Week number two is in the books.
To begin, this week I went to back to Geneva’s old town to go to the Cathedral of Saint Peter and also the archaeological site underneath of it. In my opinion, doing such a thing is probably the biggest difference between the United States and Europe. First, I went to the archaeological museum. Here, I was able to see un-earthed stone, pottery, and other historical artifacts that pre-date even the Roman occupation of Geneva. Walking through this museum blew my mind as I thought back to the history that had occurred right where I was standing. That is something that can’t be found in the United States; our history only dates back to the 16th/17th century. The Cathedral had different stages throughout its history, becoming larger and larger with each addition it garnered. After that museum, I actually went into the Cathedral. The Cathedral was originally Catholic but, as Geneva has been referred to as the home of the Protestant Reformation, it does not look as it did back in the 14th century. The Protestants took down all of the beautiful decoration that the cathedral once had, so the inside of the Cathedral is pretty bare, but it’s vast size is still astonishing on its own. I was also fortunate enough to make the trek up both winding staircases to the top of the Cathedrals two watch towers. The staircases could make anyone claustrophobic but the view from the top was worth it:
The Cathedral, as was historical wisdom, was built on the highest point in the city, making this an even greater vantage point. Overall, an incredible experience that was right down the street.
Also this week, all of the IR students got the opportunity to visit the U.S. Mission to the U.N. here in Geneva. Yet another great experience not that far away and it felt good to be back on U.S. soil, even if it was only for a few hours. At the mission we were able to speak with the head of the public diplomacy department about his career, becoming a foreign service officer, the state department at large, and the mission itself. It was a very fun talk and he had a lot of insight for anyone, including myself, with interest in joining the state department.
On the way back, I passed The United Nations and hopped off the tram to take pictures. It looks quite a bit nicer, aesthetically at least from the outside, than the building in New York and I hope that I will get the opportunity to go inside at some point during my time here.
Those are the things of interest that happened this week. While the east coast has been stuck in snow, it has been 50°F and sunny here in Geneva. I think I have lucked out, at least this far. Classes have begun to get rolling so that is taking up more of my time but I’m hoping to do even more this week that I can talk about.
My French has continued to be mediocre. I can always get by and get my point across at the very least, I just still wish I was better at understanding what was being said to me. I think I am going to watch some French movies or something in order to better my understanding but I also think just living here and eavesdropping on the conversations around me will also help. Actually, when I went to get my swiss cell phone, the gentleman working at the Swisscom store who was helping me only spoke French and we were able to complete the entire transaction that way and I was pretty proud of that.