Geneva Airport Finally Released Us!
Upon arrival at the Youth Hostel, our guide, Aline, placed five to six students in separate rooms. The photo up top is the view from our balcony!! I am staying in a room with five other girls, in bunk beds (it’s camp all over again). Their names are Shauna, Alain, Lauren, Aimee and Melissa. They’re from Pennsylvania, Florida, New York and Massachusetts. After picking our beds and situating our suitcases, our group was called to orientation downstairs.
This entire time, all of our group members are sweating profusely and looking for water everywhere–I think the humidity here is worse than DC in the summer! We were so excited to receive 344 Swiss francs as our stipend for August and most of September (from now on, I’ll denote it as CHF344)! Among other documents, we also got tax cards, train passes and our international student IDs. Our freedom arrived with the end of the short orientation, at which point I went walking around Lac Leman (known in English as Lake Geneva) with a group of girls, searching for a place to eat. The Jet d’Eau was a breathtaking contraption at first sight…so beautiful. We ended up eating at an Asian place, which made me feel as if we never left the USA. We explored downtown Geneva a little more extensively and then went home because we were absolutely exhausted!
I still haven’t experienced culture shock, and this is a little unsettling because I don’t feel as if I am in Geneva!
EXCLUSIVE: <–I want to have this section for facts pertaining to Switzerland as they differ from cultures I am familiar with.
The portions in Switzerland are no smaller than they are in the United States, but somehow the food is much more filling. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that genetically-modified food is prohibited in Europe.
It is frowned upon to leave food on your plate, which is one reason Americans are clearly distinguishable from other tourists.
Preservation of the environment is extremely important to the Swiss and is evident everywhere. Most restaurants and fast food chains do not leave trashcans accessible to customers: instead, they always provide customers with trays, which are placed on tray holders upon completion. That way, the company ensures that the waste is properly disposed of in recyclables and non-recyclable receptacles.