Study Abroad Adventure in Geneva

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Full Academic Year

Jaime is currently studying abroad at the University of Geneva in Switzerland as part of his French and International Relations degree at Reading. Read his blog entry about settling into his new home in Geneva for the next academic year.

I would like to start off this entry by stating that I never thought I would end up in Geneva. Yes, I did choose Geneva as my study placement option for my year abroad. But I ended up changing my mind and I tried hard to find a work placement. But I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to find a placement.

In the end, I found myself desperately looking for accommodation in Geneva as my work placement option failed… However, I feel so lucky about not getting a placement. Now that I am in Geneva I can’t imagine myself any happier in a placement. This place is great!

My experience upon arriving was more stressful than pleasant as I just threw myself into the adventure and came here without having any secured place to stay. I got a hotel for 3 nights. 3 nights and 3 days was the amount of time I gave myself to find accommodation. I think it is understandable that I did not enjoy at all my first days in Geneva. After being rejected by a big number of estate agents and private hosts as well as student accommodations tension began to build up inside of me, but in the end things started to turn as it was on my return to the hotel with my aunt that we saw an aparthotel in France, 5 minutes away from the Swiss border. We decided to try luck there. I am currently writing this first blog entry from my apartment here, therefore I guess I don’t have to say that this place was and is still is perfect.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Full Academic Year

Enjoying Geneva with my very lovely aunt.

My family thought it would be a problem for me to live in France and study in Geneva, and if there are any problems I really can’t see them. Gaillard, which is the village where I currently am living is very well communicated with my university, the only thing I must do is walk 5 minutes to the border and pop into a tram, which will leave me in front of university in little more than 25 minutes. However, when the weather allows me to do so I ride my bicycle to university. Geneva is great for biking, therefore as a bicycle lover I am very comfortable here.

University of Reading student studying abroad in Switzerland for a Full Academic Year

Very nice views from my apartment

So far everything was perfect, I had my own apartment and I was very well communicated with central Geneva. I would also like to mention that having my own apartment in a hotel is by far much cheaper than renting a room in Geneva as I was offered a very decent student discount. So, as I was saying, everything was perfect, but university still worried me a little due to the language and because I didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, this university is great, without taking into account how slow the administration is.

The best thing is that I got to choose what I want to do throughout the year, therefore it is impossible to do something which doesn’t pleases me, on top of that I was given a few weeks to try the lessons in order to be able to choose the best ones for me. Now I find myself having university only 2 days a week, which is quite comfortable, and taking modules in which I am very interested. Have I mentioned how nice my building is? An image is worth more than 1000 words!

 

Having only 2 days a week of university seems amazing as you get plenty of time for yourself, but that time for yourself is not a good thing if you don’t make the most out of it. I wanted to invest the time I had in something I love; sports. My first option was to retake boxing, but I also wanted to start something new. Out of all of the different sports I’ve been offered, I decided to give capoeira a chance. It was a great choice, I love this new sport, the other students are very friendly and the master is amazing. In sports I was also given the option to try some lessons in order to find the one which most suits me, and that was how I realised that boxing did not suit me at all due to the timings of the lessons. So I decided to try another sport, and I found out that the university offered me to take judo lessons. Having done Judo for a long time I thought it would be a great option for me, so I decided to retake Judo.

There is not much else to say about my experience so far. Only that so it is being perfect and I can’t wait to see what awaits for me in the future while being in Geneva!

Jaime

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