Living in Switzerland

- 10 mins

Well, as I stated in my previous post, I have been living in Switzerland for the past 4 weeks, and am here till mid-July. I am here for an internship at the Laboratory of Robotics and Automation at Haute Ecole d’Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de Vaud (HEIG-VD). Yeah, I know it takes a while to digest the name.

It has been an amazing experience up till now. I have made various friends from all parts of the world. And I also managed to do some traveling during my stay here at Yverdon-les-Bains.

Of course, in this extremely connected world with Internet, it’s not hard to find whatever you’re looking for, so I had already done my research before coming here. I knew that Yverdon would be a small town, and I would be doing traveling since it would be my first time in Europe, so I ordered a EURail pass for myself online, and luckily I got an extra travel day because of an offer that was going on at the time I bought it. I bought a 4 country pass for 8 (+ 1 free day) travel days covering France, Italy, Switzerland and the Benelux (Belgium-Netherlands-Luxembourg). Yes, the Indian in me wanted to optimize and get as many countries to travel as possible. :stuck_out_tongue:

By the time I am writing this blog post, I have had the chance to explore almost most of Yverdon, (though I haven’t really went to the best part of the city, as people say, the Neuchatel Lake, but I hope I will go soon), go hiking to Le Chasseron (a Mountain Peak in Jura Mountains), a little bit of Vevey and Aigle (Thanks to my uncle), some of Lausanne (Just Port d’Ouchy and nearby places), and also La Rochelle in France (I know this is really an odd one out, but a friend is doing an internship there, so visited him), meanwhile stopping at Paris (momentarily though, and even then it was raining), Niort, Strasbourg, Basel and Olten in the round trip.

A major personal development for me has been learning how to cook, as I had never really done it before. I already knew I would have to do this before coming here, because thanks to Swiss prices, you can’t eat at a restaurant outside if you plan to spend less than 20 CHF for a basic one-time meal. Through various tests and experiments followed by failures, I have managed to learn few basic dishes including Pasta, Omelette, French Toast, Salads, along with some Indian dishes like Dal (Lentils) and Pulao, using the knowledge imparted to me in the 1-2 days of my stay at home before coming here. I also got the chance to eat dishes from various parts of the world, thanks to my friends at the university, we organize something called an International Dinner, where everyone cooks and brings some dish(es) from their country’s cuisine and then we eat together.

There also have been few events and parties organized by the student group called AGE at the university, like a Mafia-themed soirée (evening party), a Spanish free buffet (Tapas) with complementary drinks like Sangria, Mojito and Tequila, and the Baleinev Festival (A music festival held annually in Yverdon), and I enjoyed every moment of them.

Leaving all the personal stuff aside, I have found that Swiss people put emphasis on quality in everything, and live a much richer life in all aspects. There is absolutely no pollution that I have seen myself (no noise pollution and emissions from cars are minimal), and a majority of the country’s electricity thrives on hydroelectric power. Also, Switzerland has a very high recycling rate (almost all of the trash is segregated into different containers, and recycled accordingly), and the citizens are very rule-abiding. It is an absolute pleasure to walk and cross the roads, when people stop their vehicles to let you go (a very rare sight seen (or maybe not) in India).

Most of the cities and towns are well connected through the railway network, and you can even take your bicycle inside the train, making your travel even easier. People here love to go on hiking, mountaineering, and other expeditions, and I was surprised to see such an organized hiking trail with signboards at every 2-3 miles.

And yes, did I mention the blazing fast Internet speed that you get here? 700 Mb/s is pretty normal at the university, and the one at my accommodation might be a little less, around 300 Mb/s. :stuck_out_tongue:

Finally coming to my work, I feel delighted to work with my professor. He has an experience of more than 20 years in his field, and he’s a pretty chill guy when it comes to discussing any problem with him. My project involves building a bridge between the existing framework in use here, i.e Piaget (named after a Swiss psychologist) and the Robot Operating System (ROS), while developing models for the different equipment present in the lab. I, along with my co-interns got the chance to exhibit various demonstrations at the SwissEurobot competition, and also got to see some pretty amazing robots that were made by teams from all across Switzerland, Germany and France. Not to mention that we got free food and beer on the last day (so much that I got few bottles back home!).

All this was just for the month of May, and I look forward to having more and even better experiences in the upcoming months of June and July, about which I’ll keep blogging. :smiley:

Till then, Ciao!

Abhinav Jain

Abhinav Jain

Student. Hacker. Loves Music and Travel.

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