Between High School and Les Roches

25 Jul 2012 | by jacqueline


Our final leavers service at Chisipite Senior School

If someone were to ask how I’ve spent the past eight months after finishing high school; the answer would be; waiting in anticipation. My mum has always taught me that patience is a virtue and I have struggled with this throughout my life. My patience has definitely been put to the test as I wait for what feels like a lifetime for the 7th of August 2012.

Having finished high school last year in November, I have had to keep myself busy or I might have gone a bit insane. Firstly, was the hype and general excitement that comes with graduating and finishing my final exams. At my school the tradition is a houseboat trip up lake Kariba with with lots of friends to celebrate an end to six long years of hard work filled with exams. New Year’s followed and that was spent with even more friends in Victoria Falls where there was a “Falls Fest” which was very exciting for us as there were live performances from some talented acts from South Africa.

On a pontoon on lake Kariba waiting for sunset

The mood certainly changed when many of those friends began to leave for university in January and it was time to say goodbye. It was such a contrast to the December frenzy and fun because now we were leaving all that behind. Everyone who had been on the same path for as much as thirteen years, were now all going their separate ways.

After saying goodbye, I decided I needed to immerse myself completely into something new, so I started working and doing vocal training lessons here in Harare to pass the time. I worked in my family restaurant called ‘The African Affair’ for about four months. I must say that I have learnt quite a lot about working in the kitchen and also more about my culture in that I got a chance to explore a lot more African dishes that I had not been exposed to on a daily basis.

I am particularly excited about the cultural evening at Les Roches to perhaps get a chance to showcase some of these dishes to my fellow classmates and to learn more about their cultures.

Besides being something I am very passionate about, I am extremely excited to be exposed to the many cultures at Les Roches.

A bazaar in the Pink City Long flight India

After the job in the restaurant, I had saved up quite a bit of money so I decided to head to India for a short holiday. I was visiting mainly Jaipur which is a very traditional part of India and women have to be completely covered at all times. This turned out to be a huge problem because when I was there the temperatures were as high as 50’C and I found it very difficult to adjust to the climate, hence my stay in India was shortened. I quickly returned home to the Zimbabwean winter, which is warm and moderate as far as winters go and that was a very welcome change. Not having really travelled alone I found myself very excited to be back in my own country even though I was only away for a week. It was good to see my family and a lot of my friends were back for their break from university.

It is good to be home, the winter is nearly over and we are heading into Spring. At the moment; in this final last stretch before school I have been working for my mum’s cosmetics company with one of my very good friends, Danielle, organizing marketing events for the company.


Every time I log onto Facebook, I go straight to the Les Roches For New Students page and I see how excited my fellow classmates are. Packing seems to be the subject that we are all talking about at the moment and I am getting into a bit of a panic because I see that a few people have already started packing. The method I usually use is making a very comprehensive list and when something comes up I add it on the list then I’ll put everything into suitcases and boxes perhaps a week before my departure. I find this much easier because I don’t forget as much. I got an idea from the Facebook group to pack some things into a box and send them to the school which they said is fine all you need to do is put your name on the box and send it. For those of you who like to travel light this could be a better option because there is no way carrying around three suitcases in airports could be fun.

I asked Giovanni Odaglio who started in the January 2012 batch a few questions that could be helpful to us new students. Below is the interview:

1. What did you find were the most essential items to pack when you had arrived on campus? (for instance did you realize you should have brought something that you didn’t)

The most essential items to pack were without any doubts the clothes and the IT stuff. After a few weeks due to the space that we have I realized that perhaps I brought to many shirts.

About this I have to say that in any case I was not too worried, my hometown is just 4 hours from Bluche so if I needed something I just drove back home for a weekend.

2. What items would you advise to buy at home and bring with? (or is everything pretty accessible)

I would say that everything is pretty accessible. Of course, I am not speaking about business suits and shoes. In particular for the girls I would advise to bring pretty shoes without heels for working in the market place for the first year. You can find them in Sierre but are expensive and not very good.

3. For the formal dress up; being a student already you know everything about it. What would you advise for us new students to bring in terms of quantity in order for us to be comfortable?

As I said before, I advise to bring with you comfortable business shoes. Sometimes you will have to work for 8/9 hours and without them it will be very hard.
About the numbers of items it depends on how many times you would like to do the laundry, which is pretty expensive. I brought ten white shirts and five business suits. I have to say that I never had problems about what to wear. (Remember, the white shirt can be washed by the school’s laundry)

4. How often do you have exams and tests?

HOI and HOII are divided in 2 practical weeks and 2 academic weeks. Basically every second Friday you will have exams on everything you have done. For the academic weeks, you will not have all the exams on Friday but you will still have on the second week, just in different days. For some practice, you will also have some theory exam on the second Thursday. (Usually during practice you will have 1 or 2 practical exam and 1 theory exam).

5. Lastly but certainly not least could you briefly describe your personal view on the nightlife and the activities to do in Switzerland.

What I can say is that you will not really understand what Les Roches nightlife is like until you live it. I just love the school, the campus and everything about it.

During the week most of the people are very quiet then, on Friday…crazy les Rochians.. Just remember that in Switzerland the life cost is higher than the rest of Europe so one night could cost a lot, in particular if you don’t have a car. (The way up with a cab costs around 30 CHF.)
About the activities, the school organize a lot of things, you just have to go in front of the market place and sign in which one you would like to participate.

Thank you very much Giovanni.
Goodbye is the topic that is fast approaching and it is difficult because I am extremely excited to start living the Les Roches way of life. On the other hand, I am also having to say goodbye to a lot of people that have always been a constant in my life. I realize that it will be difficult for many of us to say goodbye and it is a bittersweet feeling because there is so much Les Roches has to offer us and we will have a chance to build new memories with new people in a new place. I believe this definitely outweighs the sad part which is saying goodbye to the old and the familiar. For me, my family and community in Zimbabwe has always been my safety net that will now only be available via virtual communication. Yet I cannot help but still be excited. There’s always Christmas break to come home to…

Lake Kariba Sunset




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