It is hard to put in words the incredible experience that I’ve had at Our Chalet, but I’ll give it a try.
I have been in Guiding ever since I was 5 years old and grew up learning about WAGGGS and the World Centres, and being so inspired by the girls who would share their travel stories and wishing I could go experience everything I was being shown.
Back in 2010, I had the amazing opportunity to travel with my Ranger unit to Europe, where we spent 10 days at Our Chalet doing the summer session and then continuing on to spend some time in London at Pax Lodge. It was my first time ever travelling to Europe and being immersed in a culture completely different than my own. Ever since returning home from that trip I had dreamed of coming back.
Fast forward to 2016 – I had recently graduated from university from a Digital Design and Development programme and while looking for an internship it was brought to my attention that Our Chalet offers a Marketing and Communications internship position (which was exactly the type of job I was looking for!) and the deadline to apply was only a few weeks away! Without even questioning anything I applied, and to my surprise, a few months later I got the good news of being selected for the Autumn 2017 season! I had about 10 months to prepare for my adventure to the Swiss Alps!
August 30th 2017- Stepping off the bus at Adelboden Oey was a surreal moment. The best part was seeing the blue Our Chalet van and Nikki, the Deputy World Centre Manager for Operations, greeting me (I remember dragging my suitcase up the hill the last time I visited, so this was a nice treat!).
I was the last member of the Autumn 2017 team to arrive, but as soon as I went up to the attic in Spycher and met everyone, I felt immediately welcomed and it was almost like I had known them for a couple weeks already! I don’t know what I would have done without the support, love, and laughs from the Autumn team.
Being a Marketing and Communications Intern meant that I would spend most of my time in the office creating content for social media, editing photos, creating posters, updating flyers, and much more, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t have time to explore. I travelled around to over 10 different cities and towns in Switzerland, as well as got to join the Programme team on some hikes and day trips (I was in charge of taking all the photos during the trips!).
I tried traditional Swiss foods I would have never thought of eating (I am a very picky eater!) and did things that I would never have dared do while at home (such as paragliding, and waking up in the early hours of the morning to hike up and see the sunrise!)
This trip has helped me gain independence, confidence, and helped me learn a lot about myself, and about many different cultures. I have made friends for life, and made memories I will treasure forever! I am excited for the new and exciting opportunities that are to come in the future both in my personal life, and my guiding life.
Isla McCullough (Canada), Our Chalet Marketing & Communications Intern, Autumn 2017