To the Lebanon of Europe!

After a long and impatient wait on my side, I have finally finalized everything needed in preparation for studying abroad in Geneva!
First let me explain the title so I don’t confuse people. I am Lebanese, and my country prides itself in the nickname “Switzerland of the Middle East.” Well, personally, I would rather call Switzerland the “Lebanon of Europe”.
So why did I choose Geneva? apart from the academics I wanted to spend time in an old traditional European city – in my mind thats the way to experience Europe (don’t ask) . Being brought up in Beirut and then studying in Georgetown’s Qatar campus in Doha, I never really had the “towny” living experience. Apparently I also found out ( late because of my amazing research skills) that our home stay is actually an hour away from Geneva in a small village in a neighboring canton. So the logic in my mind is that it would be nice to experience Europe in this traditional way and not in a cosmopolitan city that would more or less be like any other large city in the world.
Ironically though, I wasn’t supposed to be in Geneva this spring. I was supposed to be in St. Petersburg in completely different program studying completely diffrent things in fall. But as a Russian citizen, I forgot that I had to serve in the army, and being whisked of to Siberia for a two years doing push-ups in the snow is not my idea of a study abroad experience. So here I am going to Geneva to study french and multinational diplomacy.
The constant thing on my mind now, and also my parents’, is how on earth I will survive the Swiss winter?I know for many of you +5 degrees Celsius is probably summer, but for someone growing up in the Middle East, the worst winters I witnessed had temperatures along the range of + 10! So basically after I returned from vacation in Asia, I spent the remainder of my vacation running around the busy malls and souks (traditional Lebanese malls) buying tons of wool clothes and some contraption named thermal underwear ( which I dont really trust) in hopes of not freezing to death!
As a Lebanese, I am supposed to speak semi fluent French. Thats NOT the case. Even though I can understand virtually everything that is told to me ( if it is said very very slowly), when I speak, my grammar is worse than Star War’s Yoda! So now I am very excited to be able to study the language and gloat in some friend’s face that I will be able to have a command of the language, and even attempt a trench proficiency back at GU.
In any case, I am glad to be able to write to you in this blog. I just hope none of my deans or professors try to read it lest I “slip” and mention something “accidentally” about them that would ruin me. Until next time!

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