that I like most about the area, apart from the idyllic setting allowing us to be able to take part in our favourite activities, is the community which has been built, both within the school and the village of Leysin. It really makes you appreciate what it means to be in such a multicultural city in Switzerland.”
Malvern College Switzerland is situated at the foot of the ski slopes in Leysin, a small village one cog train stop away from the historic town of Aigle and 40 minutes from Montreux, famous for its jazz festival. It is a popular location, being the first mountain resort from Geneva with a thriving multicultural population.
The school perfectly complements the surroundings with its warm feeling of family at its heart, thanks to the superb team of teaching and pastoral staff, as well as the support from sister school Malvern College in the UK and wider family of schools.
Eamonn Mullally, Director of Education for Malvern College International commented on the collaborative efforts of their seven schools. “Since Malvern College Switzerland joined our family, we have seen even more collaboration between schools within the group. There have already been musical ensembles and experiences to sample life at differing schools. Next there is a visit planned from some of our schools in Asia where pupils will be able to try their hand at the ski academy which Malvern College Switzerland is so greatly envied for across the group.
“International collaboration is so beneficial for our pupils’ understanding and development in an increasingly globalised world. We are looking to facilitate further inter-school activities with the help of our newly appointed Director of Collaboration and Innovation and I look forward to watching this progress throughout the year.”
Mrs Shelley is an advocate for such participation and is keen to continue supporting new initiatives. She added that “Malvern College Switzerland is already providing a quality education that looks further than academics. We have world class facilities for mountain and team sports right on our doorstep, the whole year through, and look to foster the interests of each individual through our supportive pastoral setup.
“My fourteen years’ experience in independent boarding schools in the UK and further seven years in British international schools has taught me how to instil a sense of purpose and belonging within a team and each individual pupil. I am a huge advocate for encouraging the development of the whole person and that includes their passion for a fulfilled life – having the open-mindedness and curiosity to explore and the resilience to keep going, while maintaining personal standards of kindness and integrity – all qualities of Malvern College pupils. Our staff and our curriculum support this, nourishing a life with health and wellbeing at its heart, and that is something that I am already very proud of, here at Malvern College Switzerland.”