Studying in Switzerland and at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) in particular offers a lot of advantages. Below you can find a short list of things I think you cannot miss out on during your time here:
Get some good karma by helping with a good cause. Whether it’s your local forest that needs some cleaning up or a school building in Kenya that needs funding, volunteering makes a difference. It will make the world a slightly better place and, in the process, also make you feel better about yourself. And of course, it does not hurt to have that good deed mentioned on your CV. At EHL you will find it easy to get in touch with charities through the “EHL Smile!” Committee, which brings me directly to point 2 of my list…
2. Join a committee
No matter where your interests lie, the 24 committees at EHL have got you covered. I could write a book about all the activities offered by all the clubs and organizations, but you’ll have to make do with a short introduction to just some of the committees. Students belonging to YHS (Young Hoteliers Summit) for instance organize an impressive yearly gathering of hospitality professionals and students where relevant topics sweeping the industry are discussed. Several sports committees keep students in motion after a long day; whether you prefer ice hockey, volleyball, basketball or football, no one has to sit around on the couch all night. DSS (Distinguished Speaker Series), as the name suggests, regularly invites high level guests from renowned companies, such as IHG, Hyatt or Accor to the university where they discuss fascinating subjects. And lastly, the WeWine committee organizes great wine tasting events and trips to vineyards in Switzerland and its neighbor countries. (See point 3.)
3. Drink a glass of wine in the Lavaux vineyards
The renowned Lavaux vineyard terraces just east of Lausanne were added to the list of the UNESCO world heritage sites in 2007 and on a trip there you will immediately see why. The beautiful slopes along the Lac Léman, where vines have been cultivated for almost 1000 years, offer a stunning view on the lake and the adjacent Alps. Go enjoy a Chasselas in of the charming village cellars or private "carnotzets" (traditional bars), managed by wine growers or those passionate about wine.
4. Throw a house party
Psssssht, don’t tell your potential landlord, but this is one that you’ll want to get off your bucket list sooner rather than later. Throwing a bash at your place is not only a great way to ruin your new furniture but also to get to know a lot of people and quickly make new friends. If you don’t feel like messing up your place there is always the alternative of taking a group of friends to a club downtown to one of the many student parties organized by your peers (including the incredible “Fête Final” – EHL’s Graduation Party - at the end of every semester).
5. Eat fondue
This classic I just could not leave off the list. The creamy Swiss cheese delicacy will make your mouth water. You may have had fondue, but until you have tried it prepared by a Swiss kitchen who know what they’re doing, you haven’t truly lived. My tip: Take a few friends and drive to the fairytale-like village of Gruyères about an hour north of Lausanne. This is where the famous cheese originates and where it is prepared to perfection. You can thank me later.
6. Invite your family for a dinner at BDS
The “Berceau des Sens,” or BDS for short, is EHL’s own gastronomic restaurant featured in the famous Gault & Millau guide. Have an Apéro at the cool BDS Bar before heading over to the beautiful dining area where students serve a delicious selection of skillfully prepared dishes. Don’t miss out on the spectacular cheese platter and make sure to ask the student sommelier about the wines they are serving. Even if you’re no expert, it is a great display to have them tell you all they’ve learned so far in their courses. Your family or friends will love you for bringing them here – and as a student you get a substantial discount on the whole deal!
7. Go skiing in the Swiss Alps
Switzerland in winter is magical. Once you have left the city and its soggy grey snow-sludge behind you, Verbier, Crans-Montana, Laax, Gstaad, Adelboden and countless other ski resorts in the Swiss Alps invite you to spend a couple of days racing down the slopes. Though it can be a bit pricey at times, it is definitely worth the trip.
8. Travel Europe
Switzerland itself is, of course, worth exploring but its location in the very heart of Europe is the optimal base for you to start jetting around Europe. London, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Prague, Paris, Copenhagen, Munich, Vienna, Warsaw and many more vibrant cities are just a short flight or train ride away from Lausanne. You will have plenty of time on your hands during study breaks to go discover the diverse character of the old continent – and you definitely should!