I approached everything with an open mind during my Fulbright grant year abroad. By being in a new continent, everything is a new experience.
Upon arrival, I did my best to first get involved with my hobbies like playing tennis and working out. I joined the LUC Tennis Team which allowed me to play competitive inter-collegiate tennis across Europe while traveling with my team to other countries like France and Monaco. Through my tennis team members, I met a lot of other people at my university. This same approach applied for friends I made through rock climbing and spending time at the gym. More so, I branched out through my peers and advisors in my research lab. Working in the lab of the president of the institute had its perks because everyone wanted to talk to me and know what kind of research I was doing. This really helped me to be proactive and talk to others. Even though English is the most common language used in Lausanne, I took French classes to learn the language and this was one of the best venues of meeting new people.
My research lab colleagues and friends exposed me to the culture: the food, the community events, festivals, and everything else that came with living in a new part of the world. In lab each week, we either had potlucks or some type of food available for people to try. Through this alone, I got a chance to try a lot of Switzerland’s chocolate. More than the food, my lab also had people who have got me involved with skiing and indoor Swiss ball. As I got to know more and more people, I slowly enveloped into new activities and started to embrace the Swiss culture.
Varun Yarabarla – Fulbright to Switzerland 2016