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2011 St. George's Graduate Laura

Laura joined as a Y10 student in 2011 and spent 4 years as a weekly boarder before graduating in 2015.  She then began studying at EHL, the hotel school in Lausanne.  After two years, she changed direction and enrolled at Norland College in Bath, UK where she earned a BA in Early Years Development & Learning as well as the prestigious Norland Diploma.  In February 2020 just before Covid and the first Swiss lockdown, she returned to St. George’s for four weeks in order to complete her final placement and dissertation on bilingual children and the affect on their cognitive development.  Her qualification enables her to work in nurseries.

St george alumni with friends

Laura has remained in Bath and works for a family as a Nanny caring for their two young children, one aged almost 3 and a toddler of 15 months.  She works over 50 hours per week, and really enjoys the job gaining great satisfaction looking after the children. During her holidays as a student she returned to Switzerland and worked as a Nanny and also as a group leader and boarding house parent at a summer school in Villars.  Being half-Swiss, she retains strong connections here, still having some family members who live nearby.

She feels being a St. George’s boarder provided her with a wealth of independence, stability, consistency and valuable life-skills. It was her first boarding experience and was the school that she attended for the longest period of time. Her parents worked a great deal and often moved countries.  She was born in the US,  but has also lived and been educated in France and Belgium.  Prior to St. George's she had studied at two other Swiss schools, Collège du Léman and La Côte.  She has remained friends with some Georgentians and feels that these friendships will last a lifetime. She enjoyed meeting youngsters of other nationalities and from different backgrounds. Her roommates included girls from Japan, Burkina Faso and Russia. Her favourite members of boarding staff were Mme François and Ms Bolton and her favourite teachers included Ms Devereux, history IB, Mr Lineham, chemistry IGCSE and her head of House, Mr. Gillan. She has recollections of chatting with the housekeeping staff, especially long-term staff member, Mary- Jo.

Like many of our Featured Alumni, Laura’s fondest memory is of skiing during the winter months, in particular her final ski trip to Courmayeur in year 13. She recalls it being fun skiing with friends and not having to worry too much about the upcoming IB exams. She also enjoyed camping trips and white-water rafting, although being a weekly boarder meant that she didn’t participate in many weekend activities. She relished the experience of returning to St. George’s for her placement and the chance to meet former teachers again.  She says it felt strange to work alongside and addressing them by different names plus the dynamics of her no longer being a student, but a trainee. She loved the end of year Christmas dinner with the other Boarders and staff and altogether singing the carol, The first day of Christmas. As a member of Atalanta House, she thoroughly enjoyed playing netball in the inter-house competitions. Many of her friends have remained in Switzerland and it is her intention one day to return to work in Suisse Romande.

She feels privileged to have encountered many different cultures and the provision to meet people from all walks of life.  She has learned tolerance and has gained a wide perspective on life.  Initially becoming a boarding student, she felt scared and apprehensive, but having settled in quickly and being at school boosted her confidence a great deal.  Although at first nervous, she soon discovered that she loved the student and boarding life offered at St. George’s. Laura’s remembers that having small classes was of great benefit in that the teachers were always willing to help if students were struggling.  The teachers focus was to help where needed and subsequently offer support. Laura has the challenge of being dyslexic and claims not to have been too academic.  As a result, she has learned not to be afraid to change and embrace any opportunity that has come her way.  She feels it is very important to acknowledge any challenges.  At school, each week she received extra help, mostly from Mrs Wilson, and was given extra time when sitting exams.
Laura’s brother, André was also a student until Y8.  He is now studying in Boston, US. Leaving school was a big shock for Laura, but she says that her experience of boarding made the transition easier It was a bittersweet feeling as she was happy to be finished with IB and move on, but was sad to say goodbye to friends. She is grateful that she has was able to face up to the fact that studying in the hospitality industry wasn’t the best route for her.  Despite taking longer, and by accepting failure and facing the challenges, she was able to turn the negative into something to give her the strength to strive to make a new way forward by studying and succeeding at Norland.  This has helped her, and she would offer the advice to students “Not to be scared to change direction, and as you begin to start a new chapter in life, to embrace the opportunities that come your way. Play to your strength and be kind to yourself. “
For the time being, Laura’s is content to continue to work as a Nanny and support her charges through their passions.  She feels it is important to enable children and give them opportunities to further their learning and development.  Currently, she is very important in the lives of the children for whom she cares, and she enjoys inspiring and supporting them.  She loved her time working in the Chalet at St. George’s last year and, although qualified to work in nurseries, she is considering doing a PGCE to become a Primary teacher. As a student, she adored her years at St. George’s and feels fortunate to have been able to stay so long.  It shaped who she is today, and feels that, although not academic, she is making a success of her life.