Madelon, student from Groningen, Netherlands, reports from her semester at the ZHAW in Zurich.
Though my semester was the same length as that of any other student, I have never felt a semester fly by so fast. It was about a month shorter than most of my semesters in Holland, which might have something to do with it, but mostly I guess it was because of the nice time I had. I’ve had 12 seminars this semester, which is a strange construction by itself, but it gave me the chance to get to know so many different people during my time here.
Like the semester that was too short, this blogpost won’t capture all the the interesting things I have done in these last few months. So I will start with the thing I enjoyed most during my time here: Beer at the Mehrspur! Yes I admit, it sounds a bit alcoholic if your favorite thing during an exchange is beer, but I have some decent reasons for this. After a lot of my seminars, we went and had beer on Friday. Mostly at the Mehrspur, because they have happy hour till 5pm, which fits perfectly because the seminars often last till 16.30 (at the latest). During these times, I learned the most about Swiss culture, ways of thinking, how the social system works, etc. Some things came as a shock to me: Gays can’t get married or adopt children, most children are placed in foster homes (opposed to foster families in the Netherlands) or the lack of conversation modules (1 here and 8 in the Netherlands). Many of the people I get to know would like to see some change in those topics.
To sum up my semester in Zurich, I would like to thank everyone that has taken the time to explain stuff I didn’t understand or knew about, helped me to understand Swiss German, helped me navigate through the Campus Toni-Areal, told me the best coffee is at Chez Toni, joined me for some beers at the Mehrspur and overall made me feel very welcome this past semester!
A special shout out to my group members during Modul 21: you guys have been so patient and caring through this semester and I always looked forward to Monday, because I knew I would see some friendly faces. Without you guys, this semester would not have been as amazing as it was.
And finally, I would like to thank Lisa Müller of the International office, without who this semester would not have been possible.
Last but not least to the one and only other exchange student in social work this semester: Sandra! It was wonderful to have someone to be in the same boat with and gape at the high prices.
Before I leave, I have one final question for everyone: why do you people run so fast down the stairs? I have not been passed descending stairs as much in my entire life in Holland as I have in these few months in Switzerland. What is up with that? Are you all in some secret stair descending contest, where you win a wheel of cheese at the end of the year if you were the fastest? (If that is the case, can someone please sign me up?)
With lots of love, and hopefully we will meet again