Sunday, May 17, 2009

Geneva: The Beginning

Hello Friends and Family!

So, the Swiss Schenanigans have begun. I have yet to start my internship, that begins tomorrow. But, I have been exploring the city of Geneva for the past few days along with getting to know the other students on the trip with me. So far there are 13 of us, 10 girls and 3 guys. haha. There are going to be a few more students from MSU coming in the next few weeks, as well as some students from Villanova and Boston University.

We are living in a monastery turned hotel/conference center called Le Cenacle. It is very nice, we all have dorm style rooms and they are all on the same floor which is convenient. It is a short walk to the buses and trams which makes it convenient as well. But, I think I am beginning to master the public transportation system! Those of you who know me well know that my directional skills are a little rusty, so I am very proud. The city of Geneva is actually very small, we have already seen all of the important historical "sites" that there are to see in Geneva. Can you believe that there is only one monument in the entire city! We had a walking tour of the Old City on Thursday with an American tour guide. It was very fascinating learning how the city was founded out of the rise of Calvinism. I wish I could tell you more, but at that point we were all still very jet lagged and barely holding in there. haha.

The city itself is beautiful! It is soo clean, and quiet. Right when I stepped off the train I noticed it. The Swiss are genuinely quiet people, unlike Americans they tend to sick to themselves. It is so interesting, we have had tram rides of complete silence. However, they are very friendly if you need help, and most of them speak English. I was flying with no one else from my group, so I had to find my way from the airport to Le Cenacle by myself! Oh my goodness. It was an adventure to say the least. Just imagine me lugging two HUGE suitcases that I could not even lift on and off of a train, a tram, and a bus. and then having to find where which street I live on. But I made it alive, so all is well!

I am not sure if this is taboo across all of Europe, but we have all noticed that people here wear very muted colors. In other words, we stick out like sore thumbs with our bright pink shirts and colored scarfs! But, that is ok, colorful people need to wear colorful outfits! Throughout the course of this blog I will make silly observations like this about the cultural differences, just because I find it really interesting. For example, women here LOVE to wear linen, especially linen pant suits. and men really love super pointy shoes. I mean, they could kill someone with how pointy they are! haha.

Also, Geneva is the most expensive place in the entire world! ha, well I do not know if that if true, but it is definitely up there on the list! I have to provide lunch and dinner for myself, so it should be interesting how crafty I can get. I have been eating ALOT of cheese, brie is my favorite, and that is the cheapest cheese here! It is really exciting! But, we get breakfast here at Le Cenacle everyday, so we all go and fill up so we are not as hungry for lunch! ha, it is funny. Geneva is only two miles from the border of France and every Saturday morning they have fresh markets right over the border, so we all went and got some nice cheaper fruits and veggies. I also went into the Swiss Vineyards yesterday for a free wine tasting! it was beautiful and delicious!

I am really excited to start my internship tomorrow! I have been told that I have the best supervisor ever:) If you did not know, I am working for the International AIDS Society. It is a really great organization primarily working to promote AIDS awareness. I will keep you updated on that when I start!

But I actually only have a three day week this week! I do not work on Fridays, and Thursday is a Swiss bank holiday. So, what do I do when I have a four day weekend?? Go to Paris of course! I am leaving early thursday morning with my friend Sarah to visit one of my really good friends Amy who lives in the Paris area. I have been to Paris before, but only for two days. So, I still have alot more to see! I am planning on traveling alot while I am over here. Venice, Nice and Monaco for sure. And I am planning on traveling throughout Switzerland to the Alps one weekend! and somewhere else as well, it is a hard decision, there are so many choices!

Well, I hope this update gives you all a better idea of what I have been up to! I am having a blast so far, and all of the students are very nice. I will update soon with some of my other Schenanigans.

xoxo, Claire.


  1. Yeah I think one of the things i noticed when i was in switzerland as a kid was that it was sooo clean lol. I'm so excited for you, I know you're gonna have a great time with all the traveling you're gonna be doing. And, of course, the fact that you're interning at an AIDS society is great too!:)

  2. Glad you are getting settled and have plans already. Paris is your Uncle Steve's favorite place and you can walk the entire city. Try to go to the Museum Dorsey (old train station) if you can. It's the best! Have fun. Karen