Phinu Jose from India reports from the Faculty Exchange Week in Zurich, 10th to 16th December 2017

Moving from a city where 26 degrees Celsius was the Winter Norm to Freezing -3 degrees was indeed an amazing revelation in globetrotting. All apprehensions of my inability to feel at home were wiped off immediately, thanks to very hospitable people around. The welcome walk was in the freezing Christmas Market with some ethereal sense of walking on ice and admiring snow-capped mountains, only to feel like an Ice-Maiden, literally, at the end of the sight-seeing!

Indische Frau steht vor einem künstlichen Schneemann im Flughafengebäude

The warm welcome at the School of Social Work made us feel all the more comfortable and laid to rest all our fears of the weather playing spoil-sport in the trip! It was heartening to see so many colleagues from the ZHAW greeting us and making us feel at home, offering us loads of Clementine and Chocolates!

Studierende und Mitarbeitende der ZHAW Soziale Arbeit sitzen an Tischen in einem Seminarraum. Vor ihnen liegt jeweils eine Clementine.
The Toni Tour was enlightening to say the least, the campus was buzzing with activities, ballet Classes and Sculpture Sessions, Day Care for kids it seemed to be an exploration that we never wanted to stop.

Zwei Frauen und zwei Männer sitzen an einem Holztisch und trinken Kaffee.From Restaurants to House visits to Community/Family Centre to Museum to School there is an entire Novel that i could write…numerous stories of comparing India and Switzerland…plenty of opportunities to collaborate but i’ll just stick to the blog for want of time and lack of literary sense!

Travel for me has always been Philosophy – a platform for self-exploration. The trip to Zurich revealed so many perspectives to life, new ones that were never understood and old ones reinforced. The context of social work in Switzerland and how it differs from India, the sense of ownership and independence that the Swiss profess and practice in all walks of life, the aptitude to make decisions from a very young age were some amazing revelations of this trip!

3% of people struggling with poverty, brilliant Public Transport Systems – very liberating, after travelling in Bangalore City, a second grader choosing the type of Star to make in a crafts class depending on the level of difficulty!

Many more instances all through the entire week at Zurich transformed me to believe that we yearn to learn from every situation that we possibly could be put in.

I also met some amazing people-some country cousins, some colleagues at ZHAW who became wonderful friends and most surprisingly an Alumnus of Christ University-My University! So now i also believe that our World is indeed a Small World!

Gruppenfoto einer indisch-schweizerischen Gesellschaft.I’d like to sum up my Zurich Visit in three angles of my MOST FAVOURITE Things…Food, Fun & Folks!

  • Food – the platter was always yummilicious….i have complete appreciation for the quality of food at all places….my taste buds took a sumptuous tour of Indian-including Kerala, Nepalese, Chinese, Isreali, Swiss, Italian foods across the entire week. The highlight though was the Cheese Fondue-no beating the excitement of relishing it!
  • Fun – The Christmas Dinner hosted at Dolder Sports going up 800 feet above sea level and witnessing snow like never before is something that will remain etched in our memories forever! The Tram, Trains, Cable Cars, on every outing were the most-fun times experienced at Zurich
  • Folks – we met some very warm and hospitable people all through the week who were instantaneously able to forge friendships with us. Some long-forgotten families and friends we bumped into made us realize the true essence of our being Indians!

Wish you get to see this part of the World too! Welcome to India! Hoping I will make it another winter or summer or spring and show-off this beautiful country Switzerland, to many more people…Thank you Zurich for giving me a lifetime of pleasant memories!