Week 1: Touchdown Lausanne

And so it begins! I am now in Lausanne, Switzerland: the city that is to be my home for the next two years. My arrival was such a rush. I remember walking through the Geneva airport with the biggest smile on my face as I asked myself, are you really doing this Adam, really? Studying abroad two years ago was safe and easy. There were program leaders to help me with all of my needs. They arranged my living situations and met me at the train station. I was only in France for a little over 3 months and never felt like there would be any problems if I couldn’t figure out the culture or language. Well, training wheels are off this time, and now, the first task is to get from the Geneva Airport to my temporary student housing in Lausanne. If how the following hour and half was any indication of how smoothly my time is going to be in Switzerland, things are going to be great! I managed to find my way to the train station, get on the train, and then take a taxi to the dormitories. I chatted with the driver on the 15 minute ride from the train station and it went really well. I had expected a violent and abrupt transition to speaking French again, but it all happened rather effortlessly. To boot, the taxi driver guessed that I was Italian based on my look. Yes!! My room was still being prepared when I arrived, so I dropped off my baggage and walked towards the university. I had 3 hours before my first intensive French class, so I decided to give myself a walking tour of the campus. I also treated myself to an espresso, of course.

First EspressoOne observation that I had as I was seated enjoying my café was that there was a fresh produce market in the main quad. Not only that, but beside it was a cheese stand that had at least 30 different styles of cheese and even the large cheese wheels that were at least a foot in diameter! You know, for those days where the rigor and stress of classes can only be remedied with 40 pounds of cheese.

All the students in my French class are very nice. To my surprise, I am the only non-European student. Others are from Austria, Italy, Germany, Poland, Portugal, German-speaking Switzerland, Sweden, and Turkey. When not in class, they all prefer to speak English which I find to be pretty interesting. This first week we’ve reviewed the past tense. It may seem pretty simple, but there are two different past tenses in French (okay, in reality there are eight different past tenses, but two really common ones), and when to use one or the other is not always the easiest decision.

There were plenty of other sights and sounds, but I am going to roll those into the next two posts to come. Stay tuned dear readers!