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Abroad in Switzerland: Taking Chances

Today, March 17th, marks my “month-iversary” as an exchange student at the Université de Genève. During the past two weeks, I have immersed myself in a new city, a new culture, and a new university with very different customs than what I am used to. However, in the past two weeks alone, I have learned much more about myself than I ever thought I would.

I learned that I adapt quickly to new situations that I find myself in. The changes in lifestyle, friends, and time zone have not been as big of an issue as I first thought it would be.  I am now very comfortable in my twelve by two meter dorm room and I am getting along really well with the other girls on my floor. I can even explain the Geneva bus and tram system to a tourist. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.

More seriously, I realized that making the decision to go on exchange in the first place wasn’t one that was a hundred percent settling. The applications for exchange were in fact due when I was finally beginning to get comfortable at McGill and in Montreal itself. So, deciding to pack up and leave for a semester to do it all over again was an uncomfortable thought I had to reconcile up until the day I left for Geneva. But that’s just it. Despite my excitement for this adventure to commence, it made me uncomfortable, and if I’ve learned anything the mere two weeks I’ve been here, it’s that doing what is uncomfortable is sometimes what is necessary.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not condoning every single action that makes you uncomfortable or uneasy. The last thing I want is a tragic story of roof bungee jumping gone wrong on the grounds of my “adventurous” and “YOLO” advice. What I am saying is do something that places you in a situation where you have to challenge yourself in a positive way, a situation where you have to push yourself to know your limits in a social or academic realm. This can be in the form of an exchange, taking on a new hobby, or just introducing yourself to the person sitting next to you in class. Nothing is easy, and things rarely get easier. Many times we will have to do things that make us nervous or make us feel scared. But if you don’t take chances, we’ll never really know who we are as individuals, as well as our strengths and weaknesses. But if you do, you don’t regret it. 

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