While outwardly an unassuming nation, Switzerland has plenty to offer those coming from overseas to study, as first semester BBA student Mariia Krasnikova has discovered.
Studying abroad can be a truly transformative experience and, for many, the opportunity to learn in a foreign country is a deciding factor in their choice of educational institution. Glion is no exception, boasting a truly cosmopolitan mix of students drawn from all over the world.
But what does Switzerland have to offer those coming from abroad to study and why are so many students drawn to the famously neutral land-locked nation? We spoke to current BBA student Mariia Krasnikova to find out her first impressions of studying in Switzerland.
“As an international student, the opportunity to study not only in Switzerland but also in London was one of the main reasons I chose Glion,” she says. “However, because it is outwardly quite a calm country, I did wonder whether or not I might be a little bored living here.
“Fortunately, I’ve discovered that’s very much not the case. If anything, I find the serenity of Switzerland an advantage, because being here allows you to focus more on your studies and find your inner Zen while contemplating all the beauty that surrounds you.”
“As an international student, the opportunity to study not only in Switzerland but also in London was one of the main reasons I chose Glion. However, because it is outwardly quite a calm country, I did wonder whether or not I might be a little bored living here. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that’s very much not the case. If anything, I find the serenity of Switzerland an advantage, because being here allows you to focus more on your studies and find your inner Zen while contemplating all the beauty that surrounds you.”
Indeed, from the moment she arrived on campus, Mariia felt she had made the right decision to come and study in Switzerland. And not without reason: the quality of life in the country is exceptional. Mercer’s 2019 Quality of Living Ranking includes four Swiss cities – Geneva, Zurich, Basel and Bern – in the world’s top 15, recognising their safety, outstanding public healthcare, excellent infrastructure and high-quality educational institutions.
Benefits of studying in Switzerland
Swiss educational institutions are respected the world over and, in the field of hospitality teaching, Switzerland has established itself as a global leader. What’s more, the country also has a reputation as a great place to study, with incredible facilities, breathtaking landscape and a truly cosmopolitan lifestyle.
“On the very first day, when we checked in and embarked on the campus tour, I went out to the terrace of the club and met my future friends and teachers,” she says. “It was at that moment I realized I was where I was meant to be. The location was not initially a priority for me, but as soon as I saw that view, I was infinitely grateful I chose this place.
“As for Switzerland, it has its own unique vibe, kind and helpful people, beautiful landscapes, several official languages and, of course, an incredible location. I’m a keen traveler and I love being able to visit other countries within 20 minutes by car.”
First impressions of student life
Still in her first semester, Mariia has adapted quickly to the Swiss way of life and is enjoying the change of perspective studying in a different country offers.
“Studying abroad is, first of all, a great opportunity to gain significant experience both from people from other cultures and from adapting your personality to a new lifestyle, traditions and foundations,” she says. “Since I arrived, I have met wonderful people at Glion with whom I’ve spent time exploring our new home together, traveling and enjoying campus life.
“Switzerland is quite different to my home country in many ways, but I’m becoming better acquainted with everything and I have to say I love it despite the differences.”
Despite settling in well, perhaps unsurprisingly living in a new country has had its challenges for Mariia.
“Honestly, I was not prepared for the fact that people rest at the weekend,” she says. “When I arrived, I was completely shocked to discover it was almost impossible to find a store or restaurant open on a Sunday, but I’m used to it now.
“What was more difficult was getting out of my comfort zone and taking full responsibility for everything I do now I live apart from my family. Thankfully I didn’t suffer any culture shock, but adapting to speaking French most of the time was a challenge and nothing but time, patience and practice helped with that.”
Challenges aside, Mariia has enjoyed a positive start to her academic life in Switzerland and has warmed to her adopted home.
“They say ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and builds character,” she says. “That’s definitely been my experience so far. Moving to another country is always a transformative experience and I have changed significantly during my time here in Switzerland.
“In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about whether or not I want to return to my home country after graduation. I’ve only just started my Bachelor’s degree, so it’s impossible to say how I’ll feel by the end of my time here. Ideally, I want to find the place where I feel most comfortable. Switzerland is doing a great job of that at the moment!”