Here is the report of my experience in Zurich for anyone interested in knowing the various aspects of the study abroad experience.
I hadn’t prepared in any extensive manner. I was provided with ample support by the study abroad teams at UZH and Southampton. Generally, a few emails would resolve anything that arose. Occasionally, I’d worry about how I’d manage the finances but trusted that I’ll find a way when the time comes. And soon I was on my way. It wasn’t long or arduous before I arrived in Zurich, nor was it so while I was there.
The housing office had allocated me a room before I’d arrived. The process of acquiring a place was relatively simple. I arrived at the flat to find a room with plenty space and natural light. Soon I was greeted by Jeanne, a flatmate of mine. It wasn’t long before I met the others and we began cooking, sharing food and stories. I was fortunate to have kind flatmates. While I was here, I felt comfortable and grateful. Before arriving I had wondered what living in Zurich would be like. When I arrived at the accommodation, I forgot the question and smiled at my good fortune. The entire chapter was effortless and harmonious in its unfolding.
The university was beautiful. And held deeply fascinating and diverse modules. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take some of them since I couldn’t speak German. But those that I could take in English have sparked conversations I’ll keep having. In particular I was affected by lectures on Islamism by Elham Manea. She delivered them with such an infectious passion. I also enjoyed lectures on Post-colonialism very much. I learnt Sanskrit and studied the Upanishads, which was deeply fulfilling. In all these cases, I didn’t know what I’d learn but followed my enthusiasm and found myself pleasantly surprised. I did find there to be a learning curve, adjustment and time required to learn about how things worked here. I had to give many presentations and the essays much longer, Southampton, which took some time getting accustomed to. This period of adjustment lasted a while but the process itself inspired self development. All in all, I will remember my time spent at the university, the conversations and friendships very fondly. It was a truly enriching experience.
Prior to arriving I’d wondered about how expensive Zurich is. Would I manage? However life in Switzerland has been a beautiful. I was immediately struck by how unbelievably beautiful the country was. The mountains, forests, lakes often left me speechless. The transport system is excellent, so getting to and from places was a painless affair. The country and the cities are both relatively small. This gives one a very homely feeling. Everything works as expected. When I wasn’t out exploring, I often attended music concerts at Moods and Tonhalle. It was wonderful. I didn’t eat out as much because of how expensive it was but instead cooked with a newfound joy. I met many people from around the world in different walks of life. Pier, a flatmate of mine, would often cook pasta while we all laughed and shared stories. I will miss the sweetness of days
I am deeply pleased with my experience. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to feel myself as part of this invigorating university and beautiful city. The challenges of moving to a new city are filled with potential for greater growth. I am grateful for this opportunity and wish it for students like me.
When the time had come for one of our flatmates to leave, my friend Chiara made everyone a bookmark with our picture. With the picture every bookmark had a unique quote. Mine said, “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t met yet – Yeats”.
This is certainly true in my experience.