Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hello Switzerland!

I arrived to Switzerland three days ago.  I am glad I decided to be here at least four days before my Co-op starts.

Thankfully, I found a friend that picked me up at the airport and also found an affordable place for me. Geneva is definitely hard when it comes to housing. The best advice I can give is to go into www.glocals.com. Create a profile for yourself, and start looking! This is the best place to find classifieds and find out about people that live here, things to do, activities, anything!

It wasn’t that hard for me to come here on my own since I had been here before on a dialogue.  However, I realized that I had forgotten a lot. I also realized that my French is not as good as I thought it was. I’m hoping that six months here will help me improve.
On another note. The first few days all I have done is get settled to make sure I have a comfortable living space as well as everything I need before I start.

1st–>find housing (make sure you’re comfy and I recommend living with someone else, even better if the person can help you with French)

2nd–> buy a prepaid cellphone that is not locked (these are phones you can use all over the world, you just get a chip and make sure that if you are in Switzerland, and probably Europe, you get Lyca Mobile, this is the best option for international distance calls) You are probably going for 50 francs for the phone and 20 for the first prepaid calling card.

3rd–> If you like to keep yourself active and normally exercise, I recommend joining a gym. There are plenty here in Geneva and I personally love Holmes Place, which I found on glocals.com. The gym is gorgeous and I recommend it to anyone who loves the gym!

4th–> Find out about the most affordable places where you can buy appliances and food.  I found Ikea here, which was wonderful because I bought great quality towels for 20 francs. I also had to buy a blender, which I found for 20 francs as well in a place called Migros, by far the best place to buy food as well.  If you need things like an umbrella or a bathroom cleaner, go to Comforama, things are a lot cheaper than in the most expensive stores like Globus or Manor.

5th–> Prepare for your co-op and make sure you do all the pre-internship readings.  I am on that right now.

6th–> If the place where you live has no internet connection, I would recommend getting one through a USB drive. Most places have them, but some don’t. Mine doesn’t and I am debating on whether to buy one of those drives that give you internet wherever you are.  This costs 50 francs for the drive and 5 francs for Internet everyday, which can become expensive if you use it everyday.  This is the only option because you can’t get an internet connection that they hook up for you unless you get a one year contract.  This was a bummer for me.

Anyhow, this is the beginning of my co-op experience in Geneva, Switzerland. I will be back with more!