Friday, September 11, 2009

Back in New Jersey

I am still surprised how fast my stay in Switzerland passed, it feels like not too long ago I had just arrived there and the memories of all I lived there are still very fresh. After traveling a bit more around other places in Europe new to me and some interesting experiences (like couchsurfing with complete strangers along the way), and a perfect week in Paris to top it off, I'm already back in Rutgers for my last year of college. It seems like it is going to be a busy one, too, as on top of my class requirements I will be continuing the research I started in Zürich with hopes of writing not only my senior but also a paper out of it. Given how hectic these first days back have been, I did take a bit too long to sign off on this blog with my last thoughts on this summer. I will be honest: I am a terrible blogger, and I have not been good at keeping this one updated either. Because of this, I won't try to hide the fact that in this post I'll be mostly answering the final report questions emailed to us, but I hope nonetheless my answers are helpful to someone at some point.

My overall impression of the program was genuinely positive, as I got the chance to do exactly what I wanted to do this summer: to conduct a research project I was interested in, abroad, and to get to know new places, people, and ideas. To be completely honest, I did not have Switzerland as my top choice, it simply was the one place were I found a project that fit my interests best, and thanks to ThinkSwiss I could actually get some funding for it. So I really did not have any specific expectations about Zürich or ETH before my visit. I was immediately struck both by the city and the university, both of which proved to be much more multicultural and open-minded than I might have expected before traveling. The country’s multicultural heritage also impressed me, as I think it makes Swiss people tremendously different from their neighboring countries. My participation therefore exceeded any expectations I could have had before leaving and it has definitely been a defining experience in my academic and personal life.

Aside from the great research opportunity at a top-notch university in my field, this was actually the first time in my life that I’ve moved to a completely different environment on my own. The experience of living in Zürich was therefore tremendously important to me, as well as the opportunity to travel around Switzerland and challenging some of my own preconceptions about the country. Moreover, Switzerland’s location made it really easy to travel around to neighboring countries, which gave me a chance to visit some of the other places in Europe that I hadn’t been to before, such as Amsterdam, Bruges and Paris. Of course, there were also some challenges to my stay as well. My first concern was obviously my complete ignorance in German. I took this positively, though, as a challenge to learn more during the summer. However, in such a short time and given how easily I could get around in English or Italian, I unfortunately still don’t know the language much better. There were hurdles in the lab as well, as there was a problem with the data I received originally, which meant I was stranded for the first part of my stay. When the data finally arrived, it turned out to be in German, so I had to translate it. A better preparation before my arrival could have made the project run more smoothly, but at least this way I learned architectural terms in German! (I’ll let you know if I ever use them again though hehe) Finally, Switzerland is, to be honest, a really expensive place to live in. With no funding from my university in the U.S. or any other source other than the ThinkSwiss scholarship, I did have to make a real effort to make ends meet.

I mentioned the problem I had with the data in the lab and the inconveniences I therefore had to overcome. I should point out, though, that I received lots of help from my peers in the institute to do this. The research team I joined really could not have been any more welcoming, each one of them trying to help me get settled in as soon as possible and making me feel like a part of the group immediately. My group at Rutgers is unfortunately much smaller, and therefore there is not nearly as much of a team feeling as there was at ETH. This not only meant that at ETH each member could have a more specific role within the team, which in turn allowed me to get assistance from any of them as needed, but it also gave me much more of a feeling of camaraderie. I really appreciated the way they interacted with one another, and it generally just felt like a great environment to work in and I really felt sorry to leave at the end of my stay. Given these impressions I received both from ETH and the institute I worked in, I am definitely considering ETH as a very viable possibility for graduate school. I am currently immersing myself in the application process for different universities, so we’ll see where I head to next year.

So this is my final sign off from this blog. Thanks again to ThinkSwiss for providing me with this opportunity, and to all the other participants for a really fun day in Bern! It was great to meet everyone and learn how each one ended up participating in this program, and to all of you, all the best!




Anonymous said...

