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An Ode to the Swiss Transport System

By Savita Potarazu

I think my favorite part about studying abroad here in Switzerland is the SwissPass that SIT gives us at the beginning of the semester. This beautiful red piece of plastic grants us students the privilege to hop on and off buses and trains with ease. It also gets us 50% off on some cable cars and ski lifts. Having this mobility has made this whole semester such a breeze and an incredible adventure. And while Swiss efficiency was just a rumor to me before I got here, I can personally confirm that it is real and it truly is a marvel. The SBB train has its own app and gives you directions on how to get to your desired destination. If for some reason there is a problem, it usually keeps up with delays and notifies users of construction sites that could be an issue. Quite frankly, I will probably miss this aspect of study abroad the most. I’m not sure I have readied myself to return to the organized chaos of DC traffic but I guess I should get on that...

My homestay is merely a 6 minute bus ride from centre ville, or central Nyon, where the train station is. From Nyon, there is a 15 minute train ride to Geneva and the airport or I could head east and go anywhere in Switzerland. Now that we are in our Independent Study Project (ISP) research period, we have a lot more flexibility with our schedules to go explore this picturesque country. The trains are also very well-maintained and equipped with water closets (WC), aka restrooms, restaurant cars, wifi (some), and outlets. It’s truly a luxury. Just this past weekend, my friends and I took a day trip to Lucern, a true gem, and we were able to get work done on the quiet car and still enjoy our day out. I guess we too are becoming Swiss efficient?

Although the cost of the SwissPass was factored into the tuition, I’m still very grateful that it exists and that SIT decided to provide it to its students because that was not the case merely three years ago. I cannot imagine how much of a hassle it would be to purchase a ticket every time we students wanted to go explore a new part of Switzerland. We are a really lucky bunch!