Zurich 2015

I had an absolutely fantastic time in Switzerland! Although it was short, I managed to cram in lots of exciting visits. It was my first time travelling abroad during the Christmas holidays – and I would definitely do it again! The travelling was one of the easiest parts, because the public transport is so reliable in Switzerland. Ironically, the most difficult part was getting home from the airport afterwards!

The cantons of Switzerland, represented in the ceiling of the Bundeshaus in Bern. 


My first full day was spent in Bern, the capital. My aunt (who I was staying with) gave me an amazing opportunity to have a tour around the Bundeshaus (Swiss parliament building), which few people get to see in such detail. I just really enjoyed seeing the beautiful interior and learning strange stories about the building.

Main entrance to the Bundeshaus. 


For example, in the curved Wandelhalle, there is a painting of the figure of Heavenly Justice. Her eyes follow you out the room! Also, all the British people in the paintings have red hair, and no one really knows why.

Display of a hundred candles outside the Bundeshaus.


I went to Konstanz, in Germany, to visit my exchange partner again and see the famous Christmas market. It was lovely to see – maybe the time to really see Germany looking beautiful is at Christmas! It was very cold, but the frost made everything even prettier. I even got to see a very cute kindergarten nativity play, but I didn’t expect Joseph to be wearing a Bavarian hat! It was amazing to see everyone again as well: it’s so great to have that connection with Germany.

Towards the end of the week, I had the chance to go to school with my oldest cousin. She is in Gymnasium, the Swiss equivalent of a high school. I can’t believe how tough the school system is! It starts very early in the morning – 7.10am on some days – and the lessons are much longer than I’m used to. The German literature lesson I attended was 2 hours long, but really interesting. The class were discussing a book I’d read so it was great to be able to take part. It was actually quite nerve-racking, because understanding the language was more difficult than I’d expected. I really enjoyed it though!

No visit to Zurich can be complete without a trip to the Lindt und Spruengli chocolate factory. The Christmas displays were absolutely magical and my suitcase was just loaded with treats when I came back.

Overall, I had a lovely time, and I really discovered how much I enjoyed travelling alone. I’m trying to accept as many opportunities I can while I’m at university, because I think it’s the best time to just agree and accept the consequences afterwards!

 

Advertisements

Hello Again!

I owe a massive apology to everyone who reads this. I’d love to say that I had “Blogger’s Block,” but really I just forgot to post. Anyway, I’m back now! And I certainly have a lot to write about.

I’ve just finished my first semester at the University of Glasgow, where I’m studying German, Italian and Comparative Literature (we compare books from different cultures on the same theme). I’m really trying to be positive about it, but it doesn’t stop me from doubting myself. It’s been a LOT tougher than I had expected, but my choice of subjects meant I only had one official exam – I can’t really complain, because it means I get a whole month off for my Christmas holiday!

I can’t write a post about starting university without mentioning the insanity that was Freshers Week! I’m a commuting student, which means I live with my parents, so I only went to a couple of evening events. I came second in the commuter students quiz (my specialist topic was Taylor Swift, and it was as embarrassing as it sounds)! Went to the ceilidh but everyone there was so wonderfully professional I was too scared to dance! I didn’t really stay long though, because my German introductory lecture was at 9am the following morning.

  
I didn’t really meet anyone I actually wanted to be friends with until my courses officially started. In my small German seminar alone, there are students from Spain, the Czech Republic, Finland and Greece. It’s absolutely wonderful! I can’t get my head around it sometimes.

It’s taken me a really, really long time to get properly settled in. I hated university at the start of the semester – which is part of the reason I left this post so late. I was just feeling really negative about the whole thing, finding it not just challenging, but impossible. I’ve discovered that meeting people really helped however: university coursework shouldn’t be struggled over alone! My Italian study group meet in Italian cafes around the West End, and we usually order in Italian (much to the delight of the staff)! I think I might finally be finding my feet here.

  

The campus is pretty amazing too. Although most of my lectures are in the boring, 1970’s blocks that they don’t show on open days, wandering around the old part is about as close as I’ll get to Hogwarts!

Overall, the past 11 weeks (the semesters are so short!) have been the most eye-opening, terrifying but completely awesome times of my entire life. I really owe an apology to everyone who put up with my complaints! 

 Tomorrow I set off for Switzerland, as a celebration that my exams are over (and a chance to practice my German)!