Here are five thoughts from my brain:
- PolyMi was truly an incredible university. The campus had a very industrial feel, which was interesting considering they are equal parts engineering and design. I felt incredibly inspired by the Dean of the graduate school. He gets it. I was blown away by how much financial support PhD students get, but I still struggle to understand where the money comes from. I think the personalized career services they provide to graduate students is radical.
- When we travelled to PolyMi, I felt an immediate shift in energy once we crossed the border from Switzerland to Italy. I have not experienced such a blatant difference in my previous travels.
- Visiting Bellinzona was like a fairy tale. I was filled to the brim with butterflies. Everything made me overwhelmed with gratitude. Very few people in my world would ever get to experience something like this.
- I have moved on to learning everyone’s middle name. I know everyone in the group by first and last night. Its time to get even more connected. I love how quickly we have all become friends. This is a very special component to my experience.
- That Syrah….
- Four more to go?
Let’s be real, I haven’t been quite in tune with the iteinary, so I really don’t know how many more institutions we have left to visit. But so far, in three days, we have visited the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, University of Basel, The Basel School or Design, and University of Strasbourg. These experiences have been exhausting, but incredibly rewarding. Each place has been so unique and morphing my perception of higher education.
We have been discussing a wide range of topics, but these are the topics from the different visits that have stuck out to me: citizen science, sustainability, colonial informatics, politics, and identity themes.
Switzerland holds such a unique role in Europe, particularly in education and that was perfectly highlighted with our visit to a French institiutstion. We will also brighten the contrast with an upcoming visit to an Italian institution. I am loving all of the global perspectives, including those from the people sitting next to me on the train.
It is approximately 58 hours after I left Washington DC for Switzerland. Whoops. My departure actually started longer than 58 hours ago, as I took the train from Roanoke to DC Thursday early morning (As an aside, the train is a fantastic form of travel from the Blacksburg area to the capitol!) I landed in Zürich early Friday morning, almost three whole days before the official start to GPP. To be honest, the program was not on my mind.
It has been four years since I last left the country…fours years since I put myself in uncomfortable foreign experiences…four years since I submerged into another culture. My whole journey to country was centered around my soul and how much I feel like I needed a break from ‘real life’.
I felt and still feel nervous, like I am not ready to have my whole perspective shifted. But here I am, soaking in all that is Zürich and getting to do it with great company. I look forward to all of the learning, both professional and personal that lies ahead. I hope I can go back to the US a stronger, wiser, and more focused person.
I always have to post a simple blog just to see if my site if working.
I look forward to documenting my experience in the Global Perspectives Program (GPP’18) with Virginia Tech!