For the handful of you who have been following this blog for a while, you know that, last year, I studied abroad in Switzerland for eight months. It’s been eight months since I left the Geneva airport for the last time, and I’ve been pretty nostalgic these past few days (all the Swiss Instagram accounts I follow are probably fueling this nostalgia with their winter wonderland-like pictures of the Alps and the cute Swiss towns). So to try to cure my nostalgia, here are a few things I miss about the country of Switzerland.
Ending my abroad experience in Switzerland has arguably been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure. I’ve only been gone for three days, and for some reason I already miss the sound of the trains rushing by and the ridiculously expensive food that constantly had me checking the balance of my bank account.
I’ve realized that I can’t glance out my window and see the French Alps across the lake. I’ve realized that my default foreign language of French is no longer helpful. I’ve realized that all the customs that shocked me at the beginning are ones that I’ve grown to love. I’ve realized that I can’t just hop on a train with my half-pass and voie 7 and travel to basically any country in Europe.
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The Christmas vibes in Switzerland are completely different than those in the U.S. Back home, there are Christmas lights on every building and Christmas music playing all the time. In Switzerland though, if any place is completely decked out in lights and blasting Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” it’s very “American”. But don’t get me wrong – the Swiss definitely know how to get into the Christmas spirit. They have a place so filled with Swiss Christmas spirit, it feels like Santa and his elves are right around the corner: the Montreux Christmas market.
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I’ve officially started my study abroad experience. I’ve been in Switzerland for six days. Six whole days. I’ve officially been studying abroad in Switzerland for six whole days. And it’s been amazing. Lake Geneva, locally known as Lac Léman, is one of the most picturesque areas I’ve ever seen. The food here, especially the bread, is amazingly delicious. However, there are still some cultural differences that take a little getting used to. I’d been to Europe before and noticed the obvious cobblestone streets and ubiquitous smokers, but there were a few aspects of the culture that I’ve only noticed now that I’m living here.