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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds[WATER LAPPING] Like an island in the heaving seas, placidly lies Switzerland surrounded by storm. Not to be devastated by bloodshed or war, this word of honour was given by all. Switzerland, the island of peace, helps those who are in need, with care for war orphans and fugitives, with information about missing persons, with repatriation of evacuated people. Those are only a few of its charitable acts.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsDuring World War I, postcards with stylised statements like these formed the image people had of Switzerland.

When I am thinking of Switzerland...

In this short animation you can see two historical postcards, from 1916 and 1917, respectively. Using the imagery of an island that is – obviously – not based on the geographic reality of Switzerland, these postcards aim to depict a positive role of Switzerland in Europe in turbulent times.

Starting from these pictures, we invite you to reflect on the following two questions at the beginning of our course on ‘Switzerland in Europe’:

  1. What comes to your mind when you think of Switzerland today? Are your connotations positive or negative? If you wish, you can draw a picture or create another piece of art capturing images that you personally link to Switzerland. Make a photograph of your work and upload it on Padlet in order to share it with other learners.
  2. Against the background of your personal image of Switzerland, why have you opted for this course?

Even if you do not upload a work please leave your answers as a comment. We suggest also that you ‘like’ the contributions of other learners or answer them. We are looking forward to reading your thoughts!

Please note: we are aware of the fact that the starting point for this discussion might be different for learners who are from Switzerland and those from other countries. Nevertheless, we trust that all of you will find a useful approach to deal with the above questions.

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This video is from the free online course:

Switzerland in Europe: Money, Migration and Other Difficult Matters

University of Basel

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