By Chakshu Sharma
Outdoor or Indoor?
Switzerland is generously blessed with beauty. Beautiful buildings, landscapes, cities and even serene little towns. Zurich, Zermatt, Geneva, Interlaken, Basel, Soglio and Guarda – to name a few – are all Swiss locations enjoyed by tourists from around the globe. People love the mountains. They go there to ski, get some down time from work, on honeymoons and to enjoy wholesome family holidays. Within Switzerland, schools close for holiday season four times a year. How best does one enjoy this vacation time?
Certain areas are frequently visited by particular communities. For example, in the 21st century the trend has been that Interlaken is popular among Indian and Arab tourists, whereas Zermatt is loved by the Chinese. In fact, Interlaken is particularly popular among Indians because a large number of Bollywood films were filmed in the area. On the other hand, certain places are preferred by the local Swiss population, to dodge the vast volume of international tourists perhaps?
Read about the love affair between Bollywood and Switzerland here.
How the Wave of Tourism to Switzerland Began:
The Swiss government may encourage international tourism, but many Swiss people hold strong reservations against tourism on account of the heavy environmental impact. It wasn’t too different back in the day, when Queen Victoria marked Switzerland as a soothing vacation spot about a hundred and fifty-two years ago! She lived in the Pension Wallis Hotel (re-named to the Victoria Jungfrau), a fairly simple accommodation that had been completely booked out just for her, closed off to the public. There were several Swiss people who complained about having been shut out, but their concerns remained largely unheard and did not amount to much. However, this cemented Switzerland’s image as a tourism hub. Things have only flourished exponentially ever since. Switzerland economy is sizably endowed through tourism each year.
Staying Outdoors in Switzerland, The Playground of Europe
Skiing and other outdoor activities like hiking, stargazing and alpinism are deeply ingrained in local Swiss culture. It is called ‘the playground of Europe’ for good reason. School vacations (4 in a year) are designed in a manner to cleverly ensure revenues all year long even during off season. To keep the pressure off local establishments and to balance out revenues for tourist enterprises like ski stations, hotels, inns, cafes and restaurants. Having said this skiing has a sizeable impact on the ecology. From emissions and energy consumptions of the ski lifts to disturbances caused to the biodiversity. Global warming will quite noticeably impact snow formation and skiing prospects. Therefore, integrating sustainability into tourism and activities like skiing is pivotal. Switzerland is already in action mode regarding this, with a solar powered ski lift in Safien valley. But at the same time, school budgets for skiing holidays are taking a hit. How does one, then channel the energy and inclination of the younger generation to play and stimulate themselves? Not to mention the global COVID-19 outbreak, the reasons to stay indoors really are undeniable.
Education and Learning for Children in Switzerland
‘The playground of Europe’ is heavily frequented by children of all ages as well, and yet again the question arises for families travelling in Switzerland with their young ones: How do we keep our children entertained while also ensuring the grown-ups enjoy some much-needed holiday time? What are some ways to make holiday time truly productive, access genuine learning experiences for the kids? To engage deeply with the history, culture and innovative practices of a place? Lastly, but definitely not least important, to have some good old fun!
We have an answer to all the above questions and more.
Watch our video on microlearning and bite-sized knowledge:
An Outcome of Being Indoors
What if you stay indoors during vacation? There is a need to fight the widespread addiction to video games in young Swiss people (33.9% of all Swiss people are gamers and video game addiction has been recognised as a mental health problem in the country). A solution is to practice meditation or the Western appropriation: mindfulness.
Watch our video on the difference between meditation and mindfulness:
Staying Indoors and The Potential of ‘Gamification’
At their core, games and playfulness are perfectly natural, human inclinations. The question is of how this inclination is used. To create addictive and immersive games without any real-world applicability? Or to use this human instinct to create engagement and catalyze learning. What I am hinting at is ‘gamification’ of learning courses. At SLX learning, we use the process of gamification in the pursuit of education and knowledge accumulation. Not just in the virtual world (our free online courses) but also through events and real-world, immersive experiences. These experiences are tailored to help realise nuances in the places you visit. Experience spaces and cultures from within as opposed to predictable and banal touristic expeditions.
Watch our video on games: their history, the present and what the future holds:
What You Can Do:
While still on the theme of vacations and holidays, the questions of sustainability and productive virtual engagement still stand. These exact questions are being addressed by a dedicated and diverse team of ed-tech developers in Fribourg, Switzerland. SLXlearning is a platform dedicated to bringing Swiss quality education to the globe. With sustainability as one of its driving factors, SLX uses disruptive media to attain its goals. If you are interested in life-long learning or teaching in an inclusive environment, SIGN UP to our platform.