First Sights

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Sitting atop one of the cannons that fired in 1803 to celebrate Napoleon’s departure from Geneva, marking the birth of the Swiss Confederation.

For breakfast, visitors at the Youth Hostel have a choice of cereal, yogurt, granola, bread, butter and jam. Despite the lack of choices, I found that all of the options were healthy and tasted good. Coffee, hot chocolate and orange juice were also offered. The first task of the day was to walk to the SIT office–it’s only seven blocks away–so we could explore the building and finally get a taste of what the rest of the semester is going to be like. The office is on the sixth floor of a small office building with an elevator that holds a meagerly three people, and a spiral staircase (none of which are socially acceptable in the United States). The office consists of a conference room, a classroom, a kitchen and offices for our two professors, homestay coordinator and academic counselor. The classroom is where we conducted our orientation session and where our International Studies Seminar and Field Work Study classes are going to be held. The classroom leads in to a balcony which has a view of Gare Cornavin (the main station in Geneva) and more importantly, of curious passersby who would crave being stared at during future breaks in our classes.

Following the info session, our group met for lunch at the Restaurant Manora, a restaurant on top of a six-level mall which serves delicious buffet food. Once we had dined, our group experienced a guided tour of Old Geneva, the gorgeous waterfront that is always behind the Jet d’Eau whenever its picture is being taken. We met our tour guides in front of the cannons that fired off in the 1810s, marking Napoleon’s departure from the city of Geneva and effectively removing it from French control and placing it within Switzerland’s borders. I sat on top of one of the cannons, pictured above! Some of the landmarks that we saw included the house in which Rousseau was born, Calvin’s church and the Reformation Movement.

Have you ever been able to say, “I swam in Lake Geneva” with a straight face? Well now I can! I swam in the lake with about 20 other group members and I doubt that I have ever swum in anything so clean before! The lake is so refreshing but the currents are pretty rapid so it is important to conserve some energy when swimming to ensure a safe return trip.

Dinner was held at Il Fornello Napoletano, an Italian restaurant, and we all had the chance to order as much as we wanted because SIT was paying for everything! I think it goes without saying that my table of seven ordered three appetizers, a main course each that none of us finished and desserts which we shared amongst ourselves (some even ordered two dessert dishes!) We were too stuffed to do anything of any limited productivity for the rest of the night.