Bienvenue à Genève!

Ioana is currently studying abroad in Geneva, Switzerland.  At UVa, she studies Foreign Affairs and Psychology and is a member of the Class of 2012.  
Hey guys! So this is a week late in coming of course, but most of that is due to me forgetting to bring my computer charger with me (of course that’s the one thing I forget). And with the high prices in Geneva the cheapest I could find was 100CF (Swiss Francs)…Woot!
Now that I can finally start updating on what I’ve been up to in Geneva, I have a few days worth of posts; I’ll keep them short and interesting though…
I wanted to start off with some of my first impressions of Geneva because it really is very different from many European cities I’ve been to (interspersed with pictures so you don’t get bored; hover over picture to see description):
  • The city is very international; you can tell by the languages you hear as you pass people, the way   they dress, and the restaurants and businesses you see around the city. A lot of the guidebooks I’ve read say that the Swiss don’t have a strong nationality; that people have a strong affinity with   their individual villages, but not with the country as a whole. From my first impressions I’d say that’s spot on but that could change.
  • The population seems to be on the young side; I see a lot of students and young professionals. Visitors are older but they usually come to town for conferences at the UN.
  • A scavenger hunt that took us around the entire city took us about 2.5 hours to complete, which shows how small the city is. Granted I still haven’t figured it out too well (I walked for 10 minutes one day before I realized the grocery store was in the other direction), but I think in a month I may start to get cabin fever. The size just surprises me because it is such an important international city.
  • People are very polite, not necessarily nice, but polite. I went for a run and everyone I passed smiled at me as I went by; not something I expected when in the US people don’t look up for fear of exposing more face than necessary to the wind, and Geneva is colder. They are also very patient; I’ve tried to speak French whenever possible and they actually let me continue in French and respond to me the same. They don’t switch to English as soon as they hear my broken French.
  • And I think what really sets Geneva apart is how ridiculously expensive everything is, considering how much just a computer charger cost me. With the price of meat at 11CF (about $11) for a small chicken (and I mean tiny), I may just have to become a vegetarian…the horror!!
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