After coming back to Singapore, all the 6 months I had in Switzerland was like a dream. All the breathtaking scenery, all the crazy things I have done, all the awesome people I have met, they are like existences in a beautiful dream and I finally woke up into the reality, in a hot rain forest with sunset at 7pm everyday.
I was lucky enough to have the exchange program and this summer internship, which made my six months’ stay in Lausanne, an important span of my life.
During my exchange semester, most of my travels were outside of Switzerland. After that I started my real exploration of Switzerland and I regretted that I didn’t find its beauty earlier.
A typical week:
Monday to Friday: In the morning i rode my bicycle to my lab, went pass the corn field, seeing the Alps, sensing the cozy winds. I was working in the Applied Computing and Mechanics (IMAC) Laboratory under Professor Ian Smith, the Head of laboratory. I was working on a pioneer project that aiming to construct an teaching module about BIM (Building Information Modelling) Technology, which was a totally new area for me. The most challenging part of this project was to design the content and organization of this tech-related module in a tech-irrelevant way, which enables the module to be long-lastingly practical with the fast-changing technology.
I was glad that my lab mates , which are PHDs and scientists, are all very nice and helpful. Everyday we had lunch together and share our appreciations on similarities and differences among our cultures, foods and experiences. After lunch we usually had a relaxing coffee session to have a bit more fun. The work in lab can be tough and challenging but the relaxing time we shared added enough power to us.
Here comes the part of the after-work life. Inspired by my Belarus roommate Stas, I got my subscription of the water sports of our school. Almost every day after work I would just head to the lakeside riding my bike and do some water sports there. Lac de Leman is fantastic, doing windsurfing on the lake could be like flying within the heaven. Laying down and taking a nap on your stand up paddle board after going into the middle of the lake is like being in a place that you were the only existence.
Sometimes there were BBQ/party/picnics organized by the interns in the evening, having fun and talking to these lovely people from Oxford, Cambridge, Georgia Tech, MIT could be very enjoyable. Knowing how different ways people look at the world was inspiring.
A great thing about summer in Lausanne is that the sunset is always latter than 10pm, hence the time after work was just like the start of the day! we have 5 hours before sunset, and I will never forget how breath-taking the sunset at the lake is.
Weekend: Weekends are the free days that we could take day trips within Switzerland or go abroad. It was my dream to hike and cycle on Alps when I was a child and this summer I really make it. Switzerland transportation system is perfect for traveling with bike and I had took my bike to many mountains of this country. I don’t know how to express my feeling when I sped on the top of the mountain with the sound of the wind sweeping my head, it is like…I could feel that I am live in real.
What is Switzerland? Crystal lakes, Alps and clear sky? Snow and glaciers? Swans, cows with bells and the fresh smell of the grass? All the nice people? It is all of them, all of them and many memories make the Switzerland for me. Switzerland, I will be back!
- Purchase the half-fare and track 7 SBB card.
- Explore the Alps by hiking or cycling (buy a second-hand bike in campus)
- Get the water sports subscription to have great fun on Lac de Leman (Windsurf, kayak, stand up paddle) and swim a lot!
- Have fun with the awesome interns!
Yuan Zijie, Nanyang Technological University,
Laboratory of Applied Computing and Mechanics (IMAC), EPFL