BACK TO S
CHOOL Presents ISSUE 3
Tan Yang En President of the 8th VinE Committee, Studying Economics at LSE
Lynn is now doing a degree in Hospitality Management at Ecole htelire de Lausanne, Switzerland. She has much to share about chocolates, snow-capped mountains and did we mention that Swiss scenery
Hows the lifestyle in Switzerland? Good news for people who likes to escape from the city bustling and lifestyle! You would fall in love with the fresh oxygen greeting you every day! Switzerland is a gorgeous place with breath-taking views that is beyond words to describe. You see green fields, sunflower blooming in summer and the clear chime sound of the bells on the cows and sheep. Every inter-city train ride, you will always be mesmerised by the scenery and be lost in your thoughts. Do take note that shops close at 5pm or latest at 7pm! If you would like to get groceries, get it before Sunday, as all shops are closed on Sunday. Otherwise, you would have to make a trip down to the airport supermarket to get your groceries. So Sunday usually is a relaxing day to spend time with your friends or go for a nature walk.
Hows the weather in Switzerland? You will definitely experience all four seasons when you are in Switzerland. Summer: It is pretty much similar like Singapore, it feels a little warmer as most places do not have any installation of fans or air-conditioners but bearable due to the lack of humidity. Spring and Autumn: It rains most of the time during this period so you will need waterproof shoes at times like this and have a small portable umbrella with you all the time. The weather does get colder at night and some days without sunlight and strong winds. Winter jackets that you get in Singapore would keep you warm still. Winter: People would jump for joy as you see snow falling for the first time. Within a day of heavy snow, it can accumulate to 15cm in height. You definitely need a good pair of waterproof boots to move around in the pile of snow or cleared path to prevent you from slipping. Take note that even though snow may have cleared from the walking path, but the ground is frozen, so you still have a chance to slip without a proper sole! It is highly recommended to have a pair of boots that equipped with wool lining inside to keep your feet warm! Layer your clothing if your winter jacket doesnt keep you warm enough!
Lynn Wong Introducing
Are you struggling with the language there? The Swiss population is a great mystery to discover itself. The general population would have a mixed blood of Swiss + French, Swiss + German, Swiss + Italian. Then, there is a further break down of combination where they would let you know they are Swiss-French and French. Dont be surprised! They just meant that one of their parents is a Swiss but belongs to the French region of Switzerland and the other is French from France. There isnt any Swiss language; English does get you around but you may still face some difficulty. The languages spoken vary from each canton (think like US categorised into various states). But the four official languages are German, French, Italian and Romansch. For Singaporeans who take German, do take note that there is a huge difference between German and Swiss-German. Swiss German is widely spoken and differs from each German-speaking canton; it has the similar idea to our dialects (like Cantonese, Hokkien and etc). So dont be surprised if you are unable to understand their conversations! But not to worry, they were taught German which they called it the High German for mainly writing purpose and formal conversation. In summary, most of the Swiss you meet would be able to speak at least 3 languages
What are some of the things to do there? In Switzerland, you have the option of enjoying the nature at your own pace. You could do extreme sports like paragliding, skiing or just hiking. But do note that the transport prices isnt cheap, so plan your routes well and do check the train operator www.sbb.ch/en for the tourist passes, promotions and train schedule! You can get in and out of Switzerland through the train connections to France, Germany and Italy. Plan your route well to save cost!
