William - University of Lausanne

Bachelor of International Studies
Semester 1, 2018
My exchange was an unforgettable experience and quite possibly the best 6 months of my life!

Academic experience

I studied all French language and French/Francophone/Swiss culture subjects. They were very helpful in improving my level of spoken French, which was one of my primary goals on exchange. Some of the challenges included that the registration process was very self directed. I had to take the initiative to enrol in my subjects and plan my timetable. It wasn't as easy as UQ's system. I found the level of academia to be comparable to that of UQ and although challenging, it was nothing I couldn't handle.

Personal experience

I gained a lot from my exchange. Most notably was increasing my independence as I did quite a bit of solo travel. As mentioned before, my French also significantly improved and I now consider myself solidly at B2/C1 level. I managed to travel a lot during my exchange, visiting over 15 other countries and all the major towns, cities and attractions of Switzerland. Some of the highlights overall were snowboarding, hiking and paragliding the Swiss alpes, freediving between the tectonic plates in Iceland, and sailing the coast of Croatia.

Accommodation

I lived in student housing not too far from the university through "FMEL". This was by far the best option and would strongly recommend it to future students.I really enjoyed the social aspect of my living arrangement and the convenience of being close to uni.

Costs

Overall, I spent roughly 20,000 AUD. This was including a lot of travel though. I think the exchange could be done for as little as 10,000 AUD although this would very much restrict travel opportunities both abroad and within Switzerland as it is a very expensive country.

Professional Development

Mainly the significant improvement of my French language abilities.

Highlight

Sailing for two weeks in Croatia with friends from all around the world.

Top tips

Join ESN and go to all their events. They are heavily subsidised and by far the most fun and cost effective way to explore Switzerland (you'll need every penny). It's also a great way to make friends.