When people learn that I went to school in Switzerland, I can’t help but feel a bit snobbish. Perhaps this is because Switzerland connotes fine watches, extravagant ski trips and indulgent chocolate for most. But that’s not why I chose to attend Franklin University Switzerland (then Franklin College Switzerland).
I wanted to travel more than anything, and this American school in the heart of Europe makes experiential learning a part of its curriculum with academic travel. Taking the study abroad experience to the next level, every semester, students participate in a class studying site specific topics culminating in a two-week travel led by their professor.
I was lucky enough to attend Franklin for all four years. That means I participated in eight academic travels!
After reading my friend Kate’s reflection on her time at Franklin, I thought I would share some of my first photographs and impressions of Switzerland and more specifically, Lugano, where the school is located — near the Italian border.
The bus ride from the airport was a blur.
Lake Lugano and some rowers for scale.
One of the “regal thieves” Kate mentioned in her blog post: purportedly imported along with palm trees to lend the Paradiso municipality an exotic feel.
An elderly Swiss man wearing sensible shoes resting on one of the iconic red benches that line the lake.
During orientation week, student leaders were tasked with keeping all new students awake to prevent debilitating jet lag from setting in. We were required to sign up for various activities and I opted for a walk to nearby Gandria, a quaint quarter of Lugano.
The view of Lake Lugano from the dock in Gandria.
Illuminati? In Switzerland, you better believe it.
Ticino (Ti-chee-no) is the name of the canton, or region, Lugano belongs to.
Ticino is heavily influenced by bordering Italy. Italian is the primary language spoken there.
I was enchanted right away. Switzerland is so beautiful it was hard to believe I wasn’t dreaming, and to this day, I’m not entirely sure I was ever there.