My life as a Housemistress at Beau Soleil

Posted on 19th Nov 2021 in School News, Switzerland

Caroline Davies, Housemistress in Deux Chalets boarding house at Beau Soleil in Switzerland, gives a personal account.

Without doubt, life is all about experiences. Our past experiences shape the person we are today. Our new experiences can shape the person we become. A new experience is something that we haven’t tried before, something which opens our senses and mind to new adventures and ways of thinking.

Moving your family half way around the world in order to take a new job as a housemistress in Switzerland, certainly constitutes a new experience and has certainly provided both myself and my family with lots of fantastic, new opportunities.

Of course, with change comes a certain amount of trepidation; not knowing the routines, not knowing the staff or your colleagues, not knowing the pupils and simply not knowing the buildings can prove extremely daunting. Half a term in, I have been asked to reflect on my experiences as a new housemistress here at Beau Soleil.

Having the opportunity to work in a co-educational boarding house presented a new challenge for me and it was one that I was keen to explore. Deux Chalets is the only co-educational boarding house on campus and up until this year, I had only had the good fortune to be a housemistress in an all-boys boarding house as well as a housemistress in an all-girls boarding house. The opportunity to work with both boys and girls simultaneously has not disappointed and although the experience is different, the relationships with the students remain the same. Every day in Deux Chalets is different and it has been really lovely getting to know all of the students over the course of the last few weeks. We cannot underestimate the importance of relationships and it is these relationships that are integral to the success of a boarding house and ultimately a boarding community.

For me, working in a boarding house where 21 nationalities are represented is a fantastic opportunity to share a variety of viewpoints and experiences as well as celebrate cultural diversity. Such diversity offers us a global outlook on so many topics. Multiple voices, perspectives, and personalities bouncing off one another can give rise to great discussions and the Deux Chalets Common Room and Office are often home to some very interesting conversations and debates. Without doubt, it is this diverse talent-pool that makes Deux Chalets such an exciting place to both live and work.

This diversity is not confined to simply to students and I have welcomed the opportunity to work with a really amazing team of people. Closer to home, I work with an extremely talented and enthusiastic house team and the support of Adam, Nick, Lauren and Amelia has been very much appreciated over the last few weeks. Coming together as a team does not happen overnight, but I am delighted that all of our strengths compliment one another so well. Working in boarding is most definitely a way of life and not a 9-5pm job, so having a supportive and happy team around you makes a massive difference and the pupils are able to benefit hugely from this positive working environment. The tutors also add another dimension to boarding and without them, we would not be able to work as effectively as we do. Each tutor brings their own strengths and personality and it is this inclusive environment that promotes opportunity, talent and celebrates individualism.

Here in Deux Chalets we openly promote the idea that to earn respect, we need to give respect and ultimately it is this concept that underpins everything we strive to achieve. Valuing everybody’s contribution is integral to fostering an environment of mutual respect and I hope that each and every member of Deux Chalets community recognizes this.

So to conclude, when we put ourselves out of our comfort zone and open ourselves up to new experiences, positive things happen in our lives.

Do not let fear stand in the way of trying something new. Whether it’s travelling to a new country or trying a new hobby. New experiences allow you to broaden your horizons and live a fulfilled life. I can honestly say that my first impressions here at Beau Soleil have been very memorable and I am excited to see what the future holds.