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An amazing ex­change se­mes­ter in Chur

Veronika Haid is an exchange student from SRH Dresden School of Management. She is currently studying a second semester at the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons.

If you love the mountains as much as I do, you absolutely must take the chance to spend some time in Switzerland. What could be better for a student than an exchange semester? It must be said that I had a regular timetable and demanding lectures to attend, but leisure time and cultural enjoyment were not neglected in any way.

The city of Chur, with its beautiful old town centre, has some nice cafés, bars, and restaurants to offer, as well as various shopping and sports facilities. As Covid had to close the gastronomy, I was unfortunately not able to try out everything that interested me. But I am anxious to catch up when the opportunity arises.

Nevertheless, I had a very active and eventful time. There are so many things to do here. The location is ideal for nature lovers and those with an affinity for sports, but city travellers also get their joy.

In the past six months, I started exploring the surrounding area with friends while the temperatures were still summery and wearing a T-shirt. For example, hiking in and around Flims and Laax, combined with a cooling swim in Lake Cresta. Also, worth mentioning is the climb to the Spitg platform to get a unique 270-degree view of the entire surrounding panorama, with a special highlight, the Rhine Gorge: clear turquoise-green water nestled in the stony canyon and surrounded by green conifers, in the background a blue sky, bright sunshine and, as a contrast, snow-covered mountains.

Various hikes in Lenzerheide or Arosa were always a great experience. Not to forget a visit to Davos, with a walk around Lake Davos or a trip to the Dischma or Sertig valleys. Sometimes they were longer, sometimes shorter tours, but always wonderful. I can also highly recommend walking across the water bridges or along the lakeside in Lucerne or enjoying Sankt Moritz with all its charms, especially the surrounding landscape.

When winter came and a visit to Walenstadt and Lake Walen was on the agenda, I was very surprised by the Mediterranean climate when I arrived. Quinten in particular, a local community in the canton of St. Gallen, is one of my most memorable experiences. We reached the secluded, idyllic settlement on the northern shore of Lake Walen with a varied hike. Sometimes it was through the forest, uphill, downhill, past springs, over river bridges or simply at a decent height along the lakeshore. In the village itself, I liked the architectural style. The return trip by boat, with a cool breeze around the ears and the setting sun reflected in the water, made the excursion something special.

A city weekend in Geneva and Lausanne in the run-up to Christmas was again an enormous contrast to the previous experiences. Communication was in French; the traffic was much heavier and what I particularly liked was the Christmas sea of lights. On the way back to Chur, a detour to historic Bern rounded off the city experience.

I also enjoyed culinary delights in pleasant company: Fondue and raclette as well as Älpler macaroni or Kaiserschmarren in the shared apartment or during a cookery evening with friends brought culture and socialising into the virtual lecture routine of the past semester.

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