The view features the UNESCO vineyards near Lausanne viewing the Lake Geneva. [Source: Lynn Wong]
What about travelling? Is it easy to travel from Switzerland? Which are your favourite places thus far? Any tips? Because you are in Europe, you need to travel around especially during your holidays. However, do avoid peak seasons such as summer period (July and August) if you dislike having a crowd in your pictures. Nevertheless, if you plan to travel in summer, plan ahead to save cost! Depending on your country location, you can use skyscanner for a comparison in air tickets or stick to a budget airline like easyjet. Also, train tickets could be purchased early too through reservation, so keep your eye on it! But the train tickets, you need be careful that train timetables are updated twice in a year. They have a winter schedule (Commence from 2nd Sunday of Dec onwards) and summer schedule (2nd Sunday of June onwards). So you may not be able to purchase tickets before it, but they release the sales in mid Oct for winter schedule and mid Apr. Usually I would use AirBnb, budget hotels or single room hostel depending on the location, prices and the group of friends I am heading out with. As I am rather picky on the cleanliness, I would need a clean bathroom and a comfortable bed so I wouldnt mind paying a little more for the extra comfort. Barcelona :D shopping city! You can find most of the Spanish brands: Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershaka and Massimo Dutti. However, do visit during the sales period, otherwise it is rather pricey. Nevertheless, it is still cheaper than the flagship stores in Singapore! Croatia around its coast such as Dubronvik and Split are scenic places to explore. It is
How difficult, or how easy, has it been to make friends in Switzerland? As my school is a hospitality school, it is essential to network with various nationalities. The Asian population in the school is small (15% of the student population). Many did face difficulty in making friends with fellow Europeans, but along the course where projects are heavily involved and people are generally hospitable, you would make friends easily. There is a small group of Singaporeans present in my school but each cohort, there are around 1-3 of us, so we are a really tight group together. You will be surprised to see many people who did live in Singapore as expats! We do have a bi-annual dinner as we welcome a new cohort and some small dinner sessions in the school restaurant or someones apartment. Within your own cohort, you may be closer with other non-Singaporeans in your own class so sometimes you do have a mix group of friends as friends introduces one another. Thus,
World War I memorial in London [Source: Terence Lim]
Type of Expense Prices
Accommodation Private Accommodation 750CHF to 1400CHF per month Campus Accommodation 1000CHF to 1200CHF per
month Dine out McDonalds set meal 13CHF and above
Western Restaurants 16CHF and above per dish Chinese Restaurants 18CHF and above per dish
Groceries Rice (1kg) 2.15CHF Meat (200g) 5.90CHF and above Olive Oil (1L) 10CHF Vegetables 1CHF to 5CHF Milk (1L) 1.30CHF Groceries Shopping 20 50CHF per trip
Mobile Mobile Plan (with school) Swisscom 100mins outgoing, free SMS, 500MB
Mobile Plan Swisscom 30mins outgoing, free SMS, 500MB
Prepaid Card Pay as you use.
Free 13 SMS per day. 2CHF per day for 5MB internet 9CHF per month for 100MB internet
Transport Half Price Card entitles all transport tickets to be up to 50% discount
175CHF for a year
City Transport Card (Zone Card) - free access to transport within the city zones you have subscribed. (useful if not staying on campus)
3 zones 650CHF per year Depends on the cities transport and zones.
Food (weekends only assume campus food included in tuition fees), transport, mobile plan.
300CHF to 500CHF
Estimated cost of living kindly tabled by Lynn. [Do note that its is based on how much she spends during her term in Lausanne and may change year-on-year, or at a different region in Switzerland.]
How is renting a place like? The rental is high in Lausanne as it could be considered a city filled with at least 2 major universities. Thus, dont be surprised if rent per month is 1000CHF. Also, most require a Swiss guarantor for documentation in renting. If you are renting together with a Swiss friend, he or she may take care of the necessities and help you handle the necessary documentations. It is necessary to view your apartment or house before deciding to rent the place. You need to check the accessibility of the house if you do not own a car. Usually on the university portals or the local marketplace website (in the city administrative language), there are numerous posting to filter out. The general trend would to take over the seniors apartments as some contracts included the clause that they have to successfully find someone to take over the place before their departure.
How easy or difficult is it to gain an internship abroad? Usually, the city/ country you study would allow you to attain student working visa easier than someone who is applying but nevertheless there are exceptions. It depends on your school policies whether they would help you obtain an overseas internship and apply for a working visa. To my knowledge, usually schools would post up opportunities and give guidance in regards to some procedures of the working visas. To sum up, looking for an overseas internship depends on you. For hospita