Dear 2021, A Warm Welcome From FUS! P.S. New Blogger

Ciao & Hello!

It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new life. And with the 2021 spring semester at Franklin University Switzerland just starting up, the majority of FUS students have started settling back in on the Lugano campus after the winter holidays.


Here’s a little update. While most students went home for the month away to visit family for the holidays (as I have), some stayed to experience Switzerland at a deeper level. Nevertheless, most are back now with the exception of a few students staying with family plus those who've graduated and the many USC study abroad's that quickly became close friends, which we had to say goodbye to with a heavy heart. Alas, the show must go on! FUS stretches out their arms to welcome around 30 new students (as I’ve been told by word of mouth) from partnering universities, Virginia Tech and Emerson College, and those who transferred.


Currently, students are all keeping busy with a plethora of online classes, interactive zoom calls, and independent trips with close friends. Nonetheless, those at FUS know exactly how to make the best of every situation, so I’d be surprised if people don’t have stories to tell when they go back. Also, we’ve taken steps as a community to stay close and productive despite the constraints due to Covid-19. Furthermore, while following the rules of social distancing and using masks, as some restrictions go down, the possibility of small in-person classes and meetings have begun to appear. Both students and faculty are prepared to navigate this in a safe manner.


On another note, to address the baby elephant in the room, I've been granted the authorship of this blog! I'm extremely excited to take this job up, but I see it more as a constructive hobby.


(Psst.. though I’d be more than happy to collaborate with fellow students in the upcoming semesters if the opportunity arises. Co-collaboration has always been a goal for this blog.)


Nevertheless, thanks for sticking around, and here’s my (hefty) hello alongside two pictures of me. I’m not used to writing about myself but I gave it a go, and I’ll already consider you a friend if you read it all. :) 



My name is Lara Decastecker and I’m a 2nd-semester freshman. I’m both American and Hispanic, though I’ve originally lived in the suburbs of Ohio all my life. I took some classes at my local community college so I’m set to potentially graduate in May of 2023. (Hopefully) I’ll be able to double major in International Relations and Social Justice and Sustainability. I’ve still got to declare tho! However, I absolutely love the idea of both majors; IR, a concrete pathway into the world of politics, and SJS, allowing me to expand on my knowledge in academic interests such as cultural studies and various environmental issues. Those are just my aspirations as of right now. Besides that, I love to journal about absolutely everything, draw portraits for fun (feel free to ask), explore Switzerland with friends, and go to concerts. If only that were possible right now.


(Example of a drawing of my roommate) 



But outside of my personal details... How did I find myself at FUS? My fellow students might relate while those who are prospecting can get a feel for what they’re signing up for!


Overall, I wanted a real international experience in a liberal arts university where I could experience traveling to places I’ve never been to before. I’ve already been exposed to Latin America and normally travel there once a year so that was out of the picture for my ideal. Also, schools in the US didn’t catch my interest in regards to offering me a different environment. Then, the prospect of studying in Europe came to me. Perfect, I’ve never been before. FUS offered that to me with the location and Academic Travel. At first living in Switzerland was a total culture shock (in a good way) but to no surprise at all, I grew to absolutely adore it here. Plus, though I’m close with family back home and chose to pursue a long-distance relationship, distance from home has proved to be difficult but certainly not close to impossible. 


Truthfully, I knew I'd be able to feel independent here while also growing and learning about myself. Fully immersing myself in Italian has been wonderful as well, as living with the locals has made the experience of learning a new language much more special. I know I’ve made the right choice, and thanks to the support of my friends, the faculty, and family, I’ve never regretted coming here since I wouldn’t have gotten the same college experience anywhere else.


Now, why do I write for the blog?


The answer is similar to all my predecessors. In simple terms, to give a human touch in informing everyone and anyone interested in the Franklin experience. For a good year, I saw this blog as an extremely helpful resource which gave me the impression of my dream university by current students. I treasured it greatly. Truthfully, this blog was the cherry on top of me committing to FUS. And with my love for writing, I wanted to continue both the legacy of past writers and add to a platform I’m grateful for. Plus, it’s a way to catalog many aspects of my FUS journey and I’m appreciative of that.


If you've made it to the end, I'm appreciative of you! I'll be writing approximately once a week, but I'll leave the topic specifics as a small surprise as you come back around. I'm open to feedback and topic ideas as well, as I hope this blog to be a helpful and up to date resource for all.


Till' out next meet up via the web! I'm planning to post every Saturday!


Ci vediamo presto!

(We will see each other soon)


Lara


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