I arrived in Switzerland mid-May to begin my work as an intern in the APHYS lab under Professor Johny Wuest. I was very excited to work in a physics of aquatics systems lab because I had never done something like this back home at UC Berkeley as an environmental science major. I planned to work on my senior thesis that I started for my bachelor’s here in the lab thanks to Professor Wuest and my Ph.D Advisor Love Raman. My experience has been extremely challenging yet gratifying because I had to work with a software called Matlab that I had no previous experience with. My job was to look at vertical migrations of zooplankton through acoustic doppler current profiles in Lake Biel and assess what their movements were responses too. For instance, prey population response, solar radiation, temperature, and other factors. I worked in the field at lake Biel by deploying ADCP instruments in the lake, getting chlorophyll measurements in response to sun and moonlight, and gathering water samples to test for certain organisms at each depth.
My father is from Lausanne and I am a swiss citizen so I was fortunate to know some people who I could stay with during my three month stay. My first month, I stayed with some family friends in Morges. I visited many surrounding towns and got a taste for Swiss culture. The problem with living in Switzerland during May is all students are studying for their finals so there is little to do with other students. My final two months, I lived in downtown Lausanne near Montelly with my grandmother because she had an extra apartment. The experience has been even better because I have been able to meet other internship students nearby and the weather has been wonderful for going to the lake. Some things I think everyone should do in Switzerland while they are here is go on some hikes such as diablerets. During the summer months there are tons of festivals and things to do near Lausanne such as the Montreux Jazz festival, the Paleo, the fetes de Geneves, and much, much more.
In addition, Switzerland lies in the center of Europe so you are a short train ride or flight away from a different country and a different experience. You can take a 11 kilometer boat ride across Lake Geneva and visit France all in one afternoon! I had a three day weekend while I was here so I took a flight to Barcelona and had the time of my life. Switzerland is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth but it comes at a price. While here you will burn through your savings without even realizing it. It is best to cook at home whenever you have the opportunity because meals at restaurants can be 40 CHF easily per person. MIgros and Denner are located right by the metro stop at EPFL and have all the food you need at reasonable prices. Satellite is open until mid-june on campus and it is a great place to grab a drink with your friends after work. Switzerland can be either boring or incredibly fun, it all depends on what you make of it.