Lausanne Language Program 2019

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.

Lausanne – A taste of family life

This past February I went to Switzerland, to the town of Lausanne to study French for three weeks. While the classes were greatly beneficial, albeit quite difficult for me, the more memorable experience was the lifestyle I had while living there. I was lucky enough to meet a family – through my Aunt – who live about twenty minutes outside the city centre so I stayed with them for the three weeks I was there.

The Dad is dutch and the Mum is French so it probably wasn’t what you would call a typical Swiss experience, but it was lovely nonetheless. The three kids were aged 5, 11 and 12 and it was these three that really made the time so enjoyable for me.

Alyssa – the youngest – was studying ancient Egypt at the time, and she goes to an international school so in the afternoons I would help her with her presentation. We had so much fun learning about Tutankhamun and his tomb. She also showed me her skills in ballet. They pronounce the ‘t’ because they think it is how you say it in English, I tried to teach them that we use a lot of French words and so we pronounce them the same, but Alyssa couldn’t get her head around that idea.
Sarah, the eleven-year-old, was the first of the children I met. The day I arrived the other kids were away for the weekend so Sarah and I had lots of fun playing with her rabbits and going down the hill on their fancy BMW-branded sledge. Unfortunately, I was too heavy for the sledge and we lost control and hit a tree, breaking it completely, not a great start to my stay.
The oldest child, Tim, was a very much a boy. Always playing tricks on his sisters and parents and always keen for a wrestle. We had fun walking to his school one day and just having a chat.

Being the youngest child of four, I never had younger kids around me when I was growing up, so I never experienced the joy of being proud of younger siblings. My trip definitely changed this for me, though. I came away with a new family and three younger brothers and sisters.

I went to Switzerland hoping to improve my French and have a nice time away from the normal routine. And I certainly experienced both of those things. But the time I spent with my new family is a time I will never forget.

Matt van Geldermalsen

French Language – Lausanne July 2016

This July I visited Lausanne, Switzerland, to complete a three week intensive French language course at the local university. This was my first time overseas, and I loved every second of it. People from all around the world came to do this course, so while the purpose of this course was to learn about the French language and culture, we found ourselves learning about countries scattered all over the globe, the homes of our new friends.

Lausanne is a small but picturesque town, right on the shore of Lake Geneva. Our classes were held at the University of Lausanne, and after classes finished at midday we often took trips into the city centre to explore. One afternoon a group of us traveled for two hours to a neighbouring town, where we rode the Rodelbahn – a toboggan that weaves through the mountains, and was so so much fun.

I was lucky enough to live with an amazing Swiss native, who was kind enough to take myself and another housemate to a mountain in Geneva. We climbed to the top (they climbed, I died), and had an incredible panoramic view of Geneva, Nyon, and Lausanne. When we got home he then made us traditional Swiss fondue and we ate and drank and spoke French – I actually consider this one of the best days of my life, with great people and great cheese.

We had so many different experiences in Lausanne; watching an outdoor screening of the semi-final of the Euro Cup, stand-up paddle boarding on the lake, visiting the Olympic museum, and hiring a pedalo. We crammed an incredible amount of fun into those three weeks, and I would do it all in a heartbeat.

I learned more in three weeks than I can even begin to express, and much more than ever thought I would. I went on this trip to improve my French, but came back a different person (with slightly better French), and with entirely new views on the world. The photos I took don’t do this beautiful country justice, so I made a video to better capture the amazing time we all had.

Au revoir, Switzerland.

Steph Chenney

University of Lausanne – experiences at a Swiss University

Going on an UTS Build programme is an opportunity that should not be missed. You gain very good insights of the teaching style of your host university which might be very different to what you’re used to. I found the teaching of the intensive language course to be to be much more informal with the emphasis on ‘lifestyle learning’  e.g. learning the language using social media, social interaction in the foreign language, role-play, listening and singing.

In addition, you learn so much about the host country and its people by simply being in the country.  The people you meet will so often go out of their way to help you and explain and make things easier for you.  I went on an intensive language course to Switzerland for three weeks but there was still time to explore the country on weekends.  However, I learnt much more than language whilst I was there. There are so many intangible skills you learn when you go overseas, such as self- reliance and problem solving and self-confidence, and not least, mixing and interacting with people of a different culture.

Switzerland is a small compact country with friendly people.  In three weeks you can only get a taste of a country but it left me feeling that it’s definitely worth coming back to. It’s a very efficient country, everything is very orderly and punctual and they are very much into minimising environmental  pollution which is understandable given the spectacular scenery. However, it all comes at a price, with the cost of living in Switzerland being very high, especially food. By the way, the food is really good and very fresh and seasonal.

There is a very efficient train system in Switzerland linking up all the towns and cities. From one end of Switzerland to the other it’s hardly three hours. I was impressed that most train ticket collectors could speak four languages and would ask passengers for their tickets either in French, German, Italian or English.  Also, all the trains arrive and depart on time with three minutes late considered very poor service. Punctuality is a must in Switzerland. Never be late for anything! There’s no excuse either because in Switzerland, you don’t need a watch as there are clocks everywhere in the towns.  There can be easily fifty clocks per town which I helps people to be punctual.

