Hi there everyone! My name is Elaine and this is the beginning of my series of articles about going global!
Let me tell you a little bit about myself to kick this adventure off! I attend Valdosta State University as an American Sign Language/English Interpreting major. I will be a senior this year at VSU and love cheering on the Blazers! In my spare time, I love to pursue running, event photography, Pinterest, laughing with my friends and coworkers, and being outdoors either walking or hiking. I am a huge fan of McDoubles, Zacadoos sweet tea, and Wilma’s omlettes. I am a member of Her Campus Valdosta and am so excited that my chapter has given me the opportunity to share my adventures with you all! Let’s go!
Before my experiences about going global, let me share some background information on how I got here. Early in the Spring 2015 semester, I applied to a study abroad program in France through the University of Rochester. I interviewed with the head professor of the trip, Dr. Chastel, and was formally accepted into the program. Through this program in France, I will have the opportunity to study French Sign Language and French Deaf culture in Paris at a school, as well as travel around France to see different important schools and sites that have to do with French Deaf culture and history. We get to visit a few of your typical tourist sites too! The trip in France officially begins on May 31st and ends June 21st.
First however, I am visiting family friends in Switzerland! When my dad was in high school, he and his family hosted 3 different exchange students from Europe. Each student stayed one year. My dad and his family have kept in touch with each exchange student and have become close with them and their families. One student, Flavio, lives in Switzerland with his wife Andrea, son Danilo, and daughter Michela. Fortunately, Flavio offered to let me come stay with their family for a few days before my France trip, so I could get over jet lag, visit Switzerland, and have any of my questions about anything answered!
I took off on Thursday, May 22nd from Hartsfield -Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. My parents, Lee and Robin, and my younger sister, Megan, dropped me off at the airport. It was not an easy goodbye by I know that I will miss them terribly during my trip!
After taking off from Atlanta, I landed two hours later in New York and immediately took off again for Zurich, Switzerland. Flying international is so much fun! They provided blankets and pillows, as well as dinner and a light breakfast. I landed in Zurich the next day around 3pm and immediately headed to my temporary home at Flavio’s house! Flavio and his family live in a small village outside of Basel, and the view from their home is stunning!
(left to right: Michela, Myself, and Andrea)
After settling in to Danilo’s room (he is living in San Francisco, CA right now), Flavio took me down to Augusta Raurica, a museum and historical site near his village. This museum shares the history of the Roman city that once stood where Flavio now lives. Some of the ruins of the original city still exist throughout the current day city and we were able to walk around (and inside) to see the ruins. From the marketplace to the temple, to the theatre to Parliament’s headquarters, the interesting history of the former city was quite the display for my first day in Switzerland.
We also were able to stop by a local bike shop and grocery store. May I say that grocery shopping in Switzerland is VERY different from grocery shopping in the United States. Andrea goes shopping about every 2-3 days to pick up fresh produce, meat, bread, and pasta. The grocery store aisles are packed with fresh ingredients, most made or shipped in and stocked daily. Meat and seafood are hand cut for you by butchers. The cashiers sit down at the registers and you bag your own items. I have started to prefer grocery shopping in Switzerland to grocery shopping in the US!
This is all I can catch you up on for now! I am six hours ahead of most of you in the US. Thank you for reading and I can’t wait to catch you up some more on what I have been up to in Switzerland! As they say speak German in this part of Switzerland, let me say goodbye…Auf Wiedersehen!