Sometimes I think about the fact that I’ll probably never ride the M1 metro from Bourdonnette to Flon again. I think about how if I ever do visit Lausanne again, it will be as a tourist rather than a student or resident. I think about how for the past year it was one of the closest things I could call ‘home’ after a weekend trip to Germany or a week in France or Italy.
It felt bittersweet to say goodbye and I wonder if there will ever be a time when I’ll go back and visit. Maybe not- there’s just so much more of the world to see and time is a fickle thing that can slip through your fingers if you’re not paying enough attention to it.
I spent my last few days in Lausanne getting a lot of administration things completed and it was really stressful with early mornings and a serious case of sleep deprivation, but on the last day I got to stay at the Lausanne Palace & Spa (my previous hotel booking bailed out on me and they upgraded me for free) and I took the opportunity to walk around Lausanne, vlog by the lake-side and do some last minute shopping.
It’s been a pretty intense year- a year unlike any other. I know that I’ll probably never get the same opportunity again but I hope that the things that I’ve learnt this year will permeate throughout the rest of my life. I’ve made such great friends and stepped out of my comfort-zone too many times to count. It’s been challenging but worth every high and every low.
I can’t say my French improved that much but I think I’ve gained at least a little bit of confidence in my skills. Hopefully I haven’t left my French skills back in Switzerland and that they stick in my brain throughout my lifetime!
Anyway, a lot of people ask me how I get to travel so much. There’s really nothing to it except for seizing the opportunity of my University degree. I knew since high school that I wanted to go on exchange to a European country and when I was applying for university, there just so happened to be a combined degree that actually made it compulsory to spend a year abroad. So I applied and got it. If you’re thinking of doing the same thing, take a look at International Studies or just ask your university about exchange programs. Once you’ve got the opportunity, the rest just comes down to SAVING MONEY!
All in all, I saved up around $15,000 AUD and had an additional $12,000 AUD in government loans. It’s been a year and I still have a substantial amount of money left so if I wanted, I could probably pay back the loan. It doesn’t cost that much money if you know how to budget and at times, live the cheap life. If you’re with a university program, chances are they might pay your airfares for you as they did mine.
But I’m going to be brutally honest- it’s not about how much money you have or what opportunities arise. If you truly want to do something, you’ll find a means to do it. Don’t make excuses otherwise you’ll never get to experience the things that you dream of. Before I left Sydney, I kept making excuses to back out of my year abroad- fear of the unknown was one of them. But once I stopped making excuses, I just went with the flow and because of that, I got to experience one of the best years of my life.
So yeah. Go out there and do it.
Thanks Switzerland. It’s been a blast of a year.