Bursting The Bubble

Amy Dudley

Bonjour from Colgate’s International Relations Study Group in Geneva, Switzerland! This is the land of tap water that tastes like Evian and gorgeous views of the Swiss Alps around every corner. A land where you can get a bottle of French wine for one Swiss franc, but a Coca-Cola will cost you almost five! Our pockets may be emptying more quickly than expected (as everyone warned us), but a diet of the most delicious wine, cheese and chocolate in the world is just fine for me. Having arrived only two weeks ago, it’s hard to believe how much I’ve been able to see and do in such a short time. The beauty of Switzerland lies in its central location in Europe, allowing for easy travel to many surrounding European countries, as well as a wealth of cultural experiences within Switzerland itself. Armed with the golden ticket to Europe – the Eurail pass – and a floor-length list of places to visit throughout the semester, I’ve already had the chance to visit Bern and Interlaken (where we plan to return to let fellow study group participant junior Bob Fenity pursue his dream of paragliding through the Alps), as well as Munich this past weekend. Since I’ve somehow managed to fill up every weekend from now until May with travel plans (or at least until my bank account runs dry), keeping up with a Colgate course load may soon prove to be a bit difficult. A few of us have realized the single most efficient way to get your work done while studying abroad is to do it on long train rides. Therefore, we can travel farther and more often to even greater places every weekend, purely to ensure finishing all the necessary readings for classes the next week. Ingenious travelers we’ve become! Home to the United Nations and a ton of other international organizations, Geneva has an international vibe that has been a great addition to our experience so far. Despite the occasional run-in with a crazy “Dutch genius” (apparently trained by the Soviets during the Cold War and currently “on the run” from the CIA) who enjoys spending time at our residence hall to play the piano conveniently located down the hall from our area, the city is jam-packed with people of every background you can imagine. It is not uncommon for you to hear a five-year-old on the bus spouting out three different languages (which certainly makes my inability to do so much as properly order a cup of coffee seem rather sad). I thought there might be a slight chance of my blending in as a Swiss local with my bright blonde hair, but it turns out that the Genevoise really aren’t very blonde and Europeans can spot an American from a mile away. If anyone asks, we’re from Canada. It seems only appropriate that the year I decide to come to Geneva, they have the worst weather they’ve had in 20 years, with wind gusts similar to those felt atop the hill at Colgate. Instead of a big hill, Geneva has a big lake that is deceivingly beautiful until white caps appear on the water and the wind starts blowing. It’s certainly not Hamilton (and there’s definitely not as much snow as your blizzard brought last week), but Geneva sure has a way of making us feel at home!