Category Archives: St. Gallen, Switzerland

Students studying at Universität St.Gallen (HSG)

St. Gallen Blog #9

It’s hard to believe my semester in Switzerland is rapidly coming to a close. Frankly, it feels like the semester has flown by packed with travels within Switzerland and around Europe as well as classes and new friends here in St. Gallen. Even though I have roughly three and a half more weeks before I come back to the United States, I thought I would take the opportunity to outline what I will miss the most about living in Switzerland because I am going to miss my life here a lot more than I thought I would when I first arrived in February:

St. Gallen: Pre-Departure Entry

Guten Tag!

Although I have a little under a month until I leave for Switzerland, studying abroad this semester is starting to finally feel pretty real. Being away from UVA and McIntire for an entire semester can seem a little intimidating, but I know the experiences I will have in Europe far outweigh the cons of being gone. During the semester, I expect to meet a variety of international exchange students from different continents and as well as many Swiss students. While I have been to Switzerland before on vacation, this experience will be the first time that I will interact with Swiss people on a daily basis in both academic and social contexts.

St. Gallen: Pre-Departure

My only goal  for my time in St. Gallen is to have a ton of fun. However, when I think about that goal I know it has many components, three of which are: making new friends both Swiss and international, fully immersing myself in the Swiss culture, and making the most of my learning opportunities. I know that if I try to achieve each of these smaller goals there is no doubt I will have an amazing time in Switzerland.

Finally Home? In Virginia?

Now that I’ve returned…it’s odd. It’s weird just clicking back into normal routine with a job, everyone speaking English, not seeing the people I used to see everyday, everything unfortunately becoming somewhat of a dream. But its good! I’m happy to be back to see family and friends! And it’s time to get back to my real life here in America.

Almost done?

          So I leave Switzerland in a few days! Its crazy! I’ve enjoyed my time so much here. I cant believe thats its already over. Exams have finished up well and I hope to finish a paper to be completely done soon.
          It’s extremely bittersweet to be leaving here. The past two days have been very friend orientated making it a ton of fun, but in the back of my mind I can’t stop thinking about the fact that its coming to an end. The weirdest thing about it is that I know the exact time and date that all of this will become a memory. It’s slightly terrifying to me. I will return and everyone will expect everything to be the same about me and for me to just click back into my normal routine. But, I’ve changed. I’m not sure how I’ve changed. But I know I’m different. I’m worried about the readjustment back in Virginia. I’m even more worried about this all just becoming something of a dream. But overall, making the jump from extremely independent, doing anything whenever, traveling to places by myself, taking care of myself, etc. to being a daughter again in my parents’ home for the summer. While I am happy to be keeping busy, I am also sad because I will need to put my mind to the tasks at hand and continue moving forward, even if it seems weird to leave all this behind.
           That seems to be one of the largest lessons I’ve learned since being here. At this age, everything moves so fast, everything changes, everything seems so circumstantial, even to the point of seeing some people ever again. We’ve grown so much more connected through different opportunities of travel and the internet. But, I still can’t be with most of these people ever again. The people I’ve met here have been the highlight of the semester. I have to come to terms with the fact that I won’t see most again as they are apparently only supposed to be in my life for a time and I have to continue moving forward.
          I don’t want to share much of this experience with my friends or family. It would be hard to articulate and I think the way they would receive my explanation, even if I tried to tell them about it, would bum me out because they still just wouldn’t quite get it even though I would have loved to experience it all with them. I’m sure I’m just overthinking it though. I will give it a shot. I’ll tell them about the people I’ve met and the things I’ve seen through pictures, but I think thats about all.
          What do I plan to do with my experience…well I’m not sure. I hope to stay in contact with some of the people I’ve met and have one or two of them visit me in America. Maybe I could visit them as well. But, overall, I will probably only be able to carry the experience with me, keep in touch with those I met, and hopefully travel more and go visit those I’ve met in their home countries.
           That’s something. Traveling was never a huge deal to me. Especially being American, I feel like we all just travel abroad and then come home and continue on our life in America because America is the best. I think I am now more open to and excited to travel, but really not that much. It’s more about the people I am traveling with. Again, I won’t really miss the places, I’ll only miss the people I traveled to the places with.
          I think I will continue trying to learn German. I’m not totally sure because even though I took two German classes here, neither of them count for the German minor at UVA. So I really might have to give it up in order to pursue everything I want to in McIntire. This would only happen academically though. I would still try to read books in German and speak in German with my friend.
          I probably won’t return to Switzerland. While its nice, I think it wouldn’t be the same because all the people that made this place so special will be absent. This place had its time in my life, a very important time in my life. But, that time is over and I need to move on. I may return because I have a great Swiss friend, but he lives in Basel, so I probably won’t return to St. Gallen.
          Overall, I’ve loved my experience here. As the days have dwidled down, I’ve only come to appreciate it all the more. I wish I could have done a whole year here though. Four months was definitely not enough.

Pre-departure Entry

****Predeparture post: I am publishing this now because I saw that it wasn’t published before. I had technical issues with getting onto this site, so I emailed this to Mr. Wilcox-Elliot at the right time, at predeparture, and he said he would go ahead and upload it onto the site for me until I got the site working for me. But, I haven’t seen it put up so I thought I would just go ahead and put it up.****

My top three goals for my semester abroad are to meet as many interesting, different people as possible, get comfortable being outside my comfort zone, and take risks to learn as much as I possibly can.

Half-way through?!

I’m still alive in St. Gallen, woo! I’m half way through and can’t believe it. I just booked my plane ticket home and its very odd that I will be leaving this place and probably won’t be coming back.

One month and one day down!

So I’m going on a month here and am in disbelief that it has been so long! It’s been wonderful and really something I will never forget.

So, how am I adapting to the new culture…Honestly, its not that different. People are busy, people are doing school work, people are partying, etc. The largest barrier is the language. Actually, that and the amount of kisses on the cheek. The Swiss do 3 sometimes and others do 2 and others 1. I feel like those have been my most awkward experiences, when I do them incorrectly.

Quite an interesting adventure!

Well, I’m glad I finally made it! I didn’t think February 6th would ever come, but alas it has come and gone. Traveling on my own for the first time was definitely interesting! I made it to Zurich and found the right train luckily and made it to St. Gallen. Unfortunately, I made it to St. Gallen at 8ish in the morning on a Sunday…so everything was closed, no one was out and I was on my own to find my apartment and the university office to get my apartment key without a map or cell phone service!