[b]adobe software retailers, [url=]filemaker pro educational pricing[/url]
[url=][/url] coreldraw 12 program access ms office 2003 proofing tools
oem vs retail software [url=]Pro Mac OS v10[/url] price comparison software for
[url=]autocad lisp[/url] free macromedia flash software
[url=]professional software discount[/url] block for mechanical autocad
store register software [url=]kaspersky virus[/b]

Anonymous said...

[url=]casino guide [/url]
[url=]mississippi river casino boat [/url]
[url=]casinos ruleta [/url]
[url=]harrahs casino north carolina [/url]
[url=]casino descarga pagina internet [/url]
[url=]atlantic city casino locations [/url]
[url=]poker casino game [/url]
[url=]descargar juego de casino gratis [/url]
[url=]hooters casino vegas [/url]
[url=]port vila meridien port vila resort casino [/url]
[url=]blue chip casino [/url]
[url=]virtual online casino [/url]
[url=]anadir url online casino [/url]
[url=]casino latino [/url]
[url=]casinos no download [/url]
aladdin resort and casino in vegas
[b]tercer torneo casino salamanca[/b]
casino make money online
casino resort
[b]casino gioco[/b]
casino las vega
[u]discografia de casino[/u]
casinos on line
shows casino
[b]casino map vegas[/b]
promocion casino online
treasure island casino mn

Anonymous said...


[url=]11 buy cigarette marlboro [/url]
buy cigarette online with an amex where to buy aeros smokeless cigarettes buy cigarettes online native american
[url=]buy all natural cigarettes online [/url]
buying cheap cigarette online djarum black cigarettes buy online buy cigarettes on ebay
[url=]buy cigarettes from overseas [/url]
buy an electronic cigarette buy cigarettes from an indian reservation buy cigarettes in new hampshire
[url=]buying cigaretts online [/url]
where to buy cheapest cigarettes buy more cigarettes you buy cheap cigarettes
[url=]where can i buy cheap cigarettes [/url]
buy electronic cigarettes in canada buy single cigarettes buy bulg e cigarette
[url=]buy english ovals cigaretts [/url]
buy marlboro light cigarettes online age to buy cigaretts in buying cigarettes in egypt
[url=]buy e cigarette in [/url]
must be 18 to buy cigarettes buying legal cigarettes where to buy eve cigarette
[url=]mail order cigarette filter [/url]
age to buy cigarettes in maryland uk legal age to buy cigarettes sundance cigarettes buy online
[url=]cigarettes no tar buy [/url]
alternative cigarettes where to buy buy cigarettes out of the country buying cigarette coupons face
[url=]order ky cigarettes [/url]
buy malboro smooth cigarettes complete cigarettes buy online buy seneca cigarettes on line

Anonymous said...


[url=]buy cigarette carton [/url]
buy a pack of cigarettes online buying cheap cigarette online buying cigarettes online scam
[url=]buy royale cigarettes [/url]
buy cigarettes online for 10.00$ buying cigarettes online scam issues with buying cigarettes
[url=]buy electronic cigarette europe [/url]
buy cigarettes in france buy quest cigarettes online where to buy taxed cigarettes in nys online
[url=]to buy duty free cigarettes [/url]
buy cigarettes online cigarettes online store buy cigarettes for buy cigarettes on-line
[url=]pink cigarettes buy [/url]
illinois taxes and buying cigarettes online buying cigaretts buy cigarette best price
[url=]thailand cigarettes buy [/url]
buy kent cigarettes buy cigarettes under 18 alternative cigaretts buy
[url=]indian reservations buy cigarettes [/url]
buy cigarette accessories marlboro cigarettes buy buying splash cigarette
[url=]buy herbal cigarettes online [/url]
buy me cigarettes maldova cigarettes mail order order european cigarettes
[url=]buy njoy electronic cigarette [/url]
buying cheap cigarettes in the usa mail order cigarettes state tax buy camel blue cigarettes
[url=]buying online l&m menthol lights cigarettes [/url]
order cigarettes indian reservation electronic cigarette buy buying cigarettes online canada