By Lily Bendeich
I participated in the in-country language and culture course in Lausanne, Switzerland. This course consisted of three weeks of French language class from 9am-12pm, Monday to Friday, and was the focal point of our immersion into the everyday life of the unique French-Swiss culture in Lausanne.
On Arrival 27/1/19
Getting to Lausanne was not as easy as I expected it to be. Rowena and I had to wake up at 4am in order to get to flight on time, we then proceeded to miss out train by 30 seconds, lined up in the wrong line at the airport and on top of that I was feeling very unwell making the minor inconveniences seem major. When we finally arrived in Lausanne we were shocked to find that everything outside of the train station was closed but because we needed to get to our accommodation we didn’t end up buying any groceries. At the end of the day after finally finding some groceries our oven broke so we had to get someone into fix it, which was hard because my French was not good enough to communicate what was wrong however I was lucky to be with Rowena who really stepped up and handled the situation perfectly. I am writing this the next day looking out at a beautiful view of the Alps and I am feeling a lot calmer and a lot more hopeful about the rest of the trip here. Just because the first day isn’t what I expected it to be I’m glad I was able to navigate my way through it. I’m optimistic that I am going to have an amazing time in Switzerland.
Mid Course 5/2/19
I am officially half way through my time in Lausanne and I am loving my time here. Lausanne is definitely not what I expected it to be. I have been to many cities in Europe before and the feel in Lausanne is very different. It’s a lot quieter, more expensive and also cleaner than any other city I’ve been to before. I have found myself falling into a very nice routine here. I get up, go to class for three hours, go home, have lunch, do my homework, go for a run, eat dinner, then go out for drinks with friends. I’m somebody who loves routine so being able to feel comfortable enough in Lausanne to slip into a routine has been amazing. As for the course initially I was finding it extremely difficult. I was seriously behind the rest of my class in my ability to speak however I was ahead of most of the class with writing ability. However the more I attend class and the more I am forced to speak, I am finding the class a lot more enjoyable and can see some serious improvements. I am now able to confidently talk with locals in when attempting to buy or order food.
End of Course 15/2/19
When looking back over the three weeks I spent in Switzerland, I am very grateful for the skills it has taught me. For my professional career it has significantly improved my French, which will make me a greater asset to multi-national corporations and allow me to work with a more diverse range of people with a diverse range of opinions. It has also shown me that I can live and thrive in a different culture, which will allow me to live and work in more countries, opening me up to many more job opportunities. In my personal life it has taught me to be more tolerant of others who are speaking in their second language, to be self-sufficient and to better understand the issue of racism and the harmful role that communication plays in it. Overall I believe this experience has really changed me and I am very glad that I was given this opportunity.