Esther in Switzerland

Esther is a junior President’s Scholar majoring in communication studies in Meadows School of the Arts and management science in the Lyle School of Engineering. In fall 2011 she is studying in Switzerland, where she’s looking forward to exploring and learning more about the Swiss-Italian culture in the Ticino region where she is living. She also hopes to travel around Europe, meet new people and experience amazing things.

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Five weeks in Switzerland

Paddling at Lake Lugano

Switzerland: the home of cows, chocolate, clocks (watches), cheese, and, until mid-December, me. As of this week, I will have been in Switzerland for just over a month – and what a crazy and surreal month it has been so far.

Before I launch into all the things I’ve done since my arrival at the end of August, let me lay down some general information about the SMU-in-Switzerland program. SMU has a connection with Franklin College, an international college here in Lugano, a relatively small city in the Ticino, or Italian, region of Switzerland.

Just how close is it to Italy? A train can take you to the Swiss-Italian border in approximately 30 minutes. In fact, travelling to Milan is much easier and quicker than traveling to Zurich from here. In essence, the culture, language, and people here are much more Italian than one would expect of Switzerland.

Lugano is a fairly popular tourist site, known for its beautiful landscape and great hiking trails. Near downtown Lugano, benches and small shops line Lake Lugano, with picturesque mountains all around. Paddleboats and motorboats can be rented out for fairly cheap and serve as a great way to spend a lazy afternoon on the lake. The locals are friendly but reserved, as most Swiss appear to be. Overall, Lugano is a lovely, though mostly quiet city.

Of course, I’m here for more than just traveling and floating in lakes – I am also taking four general education courses. Franklin College is a fairly small four-year Swiss and American accredited college, with students from all over the world. Of an overall student population of just over 400, there are eight study abroad students this semester at Franklin, four of whom are from SMU. All of us study abroad students basically stick together, as we spend much of our time traveling as a group.

Though we are all quite busy with homework and classes during the week, we have been very purposefully using our weekends to travel as much as possible. To spare you the pain of too many details and my unending rambling, I’ve decided to show where all I’ve been through pictures, at least for this first blog. Thanks for reading!

Week 1

Mt. San Salvatore

Valle Verzasca

We hiked to the top of Mt. San Salvatore, which overlooks all of Lugano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study abroad students from SMU and other schools pose in front of a waterfall formed from glacier water in Valle Verzasca.

 

 

 

 

Week 2

In Gimmelwald

 

 

 

After a night’s stay in Interlaken, we spent over five hours hiking through a part of the Bernese Alps, overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

 

 

 

Week 3

Border between Italy and Switzerland

 

 

River separating Switzerland from Italy, with a bridge connecting Swiss Ponte Tresa from Italian Ponte Tresa, where there is a weekly farmer’s market on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

Week 4

At Lake Geneva

 

 

Standing in front of Lake Geneva, by the Olympics Museum near Lausanne.

 

 

 

 

Week 5

View of the Matterhorn

 

 

SMU study abroad students in Zermatt, with the Matterhorn in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside a glacier

 

Inside a glacier.

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