Ten days into my program and I feel like I’ve already done so much here in Switzerland. This past week I had orientation at UNIL (Université de Lausanne), my first sport law class, the first (of many) excursions, visited the botanical garden and spent a day at Lake Geneva.
With only a month in Switzerland and class Monday-Thursday, I definitely feel some pressure to get the most out of my time here, which means that there are lots of adventures and little downtime. It’s extremely important to find a balance between adventure and downtime because there have already been times on this trip where Netflix or a book sounded like a great way to spend an hour or two. Definitely, don’t worry if you don’t have every minute of every day planned out. Something that I’ve really enjoyed so far on this trip is how flexible everyone in my program is. We rarely wake up with plans for the day but somehow, we always find something new to see or experience. Most of my memories so far on this trip have started off as us wandering the city and stumbling upon something really fun to do or see!
During our month in Switzerland, my class is meeting at UNIL for class Monday-Thursday. UNIL is a much smaller campus than UT but is just as beautiful. I’d call UNIL a green campus not only because of the trees and flowers surrounding the buildings and facilities, but also because the university makes an effort to recycle, compost, and even uses sheep as lawnmowers. (Honestly, my favorite part about going to class is seeing all of the sheep roam around and do their jobs by eating up all of the grass!) The next best thing about UNIL besides the beautiful buildings and cute sheep are the cafeterias. There are multiple cafeterias on campus, which means that with just a small walk, you are able to find a variety of meals for lunch. Usually, my lunches consist of a ham sandwich and some pretzels, so you can understand how pleasantly surprised I was when I had the option to order pulled pork, fresh green beans, and mashed potatoes for lunch, all for about 10 CHF.
After arriving in Lausanne, I was pretty nervous about my first-class day. I was so in love with all the adventures that filled my first few days in Switzerland and pretty much forgot that the reason I traveled here was to learn. Of course, sport law seemed interesting to me but I felt like it’d be a class that would solely consist of memorization of difficult concepts and complex definitions. After our first-class meeting, I can without a doubt say that my class couldn’t be more different from this. My professor, Dr. Hunt, encourages participation in the classroom, which means that we’re often working through our ideas and applying concepts that we’ve learned in small groups and then working through big problems together as a class. The first day we learned about negligence and instead of just reading through a PowerPoint filled with definitions, Dr. Hunt taught us all about negligence through application. He gave us a scenario, in which we were the lawyers, and we had to figure out ways to prove that someone was negligent, with the given information. After many questions, we finally came up with a plan for action and learned much more about negligence than we could have from a definition. Class runs from 10AM-12PM which I think is a perfect time for class because it doesn’t call for an extremely early morning and also lets out with enough time in the day to enjoy the city. For instance, after our first day of class, a couple of classmates and I went on a tour of the cathedral. It cost 3 CHF but the view overlooking the city was priceless. (Pro Tip: Bring your UT ID because there are student discounts everywhere!)
Every week, we have an excursion to a new place or event that connects with our curriculum. This week we had our first excursion to the Sport Future Rendezvous, which consisted of a presentation from a member of the International Olympic Committee and a debate/Q&A from a panel of sport experts. While I enjoyed the presentation at the start of the program, my favorite part of the program was the debate between the panelists about their thoughts regarding the future of sport and sport governance. Overall, our first excursion was really interesting and a great opportunity for undergrads!
This weekend a few friends and I spent Friday at the botanical gardens. The garden was huge and filled with tall trees, brightly colored flowers, bees, ponds, and even carnivorous plants. After walking through the gardens and surrounding parks, we began searching for midday crepes. We stumbled upon a small shopping center which had a small café that sold them and we were ecstatic. I ordered a crepe filled with bananas and Swiss chocolate sauce and after I took my first bite, I knew that I’d be returning to that café to get those same crepes again. While we were enjoying our meal, it began to rain, which made for a beautiful scene outside of the café. The temperature that day, like most of the days so far here in Lausanne, was 75 degrees, which was the perfect weather for exploring. After the rain, which only makes the air cooler rather than humid, we walked to the city center and eventually found ourselves at Migros, a huge grocery store, buying dinner and snacks for the rest of the evening.
This past Saturday, I returned to the farmer’s market and purchased some gifts for my family, which I think they’re going to love! Later, a group of us grabbed our swimsuits, hopped on the bus, and headed to the lake to enjoy the summer sun and cool water. We found a really nice spot near the water, which meant that we could easily go for a swim and tan. The area that we found was filled with families barbecuing, kids building sand castles, and boats sailing in the wind. The green grass, soft sand, tall mountains, and bright sun made for a great afternoon at the lake. After swimming, we decided to dry off by throwing the Frisbee and playing some soccer, which along with the sun, wore us out. After a few hours at Lake Geneva, we decided to head back to our hostel to rest.
It’s only been a week and a half since I arrived in Switzerland and I’m beginning to miss my family, especially when I call them and hear all of their voices, but I know that there are only 3 weeks left until I see them again. Looking forward, my friends and I are planning a trip to Munich, Germany, this upcoming weekend. I am super excited to see Germany since I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it! Additionally, the World Cup is about to start and although I’ll definitely be outnumbered here in Lausanne cheering for Mexico, it’ll be awesome to watch the Switzerland games with all the other soccer fans near Lake Geneva. Needless to say, I’m pumped for my last three weeks in Europe!
This post was contributed by Sarah Chavez, a 2018 Global Ambassador.