French... and German?
We are really enjoying the ease of travel within Switzerland! With our Swiss travel passes and our understanding of public transport, it’s super easy (and incredibly affordable!) to pack a backpack of clothes and a backpack of groceries for a weekend away!
This past weekend was our first journey outside of the French-speaking part of Switzerland. And, it was a bucket list destination for Jack… Interlaken!
We rode a gondola up to the top of Jungfrau, visited the Ice Palace, and met other American TCKs on the train up the mountain! Our kids played in the snow and we ate our picnic lunch in the middle of snowy mountain peaks. It was an especially exciting trip, as Jungfrau is the mountain peak we can see most clearly from our apartment balcony.
Down in Interlaken, the trees were all changing colors and the cafés with open-air seating had blankets on each chair to keep us warm in the fresh air. Interlaken is in a German-speaking canton, but English was everywhere too (since it's a tourist destination). Our kids tend to stare at anyone speaking English now. They get so excited when they understand EVERY WORD someone is saying!
We’re so thankful for little breaks for our family - for time to make memories and be together. Travel will look very different in West Africa, so we’re making the most of our time now!
We experienced a beautiful winter and a beautiful fall - all in one day!
This week, we’re back to our normal schedule. And our normal language learning…
There are four official languages in Switzerland. The most widely spoken is German (more specifically, Swiss Allemand). The second is French. Then Italian and Romansh are spoken in tiny patches of southern and eastern Switzerland.
In French-speaking Switzerland, starting in year 5 (Lucy’s grade), the kids learn their first foreign language: German.
Lucy is jumping right in! She has a German textbook with all of the explanations and vocabulary lists in French. She is learning common phrases, the alphabet, and basic vocabulary in German along with her classmates. She loves the challenge and she’s enjoying reading the labels in the grocery store in multiple languages.
She has homework in French and German, along with beloved math (which makes us all breathe a sigh of blissful competency).
She also hears the train announcement in multiple languages, and the kids have memorized it!
Titus is doing really well with his language learning too! Here is some bus stop entertainment… How high can you count in French? (Listen to his accent! It's adorable!)