I have always loved traveling, partly because of the experience to encounter scenic landscapes, the sound of gurgling creeks flowing with clear waters, meeting new people and getting to know their history and experiences; and partly because of the thrill I get whenever I embark on another traveling expedition. Except for the packing part, traveling is an awesome experience. Traveling to another country and spending more time than a tourist would is, however, another totally different scenario altogether. I have traversed my country and some few countries abroad, but just for some few weeks, at most a month. Traveling to Switzerland for my studies will be a new challenge.
From experience, I always struggle with new climatic conditions and erratic weather patterns. I usually find it difficult coping with chilly conditions, in most part just putting on normal clothing except when mum reprimands with warnings of asthma attacks. I am accustomed to our local cuisines and delicacies and the thought of having to do without them and for such a seemingly long period of time is a bit huge to stomach. Since I am a sociable person, I imagine how it will be like not knowing how to communicate with the people in my new surroundings given the language barrier.
Despite the challenges, ingenuity will always win the day. Luckily the weather and climatic conditions in Lausanne are not that forbidding; they are fairly friendly with warm, rainy, hot and dry months well distributed throughout the year. As for the language barrier, I will take it as a challenge and a worthy experience to add another language into my cap. I have already embarked on learning the Swiss language, food, and culture by watching video clips and reading books, just to acclimatize with the new surroundings.
Being an international student exposes one to a whole set of new circumstances that can and will be confusing at first. But with time one somehow learns to get along. Everybody would think that you are interesting and would come and talk to you. They are all too eager to hear about your culture and lifestyle. They will be fascinated at what and how you say things and your somewhat different pronunciation of words. You will be some sort of celebrity, but just for a while. They think they know you from the brief media stories they read or watched about your country, and they will be disappointed when they learn that you are not really their imaginations, you are not that exotic, you are just normal like anyone else. The mark of your strength as an international student lies on how you handle this first overwhelming interest in you.
Aside from the interest, there is the local culture of the people with which to be accustomed to. Lausanne culture is quite diverse, ranging from the diverse artistry to foods. It is this diversity that I find most exciting and intriguing as I get to learn deeper into the different cultures in the land. With the help of some few Swiss friends, I intend to explore more about the local culture and embrace its diversity. I intend to take part in some of the festivals and visit museums and art galleries so as to learn more about the cultures of the people.
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