All shops shut in Switzerland on a Sunday and Monday to Saturday after 5pm with almost no shops apart from restaurants open. At first, I found this inconvenient but later on I got used to it and actually started to enjoy a more leisurely Sunday. One of my best experiences in Switzerland, apart from the language course, was hiking around in the mountains, enjoying the stunning scenery, good weather and the mountain air.
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Eryl Roberts 11040173

French Language and Culture Study – Lausanne, Switzerland

Switzerland was well worth the aching behind, having sat on an aeroplane for what felt like a day, I was thankful to be greeted with such a warm welcome. Upon arrival we had
a man help my friend with directions on which bus to take to his student housing, and
a warm welcome from my hostess who came to greet me at Lausanne train station. The
kind gestures always seemed to come my way, my neighbour in my apartment offering
me slices of cake upon my first meeting with her.

I was fortunate to live just 10mins away from Lake Leman, and the view
from my apartment verandah was tremendously beautiful. Unexpectedly,
the summer in Switzerland was very, very humid, unlike anything I would
have expected from what I had assumed was a cold country.This sadly meant
having to take myself to swim in the local pool beside the lake, it was a
tough existence. If I didn’t go swimming, my friends and I would have picnics
in the park at Ouchy Olympique, and often treat ourselves with some tasty
ice-creams. The parks had such a friendly atmosphere, with families setting
up portable BBQs and stereos next to the lake. One afternoon, I happened to
see a group of people swing dancing, something that seemed unlikely to occur
out in public in my parks back home, but seemed to sum up the care-free,
relaxed nature of the Swiss French people during the summer holidays.

The people I met in my language course came from all around the world,
Russia, Syria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Argentina, Italy, Ethiopia, England,
and much more. I was fortunate to befriend a couple of guys who had lived
in Lausanne for some time and took me around the city one day as tour guides.
It was great to witness the Notre Dame Cathedral and visit the natural history
museum. Here is a photo of me posing next to the jaw of a whale, a size I couldn’t
quite believe! Then one of my friends shouted us lunch at the Chinese restaurant
where he works. All the while they speaking very good French, and me trying very
hard to understand them, but very good practice nonetheless.

I couldn’t quite get over the sheer beauty of Switzerland, for anywhere you looked
you would see flowers blooming. It occurred in boxes sitting upon windowsills in apartment blocks, at the railway station or along my walk to the university. The
vineyards, near Pully were particularly spectacular, but tobogganing at Oeschinensee surrounded by the snow-capped mountains was one of my favourite experiences.

Ending my trip trying fondue and raclette, particular cheese delicacies of the Swiss, was the best way to complete my overseas adventure. Delectable, and a few kilos heavier but
a very content soul, I sadly returned to the airport, prepared for the aches, but second time not so bad. Perhaps it was a result of the extra padding!

Pully Apartment Museum of Natural History Vineyards Four cheese fondue

Cours de Vacances – Switzerland 2016

I find myself now, back in Australia, thinking about and reflecting on my experience. At first, a few memorable moments come to mind; sitting by Lake Geneva, enjoying the sun with friends and food; enjoying the view from a cable car, as it slowly ascends a mountain; dipping my feet into an icy lake, well deserved after a long hike. The memories I’ve made, and the things I have experience have left me with this sense of completion. The trip was whole, nothing was left unfinished, and nothing left to regret not doing.

I remember feeling anxious on my first day at the University of Lausanne. I scanned the room, taking in the colourful detail of the other students around me as I wondered which ones I would become close to. We had a language assessment that day, it was engaging and highly interactive. Once classes had begun on the second day, friendships were quickly made. After class we would grab our things and hurry off on the metro into town to quickly buy the necessary items for a picnic. Each would bring something and as we shared what we had brought, and laughed in the setting sun.

The classes weren’t like regular classes. They weren’t stand and deliver but instead were very focussed on developing communication skills rather than memorising grammatical structures and vocabulary. There was a lot of opportunity for students to express themselves and develop a degree of comfort and fluidity to their speech. My class had students from all over the world. This provided an unparalleled insight into the lives and cultures of other students like myself. Some were older, with children that were sometimes brought into class, and others were younger, still in high school. The diversity of the classroom was one of my favourite aspects of the course. It encouraged us to go beyond in regards to communication, there was an increased emphasis on how to communicate rather than what we are communicating.

Of course this trip wasn’t just picnics and classes. I did take some time for myself to explore Switzerland and its culture. One weekend I left Lausanne and got the train to Geneva to stay for the weekend. There I went to see the UN at the Palais des Nations, the headquarters of the World Health Organisation and Doctors without borders, as well as the International Museum of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. This was all in one day as these locations are all close by, Geneva is a small city with a big global story. On the second day, I explored Geneva old town, saw the location where the Geneva Convention was signed, and enjoyed the landscape by the shore of Lake Geneva. Closer to Lausanne, I went to the Montreux Jazz Festival with some friends one weekend as well. After class one day, some friend and I got the train to Bern where we then got another train to Kandersteg. Here we went on some toboggans at the top of a mountain. This was a good day.

My experiences in Switzerland will stay with me forever, the friendships I made are strong and I hope I stay in regular contact with them. This BUiLD abroad experiences has broadened my horizons and opened my eyes to the wider world out there. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and I hope the skills I have picked up stay with me for life.

Hugo Franich – 98108780