Arriving in Lausanne, the first days, admin bonding and getting ready...

British writer Alan Watts once said,

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance!”

Bienvenue a Lausanne!

In true South African style, my fiance and I decided that it was not enough merely to move to Switzerland – we needed to make a holiday out of it as well. After spending a magical four days in Amsterdam, it was finally time to board the train for my ultimate destination and home for the next year to come – Lausanne. We arrived at Lausanne Gare on Monday, 6th January 2020, one of the later arrivals of the Mighty Ninety group. With the generous assistance of my new roommate, Dennis, we made our way through the pristine streets of Lausanne, my life packed into two enormous and heavy suitcases. As I pushed open the door to our new top-floor apartment, I breathed a sigh of relief (not least of all because I was finally rid of the 40 kg of luggage I had been hauling intercontinentally) – the time was finally here!

First things first – recycling. I am ashamed to say that in South Africa we fall entirely short in this regard. Although some people do recycle, it is far from being a national priority. The intricate Swiss system of strict separation and prompt disposal has truly impressed me. Since my arrival there have been a few occassions when I have stood haplessly in the middle of a room, trying to decide how to correctly dispose of my purple coloured semi-plastic sweet wrapper with its paper thin inner layer.

Another eye-opener was my trip to the grocery store. I guess it will be a high-vegetarian, low-carnivore diet for the next year, I thought as I glanced furtively at the unaffordable loin chops in the centre of the display cabinet. A visit to La Poste was next as I posted an urgent package to Zurich. Imagine my surprise when I was told that it would arrive early the following day (a feat unimaginable by South African post office standards).  All-in-all, a good first day in Switzerland.

With a mixture of excitement and trepidation I stepped onto campus on the morning of 7th January for our first day of orientation. What would it be like? Would I rise up to the challenges ahead of me? How would I remember everyone’s names? The day passed amidst a flurry of housing and insurance presentations, posing for professional photographs (tilt this way, smile, no teeth please, look serious, no not so much, move your face … no not like that). The university was abuzz with excited chatter – which “snowpants” to purchase for the weekend’s getaway, which cellphone company to choose, where the nearest Decathlon was situated …

A few hours later, as the sun streamed through the glass windows during our lunchbreak in the picturesque IMD canteen I marvelled at the sheer talent and expertise around me. How privileged am I to be sitting here, in this beautiful environment, surrounded by the most diverse group of professionals imaginable, all enjoying a delicious lunch with our loved ones by our side and ready to embark on the journey of our lives. I can’t wait! The bonding and fun has started and the WORK is about to start!

Can I just say another shoutout to the IMD team! The classroom is ready for us and here we go!


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