Hello friends! 6 countries, 24-ish cities (I lost track), and many a plane/train/boat/tube ride later, I am back in the good ol’ US of A. When I sat down to start writing about my whereabouts for the last two months, I realized that I never published this post I wrote wayyy in the beginning of my study abroad program… so I’ll leave you with this 6-weeks overdue update before I go on about how I ate my way through the rest of Europe 🙂
I’ve been in Geneva for just over two weeks now and it feels like we are already getting ready to leave. One month is not enough in this beautiful place, but at least there’s lots more excitement in store for me!
Geneva is in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Switzerland operates under a federal system much like the United States, divided into cantons that are each very autonomous – the four languages spoken in different regions of Switzerland are German, Italian, French, and Romansch. With French borders on nearly all sides of Geneva, we may as well be in France (but not actually, don’t tell the Swiss people I said that).
Some brief observations after two weeks here:
- There is a steady stream of attractive men in fitted suits that zoom around on motorcycles. Can’t complain.
- Everyone has a little dog. Like, purse-size.
- You can spot an American a mile away. We stick out like sore thumbs, especially when traveling in loud obnoxious groups.
- Except for the part where everyone smokes, the air feels fresher and the water that flows out of public fountains everywhere is delicious.
- A small cup of drip coffee (“Americano”) at Starbucks is $7. No joke.
Now, as I am here taking a class from an international law professor on International Conflict Resolution, I could bore you with details of all the fascinating IR stuff that I’m learning for the rest of the summer (“IR stuff” being a highly technical term…) I could tell you about the problems with the Minsk agreements mediated by OSCE in the Ukrainian conflict. I could tell you the difference between a truce, cessation of hostilities, ceasefire, and armistice. I could tell you about different kinds of terrorism, or launch into the history of the United Nations… I’ve learned so much about the world in just two weeks, but this is not your typical study abroad blog. So I’ll leave the international relations to the professors and do what I do best instead – talk about food.
In Switzerland, wine, cheese, and chocolate are basically their own food groups. I’ve soaked in so much over the last two weeks (including a weekend trip to Paris!), I’ll go into detail about some things I’ve learned about the Swiss and their food and wine culture in future posts. Stay tuned to hear about Raclette and Gruyere, my first (completely legal) wine tasting experience, Swiss restaurant etiquette, and more!