What Do You Think? – Decisons Aren’t Easy

Hi everyone! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve last been here, but I’ve got something I’d love to hear your opinion about so please do leave a comment if you feel like it.

So I’ve been at uni for a while now and since my bachelor studies are slowly coming to an end my mom is kinda pushing me to do a semester abroad, which I have been thinking about but I am that kind of person that WANTS to do all the things but basically never does them until someone pushes me to do them. I know that this could be a really great opportunity for me to grow, become more independet and get out of my very comfortable comfort zone more.

Now my first instinct and thought was to go to Saint Petersburg, Russia. I have never been there but have always had a huge fascination with the city. I think you could call it my New York City. It migth be because of my favourite childhood movie Anastasia that plays partly in St. Petersburg, but ultimately I do not know the reasons, it’s just the way it is. So, their State University has an agreement with my uni and offers courses in classics, which is my major. They are however in Russian and requier a level of at least B2. Although I am starting Russian as a minor this fall, I’ll only reach level A2, maybe B1, by summer next year. There is however a possibility to visit a Russian course in summer that will prepare you specifically for the Russian courses at the St. Petersburg State University. To conclude, St. Petersburg has always been a city that’s been on top of my list and if I’ll be there for one or half a year it will be a great spot to discover lots of other places I haven’t been to before, like other cities in Russia, Finland or the Baltics. It would have benefits for both my major and my minor. However, I feel like classics, especially the latin and ancient greek classes are hard enough in my native tongue, and will be much much harder in Russian.

Now however, last week I’ve been to Innsbruck, Austria. It is about 4 hours away from Zurich, where I currently study. And I have absolutely fallen in love with the city. I never would have expected it and honestly I haven’t felt this way with any other city or place yet. So naturally I went to check out their uni and they do offer courses in classics too as well as Russian. So again I could do my major and minor. Another plus is of course that it will be all in German, my mother tongue. At the same time of course it is a great possibility to learn and improve another language while staying in the country, but the already challenging courses will be a lot more manageable this way. There would also be no Visa troubles in Austria. I have been to a lot of places in the region already, like Switzerland of course, several places in Northern Italy and Germany. So there will be less to discover than from Russia, but there should still be more than enough. Especially since the tyrol region offers breathtaking landscapes and mountains. And a last point is after falling in love with Innsbruck I have actually been thinking of maybe moving there after my studies. I have always thought about moving to another country but haven’t found a city or place that I truly felt like I wanted to be there for more than a couple weeks. With Innsbruck I feel like I might have found just that and studying there for a year or a half would be a little test for me to find out if this really could become a home to me.

I feel like Russia would definitely make me come out of my comfort zone a lot more and would do for a spectacular time. Austria on the other side is so close to home that I feel kinda weird about chosing it for a term abroad but then again I thought to myself it doesn’t always have to be far away and my choice doesn’t have to impress other people.

So what do you guys think? Where would you go? What pros and cons do you see? Have you been in similar situations?

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SWITZERLAND SECOND – Explained

Chances are you’ve seen at least one of the videos of European countries applying to Trump to become “second”, since America is first, obviously. The whole thing was started by a Dutch late night show, followed by a German one, which then called to all late night shows around Europe to create their own video. #EverySecondCounts was started. Next to the Netherlands and Germany, also Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and Lithuania have joined so far. More countries, such as Slovakia and Luxembourg will release their videos soon, and hopefully more will follow. You can check out all the videos right here (or on YouTube, if the side’s crashing again). They are well worth it and sure to make you laugh.

Whereas I understood all the references in the German video, I felt lost with some of the things mentioned in other countries’ videos. If you felt like that too watching the Swiss video here are some of the references explained that don’t have anything to do with mountains, cheese, gold or money:
(The Swiss video was created by Late-Night show Deville in cooperation with SRF (Swiss Radio and Television) all screenshots are taken from the official video.)

The first ever Bond Girl was Swiss actress Ursula Andress. Now if that ain’t sexy.

And St. Moritz is next level clean. When I visited last spring I felt like I was in an indoors studio because the streets were so clean, but we’ll get to that lovely town later.

This is probably one of my favourites. This is the same square as in the picture above, and shows a Zurich-ian tradition, the Sechseläuten. It takes place every year in April. The Böögg (the snowman) filled with firecrackers (the biggest one in its head) is put on top of a 10 meter high pyre and is then burned at 6.00pm. Once the cracker in the head explodes the time is stopped. The faster it burned the faster summer will come and will therefore last longer. Last year it was pouring down rain and the Böögg took the longest time ever to burn, a full 42 minutes. In comparison, the fastest one burned in under 5 minutes. Whereas the fest in itself is way older, the burning of the Böögg took place for the first time in 1902. You can watch a shortened and private video of the 2010 burnin here.

Joining of the EU is a topic that comes up in Switzerland every once in a while. For example, in 2001 where 76,8% voted against it.

Saint Moritz is a luxury resort in the alps. During the winter season it’s full of celebrities and high-society member, a lot of them Russians.

In the last year there has been a lot of talk about DADA in Switzerland since the movement celebrated its 100th anniversary. Due to the situation in World War I Switzerland and especially Zurich became a place where artists could meet and discussed. Dadaists rejected the logic and aestheticism of modern capitalist scoiety and therefore expressed their art through apparent chaos and irrationality.

DJ Bobo is a Swiss singer and dancer who was part of the EuroDance Scene and basically just put on really big and extravagant shows. Fun Fact: My first ever concert was a DJ Bobo concert that my parents took me and my sister too. The theme were pirates and the whole stage was basically just a huge pirate ship. While I’m a bit embarassed by this now, I can’t say that I didn’t have fun. If you’re up for some crazy shit watch this and this.

Actually, we’ve only won twice. Once in 1956 (I didn’t even know about this one) and once with Céline Dion in 1988 (pictured), and she’s not even Swiss. Watch her performance of Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.

I can see why Trump loves alternative facts so much. Apart from those two times we won, Switzerland probably never got twelve points. For all of you who aren’t familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest, each country that participates has one set of points to give away, and let’s say that Scandinavian countries most give their points to each other, Southern Europeans to each other, etc. But it’s also highly political, for instance a lot of Eastern European countries won’t give points to Russia because politics and history. And since Switzerland is neutral, we’ve never really had any alliances and therefore have no friends at all, it seems. We’re mostly chilling at the lost spots together with Germany and the UK. If we even get into the finals, that is. Most of the time, we don’t. Last year Ukraine won because they’ve been having a tough time and deserved it. So basically, it’s a singing competition but not really a singing competition. But Australia will never understand. 😉

A little nod to Switzerland’s Direct Democracy, or well as direct as it gets. Four times a year we vote on different stuff and basically everyone can propose something and if they get enough signatures we get to vote on it. Pretty cool.

You could call Jass the national game of the Swiss. It’s a card game that uses a different card set than for instance poker or black jack. Fun fact: I even learned how to play it at school. It’s serious business.

The Trumpf is the best card and is officially translated as the Trump Card or simply Trump, because it well, trumps all the other cards. Makes sense.

This organisation is controverse even in Switzerland itself. It’s for people who have non-curable diseases, and the organization assists them with dying in dignity. They don’t just take everyone though, strict rules have to be fulfilled. There are actually several such organizations in Switzerland such as Dignitas, of which you might have heard if you’ve read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes or seen the movie based on it with Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Thus, the term Sterbetourismus, i.e. something like dying-tourism, has been coined.

And a little bit of Roger at the end because it would be sad without him, right?