Greetings to you lovely people, thanks for returning to share in my experiences. I appreciate you keeping up with me. Today began at 5:45AM. I successfully beat the shower rush that my roommates had to deal with the day before. I figured out the breakfast this morning, cold food in the morning is common here. So the Swiss-Germans staying here took the granola and put it in the yogurt. Or some put the yogurt on top of the corn flakes. I had a Snickers bar and hot chocolate (Keepin it Simple). It just blows my mind that as cold as it is outside the Swiss choose not to start the day with a hot breakfast. In America we are told all the time ‘eat a balanced breakfast’ and ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ well not in Switzerland, no bacon, no eggs, and no biscuits. I just looked at the granola thinking to myself this must be a morning snack, where is the real food?
We made our way to the S.I.T. office where we were introduced to our schedule and Independent Study Project or ISP. This research project is the core of the program, it has a 30 page minimum length and many other extra and rather dramatic elements. We are supposed to find an academic advisor associated with one of the organizations we visit and study with, an individual knowledgeable on our chosen topic. They will be compensated upon the successful completion of our ISP (I was thinking of ways I could justify advising myself). We are obligated to have handouts and visual aids for the presentation of the ISP. Also we are required to log 100 hours worth of research and 30 hours of formal or informal interviews with experts or people pertaining to our chosen field of study. This is their way of encouraging us to network and build relationships with the various officials from the organizations. I wrote my proposal as part of the program admissions on Educating Children of International Affairs, but was told that this topic was too broad. Luckily my academic advisor with S.I.T. Dr. Alexander Lambert reassured me that it would narrow as I learn more concepts from the various organizations.
Then we met with a counselor. This was probably the most comical element of my trip thus far. She asked us what obstacles we were facing . . . she asked so I told her. I told her everything I could think of it went something like this:
‘First of all this cold food is not working for me, it is bad enough that it is 30 degrees outside, overcast, and snowing every few hours. As cold as it is outside why do you all serve so many cold dishes? That makes no sense, cold breakfast will not prepare you for the outdoors; where are the grits, eggs, pancakes, can I at least get a crêpe?’
I also discussed the amount of time between meals thus far it has been a bit extreme; I need more opportunities to eat. Personally I am a snacker, every few hours I have to get my snacks up, but it is considered rude here to eat in areas not designated for eating. I knew I wasn’t the only hungry one, because as we travel and explore our new city in our group can hear stomachs growling. I must admit we are some hungry Americans. I am not ashamed. It is for this reason I have turned to chocolate, you can find it anywhere in Switzerland at anytime it is my drug of choice.
Before we took our French placement exam at Ecole-Club Migros (I got excited because it was referred to as a club, I was fooled it is a classroom. I don’t use the word ‘club’ as loosely as they do) we went over the program schedule. I will basically be in seminars Monday through Friday mornings at various locations in Geneva from 9:30AM to 12:15PM. This will last until the first week in March. Also until the first week in March I will have French class from 2:00PM until 5:00PM because I am living in a country where I am functionally illiterate. I am free to go anywhere in the European Union from 12:15PM Friday afternoons until Sunday evenings. Then from March to early April I will have nothing required of me except research (no schedule just a weekly optional meeting with my S.I.T. academic advisors). I can travel anywhere in the European Union to conduct research and perform interviews. After this independent research period I will travel to Croatia to finalize my project, present it, and party as hard as possible.
My French language placement test was ….
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