While the Swiss prefer dining on Rösti and polenta and engaging in winter sports and Swiss-wrestling, Indians prefer food spiced with curry and playing cricket. However, after a group of school pupils from India had the opportunity of spending two weeks with students of the Cantonal School in Menzingen (KSM), both groups of them may well have discovered there are always exceptions to the rule and that while 7,000 kilometres miles usually separate them, they all have more in common than they think.
It was thanks to the financial contributions from the Mercator and Movetia foundations that such an exchange was possible at all, this being the second time that Indian students have come over to Menzingen, the pupils from Zug having been to India last autumn.
Among the events the groups enjoyed was a Festival of Cultures, where foods of the different countries were cooked and tasted, not to mention different types of music and dancing. Another day was spent in Lucerne and having great fun going up the Titlis (photograph). On five mornings the pupils met up to discuss various cultural social and political matters, their conclusions being presented on the last day of term. One particular highlight, and a very amusing one, was the showing of videos they had taken over the course of the exchange.
In charge of the organisation of the exchange were Peter Zwicky, who teaches English and History at the KSM, and Christof König Beatty, who teaches mathematics. As the former mentioned how normal school routine was less disrupted this time, the exchange taking place closer to the end of term, the latter mentioned how the Swiss pupils were able to learn so much about Indian mentality on their visit there.
König Beatty mentioned how individual teachers in India do not enjoy as much freedom as their counterparts here, headmasters able to determine much more in India. Zwicky mentioned how the pupils from such different backgrounds got on so well with each other, with pupils from Zug also benefiting from going to places in Switzerland they had hitherto not been to.