Friday, July 25, 2008
My Last Day
First off I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful time in Bern yesterday. The weather couldn't have been better and I was surprised to see all of us pretty much around th same age. Hearing our different interests broadened my science scope.
Today is my last day at the anthropology institute and museum at the University of Zürich's Irchel sciences campus. I have cherished my time learning the 'life while becoming a doctor' and the effort it takes for proud research. I feel as though my motivation back home for the next semester and after that will be much different. My assistance at UZH was in a low pressure environment and here I gained a work ethic not based on expectation but honest effort. As Suzanna said, "people working to live." I can not wait to attend classes with this new outlook. I have been to Switzerland many times but never outside of family visits, this has been such a foundational experience. The perspective does not stop at study though, the Swiss seem to make any moment worth their time. Whether it is hiking a mountain, spending the day at a lake, appreciating a Summer festival or cooking with quality ingredients, these people love life. The honored lunch hour is a great example of health and happiness. I really never ran into an explicitly stressed person during my time at the institute, contrary to this I did learn a Swiss idiom: "Sii/Er macht d'Fuscht im sakk" literal translation is "S/he makes her/his fist in the pocket"... to be secretly angry. People were always content and responsible for their reality.
My overall impressions can not be matched to any ideas I thought could have come from this stay. Some positive points, getting to see research steps from the beginning to the end, working in a university research group setting for the first time, and learning public transportation in a foreign city. I don't have any negative points for this experience except the amount of food I have consumed, it all tasted too good. The language barrier was not a challenge since most everyone could speak English and I gained some more understanding in Schwiizer-duetch. I can not compare this research group's mentality and team since I am not participating in one at my university in Boulder, CO. I had just finished my second year and am not involved within a research group at CU. Of course I would love to come back to Switzerland, although not for study since I am unsure of continuing with obtaining a doctorate.
It does not feel as though I have been here since the end of May and yet I have enough memories to fill twice the amount of time. I am very excited to travel out side of the Swiss borders next week after the First of August. A friend and I will start our trip in Geneva for the independence celebrations, then through Paris and eventually up to the Netherlands. ThinkSwiss has given me the opportunity otherwise not possible, most of all they allowed me the experience to work with a Swiss research project. I also must thank the director of this institute, Prof. Dr. Carel van Schaik, for the initial acception, he is an easy going guy and passively taught me you don't have to be serious if you are good, living with passion in your field produces results you are excited to talk about and the more thought and research to back up these ideas the more valuable and credentialed they become. I saw this philosophy in the people he is responsible for, and hope to carry on this motivation. I will always seek out passion as I create a career, even if I don't continue on with a doctorate.
Farewell and it has been soo wonderful to learn more about what each of you do and the Swiss influence. I have one last recommendation, for anyone who has not been to Luzern I suggest visiting the Dying Lion. The story goes: a Swiss officer happened to be on home leave in lucerne when his soldiers were killed in Paris during the French revolution. After the revolution in 1815 he felt obliged to erect a memorial for his fellow soldiers. Above this beautiful art carved into the mountain, there is some Latin "HELVETIORUM FIDEL AC VIRTUTLE" To the Loyalty and Bravery of the Swiss!