I am a junior studying Social Justice and Sustainability at Franklin University Switzerland. During the pandemic, I traveled from the United States to Switzerland to take summer classes on campus at Franklin. I know many of you reading this are preparing to travel in a similar way. I want to tell you a little bit about my experience so that you have a better idea of what to expect when making your trek to Lugano.

The first part is the prep that I had to complete before traveling to Switzerland. I needed to make sure that my passport was all sorted and my visa was valid. The authorities will not let you onto a flight to Switzerland unless you have the visa allowing you to travel to the country or a passport from CH or an EU country. Secondly, I had to make sure that I had packed all of the necessary precautions to keep me safe and comfortable. For example, I packed a mask that I could wear when traveling on the plane and in between flights. You will also need a mask to ride public transport in Switzerland as this is currently required here. Another thing that I think is important to bring for transit is your own food. Remember, you may not want to eat the food on the plane, and it is convenient to have if you get hungry. When I traveled through the airport in the United States, the cafés, restaurants, and stores selling merchandise were all closed. On top of this, there is not much more you need to bring for the trip besides just things to make you feel comfortable, such as comfy clothes and a pillow. Just make sure you wash everything as soon as you get to your destination! You may also want to plan the way that you are going to get from the airport to campus. Knowing the times of your bus or train is convenient when you get off the plane and are feeling very tired.

If you are a first-year student, this is a crazy time to be coming to university, but it is also a very exciting time. You are going to meet new and interesting people, live in a place that you may never have experienced, and get to start your Franklin journey. I do have a few recommendations if you are coming to university, especially during this period, and don’t know what to pack.

The first thing would be enough clothes for ten days. This is the perfect amount to bring to Franklin as this equates to both the quarantine period in Switzerland and the length of one Academic Travel course. I would also bring snacks from home, so that you can eat them on the plane and when you are quarantining alone. Having them will help you manage feeling homesick! Something else that is extremely necessary is a computer. This will be super useful during quarantine and will allow you to access important resources at Franklin such as Self-Service and Moodle. Along with a computer, bring a good pair of headphones; these are absolutely key for starting class online in the first weeks. To charge your computer, it is also important that you bring adapters so you can plug your electronics into sockets in Switzerland. Some other things that you will probably want to bring would be your school supplies, such as a backpack to carry your things and pen and paper or some way to take notes during the first week of class. One thing that is easy to pack and doesn't take up much space can be decorations for your room. It is really easy to print out some posters to make your room your own in the first week. The last things you may want to bring are things to keep yourself occupied in quarantine, maybe your favorite book or even a deck of cards.

I also have some recommendations for things that you do not need to stuff into your suitcase. For example, it is better to rent linens from the school rather than bring your own from home, as they would take up a lot of space in your suitcase. All of the linens are thoroughly washed by the cleaning staff at Franklin. Another thing I would recommend would be to wait before buying anything from IKEA. Your ten days of quarantine will give you the chance to figure out what you really need. Then you can go to IKEA to buy them. That way you are not hauling too much from home.

The most important thing that I have to tell you is that, although university can be a scary and tumultuous time, there are so many great opportunities to look forward to. You are coming to a place that is invested in giving you a great experience, you get to learn from amazing professors, and meet people from all over the world. You have the ability to learn about yourself and redefine yourself. Quarantining when you arrive at your new home is going to be a challenge, but Franklin is working very hard to set up events and make your quarantine as fun and comfortable as possible. I hope that you are all excited to come in the fall, as all of us at Franklin are excited to meet you.

Safe travels and see you soon.

Jonathan Bystrowski
Junior (Social Justice and Sustainability​​​​​​)
Franklin University Switzerland

Read Jonathan's previous article on his experiences at FUS during the beginning of COVID-19.