You’ve just moved to a foreign country. With four national languages. With a different currency. You’re living alone. Now what?

When you look at your Franklin experience from the above perspective, studying here can seem pretty intimidating. But fear not – there are lots of ways to make your transition successful, and ways to establish your life here in Lugano and at Franklin.

Tips for Living on Campus

Eating at the Dining Halls

Okay, you’ve figured out your class schedule and which dining halls you can eat at in between or before classes. You have a meal plan but you’re not quite sure how to budget. The meal plan meals, which include a soup/salad/ or fruit and a mixture of entrees (pasta, meat/fish, vegetables), cost around 13 chf. If you have a smaller appetite, you can ask for a half plate/ half portion which costs 10 francs. Keep this in mind on days when you are feeling more or less hungry – it’s an easy way to save 3 francs each time you eat, which you can use to buy beverages and snacks instead. There are always sandwiches and soup available as well, which make a great lunch when you don’t have a lot of time to eat. If you bring your own tupperware and coffee mugs/thermoses to take food and drinks to-go, the dining halls offer a discount. These are simple ways to get the most out of your meal plan!

Cooking and Grocery Shopping on Your Own

You’re in college so that means you’ll be living off of ramen noodles and pizza, right? Well, not quite. In Switzerland it is much more common for university students to eat pasta. But fear not – whether you have a meal plan or not, learning to cook, grocery shop, and budget on your own is an important part of becoming an adult. Given Franklin’s location, you will have easy access to lots of regional Swiss and Italian specialties. When you wake up in the morning, you might want to eat some Swiss Rösti or copy the Italians and eat some biscotti with your morning espresso. You can find almost any food you desire at the stores here in Lugano, but for a better breakdown continue reading below:

Aldi

Depending on where you’re coming from, you may already be familiar with Aldi. This grocer offers many local Bio (organic), gluten/lactose-free options, Fairtrade products, and many Swiss specialties. There is an Aldi located in Agno, a part of Lugano that is reachable by taking the FLP train from Sorengo Laghetto to Agno station.

Coop

Coop has locations in the center of Lugano and the outskirts of the city. It is a popular grocery chain, and like Migros and Manor, sells many options for people with different dietary preferences or allergies. There is a coop located in the center of Lugano, and others in different parts of the city.

Denner

Denner is a grocer that sells food and drinks at fair prices. There is not a Denner located in the center of Lugano, but in the areas and towns surrounding the center there are plenty of Denner stores. Denner tends to carry fewer options than some of the larger chains, but when looking for cooking basics Denner is a great place to go.

Manor

Manor is a large multi-level shop in Lugano that sells anything from electronics to clothing to groceries. They offer a wide selection of fresh produce, fresh breads and baked goods, and fresh made-daily juices. In addition, the grocery area also sells ready made Manor dishes such as sushi and salads/side dishes. In terms of specialty food items, Manor offers many health food items and ethnic items, including Mexican food products, East Asian products, and more. The prices at Manor are not always budget friendly, but they have a great selection of varied products. If you plan on shopping frequently at Manor, you might consider getting a Manor card to get discounts and special offers.

Migros

Migros is another grocer. The larger Migros in the center of Lugano sells household items, clothes, food, and more, but the smaller Migros in the surrounding outskirts of the city center are not guaranteed to sell all of the same products or the same range. Migros frequently has sales and deals, and if you register for the Migros card you have even more options for saving. Migros sells groceries at more student-friendly prices, depending on how and what you eat.

Negozio Leggero

Negozio Leggero a food and medicine concept store located in Lugano. The store aims to reduce the use of plastic containers and sacks, and instead allows clients to bring their own containers in and fill them with a range of environmentally conscious products: oils, vinegars, wines, dried beans and lentils, pastas, gluten free and regular flours, and many special health food products that bigger grocery chains may not supply.

Studying Tips

There is no right or wrong way to study; everyone has their own ways of learning and preparing for exams. However, here a few suggestions that make your time studying more enjoyable and efficient:

Study at a cafe.

This tip might seem a bit obvious, but changing scenery can be very beneficial. While one can also study at the dining halls, but it can really help to take a break from peers and other distractions. Grab a drink and a snack, bring your study materials, and enjoy the Lugano atmosphere while you work. This is also a great way to try out some places to eat in Lugano. Some nice cafes to study and eat at are listed below:

Hair Cafe
Cafe Münger
Sass Cafe Vienna
Ristorante Grand Cafe Al Porto
Vanini Dolce e Caffe
Milk Lugano
Caffe Bee
Manora Ristorante

Utilize the Libraries and the Writing and Learning Center

Students often neglect to take advantage of all the resources available to them. The libraries at Franklin are great places to study alone or with friends. Franklin has online databases and a collection of books, magazines, and newspapers students can use when conducting research. Don’t hesitate to ask a library assistant or the librarians for help finding books or navigating the electronic resources.

Take Advantage of Study Apps

Studying on your own can be challenging, but there are plenty of online resources that can help you prepare for exams, provide grammar and essay-writing tips, and keep you focused.

To enhance one’s skills in another language, many Franklin students use the App Duolingo. Whether you’re refreshing your French or starting to learn Italian, it’s a great app to use to improve your vocabulary, comfort with grammar, and familiarity with colloquial phrases.

These days, maintaining your focus can be difficult when you are bombarded with notifications from social media platforms on your computer. To keep yourself off of distracting sites, the App SelfControl allows you to ‘blacklist’ yourself from certain websites or to ‘whitelist’ the only websites you want to use for a chosen period of time – ranging from 15 minutes to 24 hours.

Other popular Apps like Quizlet or Studyblue allow students to create digital study materials. Whether you are learning new vocabulary in your Introductory Italian course, or whether you need to learn the different functions of international organizations for your Political Science course, these Apps and others are sure to take a load off of your study experience.

Tips for Integrating into the Lugano Community

Being a college student is a full time role, and often students may find themselves spending the majority of their time on campus. At Franklin, there are many events, programs, and activities to attend, but there are also plenty of opportunities to explore the local community. If you have an interest or hobby, you’re sure to find a group with similar interests in Lugano or the greater area of Ticino. There are dance studios, gyms, book clubs, social networking meet-ups, and other opportunities to create your own roots in Lugano. If you’re looking for inspiration for events or meet-ups to attend, there are many websites that can point you in the right direction. Some of these include MySwitzerland, LuganoTurismo, and AgendaLugano, the Ticino homepage, and the Lugano official city website. Even checking the Events Near You section on Facebook could open new doors for you in the local community. In the fall, there are plenty of opportunities to listen to live music, attend food and wine festivals, and in December many countries in Europe put up Christmas and holiday markets where one can buy local and artisan products for the holiday season. The spring semester presents great opportunities for outdoor adventures: in the early months students often take part in snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or some seriously intense Swiss sledding.

Feeling comfortable with and building connections in the local community can only enrich everyone’s Franklin experience.