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From Canada to Switzer­land

I left for Switzerland on September 3rd. It was the longest and most tiring trip I had ever
done. Maybe when people think about Canada, it may only be an 8 hour flight, but not for
me. I come from the west side of Canada, a province called British Columbia.

Pictures of Wells Gray Provincial Park

Wildfire devastations

This trip, I had to travel two hours from my home city, Kamloops, in the interior to Kelowna
where I would fly outwards to Toronto where I would then have a 15 hour layover followed by
a delayed flight. My province was raging with wildfires, and I was scared I would not make it
on time to Switzerland as the airport I was supposed to leave from was closed, but the
International Office was so kind and understanding. This amount of time was so awkward I
couldn’t do anything, so I just stayed in the international departures, awake the whole time.
By this point I was awake for almost 30 hours. Eventually I made it to Switzerland, and I met
up with my buddy who is the sweetest ever!

My first impressions of Switzerland were wow, what a landscape. For someone coming from
British Columbia, known for its wide range of natural beauty, and coming to a country that is
just as pretty, it can be hard to tell which is prettier! I never thought I would surround myself
around the Swiss Alps, which are just so incredibly breathtaking. Swiss air is also so clean,
something I wish I had back in British Columbia, because every year we always get wildfires
and smoke, so it is nice to breathe fresh air, and constantly too.

Skyview of Switzerland

The way FHGR had set up classes was so much different from my own process back at my
home university, Thompson Rivers University (TRU). At TRU, I would select courses on my
own, and sometimes there are multiple classes of the same course so I can choose times as
well. However with FHGR, they do that all for you. I was not used to having one course
every few weeks. Back in TRU, if I had Digital Storytelling class on Friday at 15:00-17:00, it
would always be on Friday at 15:00-17:00. This means I have to constantly be checking my

During my free-time, I never had actually properly taken a look around Chur. So I did!
Bahnhofplatz is conveniently a 10-15 minute walk from Konvikt, where I am staying. Buses
are always on time, something that is not common where I am from. Even all the stops have
a display time when they arrive which was so convenient, and I did not have to wait long at
all. Even the trains are on time. Chur is extremely clean as well. I had never seen a place so
litter-free, including the transportation. I even saw one guy cleaning the train tracks.
However, transportation is also very costly. To find a train ticket costs nearly 50 CHF from
Zurich Flughafen to Chur was a lot, which is without the half-fare. At the time of writing this
blog, the current exchange rate from one Canadian Dollar to Swiss Franc was 1 CAD to
0.66, which meant I was paying more for Swiss Francs. However, for the fact the trains are
always on time (sometimes 1 or 2 minutes late at the most!!), and how clean and fast they
are, I think it is alright!

Photograph of mountain coming from Basel to Chur


Basel SBB

Coming from Kamloops, a city of about 100,000 people, Chur is like the perfect size for me
to move to. It is not too big, and even if it has a population of 34000-36000 people, I didn’t
feel overwhelmed or suffocated by the city. It is the perfect size, and had absolutely no
reason to be so cute! People here are so friendly, but making friends in Switzerland is hard.
Everyone will smile, and always greet you. I love Switzerland so much! I am so glad to have
come here.

LiFei Liu-Calver is an exchange student from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, Canada. She is currently studying in the Creative Media and Digital Innovation International Exchange Program at the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons.

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