For all you curious souls asking about our itinerary for the next six months, I’ve compiled a tentative outline of our schedule. (Nana, this one’s for you.)
Taking a French course and computer programming course for 6 weeks, then taking two physics courses and working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known more commonly as CERN.
Sunday, 15 January 2017
I fly from O’Hare at 08:00, arriving in Boston a little after 11:00. There, I’ll meet up with Dan. Our flight from Boston takes off at 17:55 and arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport at 23:00.
Monday, 16 January
After a brief layover in Heathrow, we fly out at 07:00 local time, arriving in Geneva almost three hours later at 09:45 CET. (Geneva is on Central Europe Time, which is 6 hours ahead of Boston and 7 hours ahead of Chicago.) We will then have to get to our residence, either by snagging a ride on a shuttle or by calling a taxi.
We have no formal activities scheduled, so we’ll spend the day getting settled in. We’ll need to buy plug converters, obtain a burn-phone with a Swiss phone number, sort out housing and roommates.
I am also considering auditioning for a production with the Geneva English Drama Society, a local (English-speaking!) amateur theatre group. I’m really disappointed to be missing out on the theatre scene at BU this semester, so this could be an amazing way to get involved with theatre abroad! Participation is probably a risky move, considering the courses and workload I’ll be facing, and I certainly don’t want it to get in the way of travel. (Homework? What homework?) I don’t know how competitive the group is, but I think it’d be fun to give it a try. Auditions are being held the first evening we arrive from 7-10pm. Updates to come.
Then I’m popping some melatonin and hopefully sleeping for 15 hours!
Tuesday, 17 January
I’ll wake up, probably not 15 hours later, maybe more like 8, because we have University of Geneva (UniGe) orientation today. (I should probably start planning which fun facts to share during the inevitable ice breakers…)
We apparently will then compete as floor-groups in a scavenger hunt around Geneva. Sounds like a good way to get acquainted with the city and establish dominance right off the bat, amirite? Floor 1 is gon’ kick the other floors’ derrières.
I definitely plan on getting a disgusting amount of sleep tonight.
Wednesday, 18 January
More orientation, since apparently, we will not be sufficiently oriented after one day. Also, we will be taking our first quiz of the semester (another contest) to test our accumulated knowledge from said orientations. Fingers crossed that the prize is either Swiss chocolate or a laundry pass.
It has dawned on me that I don’t know when we’re supposed to go buy food. Since food is “eye-wateringly expensive” in the Land of Switzer, we’ve been advised to hop across the border and do our grocery shopping in France. Because of this inconvenience, grocery shopping is not something I’m looking forward to with much enthusiasm. Maybe I can live off leftover airline pretzels for the first few days….
Thursday, 19 January
Our French classes begin. Nos cours de français commencent.
Friday, 20 January
French class. Then CERN orientation.
And finally, to “celebrate reaching the Learning Objectives for this week,” we have all been invited to a Welcome Dinner at a nearby restaurant. As a college student, I can’t pass up free food. And as a college student residing in arguably the most expensive city in the world, I really can’t pass up free food.
Then probably a wild night of tearin’ up the town and ~legal drinking!!~ (In reality, I’ll probably just want to go to bed early, let’s be honest.)
Saturday, 21 January
Today, there is an optional tour of the “Old Town.” The number of participants is limited so I don’t know if I’ll be going. This will probably be a good day to relax, go grocery shopping, explore town a little more, and publish a blog post!
23 January – 24 February
For the next month, our schedule looks to be pretty consistent. Every weekday, we meet for French class for two hours. Two days a week we have a computing course where we learn the basics of Python and C++, the computer programming languages that we will use for our internship at CERN.
Saturday, 28 January
Our potential first excursion! The tentative plan is to travel to Switzerland’s Gruyère district with the other students in the BU Geneva program. Not sure what we’ll do here; it’s being arranged by the BU staff on site.
20 February – 2 June
Here’s where the real work happens. We will be taking two physics courses with the University of Geneva (in French!!)—Electromagnetism 2 and Quantum Mechanics—as well as working at CERN. (As of now, we do not know what our projects will be while at CERN, but I’ll be sure to write about it when I find out.)
Somewhere in March, we’re slated to go on a snowshoe trek. We also get a week off for Easter break and I’m hoping to travel to Vatican City to celebrate Easter mass with the Pope! Of course, I really hope to be able to travel on a couple weekends here and there as well.
Some of the places I hope to visit during my time in Europe (and the reasons why):
- Paris, France (duh.)
- London, England (to visit my aunt/godmother and watch some real football)
- Nuremberg, Germany (one of my best friends lives here so I obviously must visit)
- Kaunas or Vilnius, Lithuania (the location of my only other experience abroad; a greatly underappreciated country that I would love to revisit, but priority is admittedly low)
- Somewhere in Spain
- Vatican City (Easter mass, also I want to find all the locations from Angels and Demons)
- Padua, Italy (the setting of The Taming of the Shrew)
- Messina, Italy (the setting of Much Ado About Nothing)
- Kronborg Castle, Denmark (aka Elsinore Castle, the setting of Hamlet) (do you notice a pattern?)
- Finland (to visit the motherland!) (I’m part Finnish)
- Sweden (I have an aunt from Sweden, also meatballs)
- Any other recommendations?? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
Our UniGe final exams can occur on any weekday in this time period, so we’re stuck in Geneva for these three weeks (oh, darn.) Hopefully my exams will be spaced apart or very early so that I can do some more traveling before I go back home!
Monday, 3 July
Dan and I have a flight back to Boston today. Already anxious that I won’t be able to fit all my newly-acquired crap in my suitcases.
For now…this is all I know.
It’s going to be a grand adventure, isn’t it?