Going on an UTS Build programme is an opportunity that should not be missed. You gain very good insights of the teaching style of your host university which might be very different to what you’re used to. I found the teaching of the intensive language course to be to be much more informal with the emphasis on ‘lifestyle learning’ e.g. learning the language using social media, social interaction in the foreign language, role-play, listening and singing.
In addition, you learn so much about the host country and its people by simply being in the country. The people you meet will so often go out of their way to help you and explain and make things easier for you. I went on an intensive language course to Switzerland for three weeks but there was still time to explore the country on weekends. However, I learnt much more than language whilst I was there. There are so many intangible skills you learn when you go overseas, such as self- reliance and problem solving and self-confidence, and not least, mixing and interacting with people of a different culture.
Switzerland is a small compact country with friendly people. In three weeks you can only get a taste of a country but it left me feeling that it’s definitely worth coming back to. It’s a very efficient country, everything is very orderly and punctual and they are very much into minimising environmental pollution which is understandable given the spectacular scenery. However, it all comes at a price, with the cost of living in Switzerland being very high, especially food. By the way, the food is really good and very fresh and seasonal.
There is a very efficient train system in Switzerland linking up all the towns and cities. From one end of Switzerland to the other it’s hardly three hours. I was impressed that most train ticket collectors could speak four languages and would ask passengers for their tickets either in French, German, Italian or English. Also, all the trains arrive and depart on time with three minutes late considered very poor service. Punctuality is a must in Switzerland. Never be late for anything! There’s no excuse either because in Switzerland, you don’t need a watch as there are clocks everywhere in the towns. There can be easily fifty clocks per town which I helps people to be punctual.
All shops shut in Switzerland on a Sunday and Monday to Saturday after 5pm with almost no shops apart from restaurants open. At first, I found this inconvenient but later on I got used to it and actually started to enjoy a more leisurely Sunday. One of my best experiences in Switzerland, apart from the language course, was hiking around in the mountains, enjoying the stunning scenery, good weather and the mountain air.
Eryl Roberts 11040173