HIGHER EDUCATION: Utopia on earth

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KICKER: A tour of Lucerne in Switzerland helps to broaden the views of Hospitality Management students

I ALMOST felt as though I had found utopia when I first stepped foot in Switzerland.

This country would not fail to amaze you with its beautiful mountainous vistas and wide grasslands.

During the summer, you can see fields with roaming cattle, various kinds of plants and flowers in the countryside and vineyards  full of grapes.

The School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at KDU University College recently gave its Corporate Communication majors the opportunity to  go on a study tour of this country.

Switzerland has some of the best hospitality schools in the world so to get the  chance to visit the country is very fortunate for us indeed.

We arrived in Zurich after a 14-hour flight that included a stopover and our first destination was the IMI University Center in Lucerne.

The institution, which specialises in Hospitality and Tourism courses, was our host throughout our visit.

The campus is very nice as it sits on  the shore of Lucerne Lake  and has a great view of the Alps and the mountains of Rigi and Pilatus.

 The institution is fifteen minutes away from the city centre. Lucerne is in the German-speaking part of the country so some of the buildings have some similarities to those in Germany.

We had a chance to see how the Swiss share some of their culture with the Germans.

The main heritage site is  Chapel Bridge, a 204 metre-long covered wooden bridge that was originally built in 1333 although much of it was reconstructed after a fire in 1993.

There are several paintings in the bridge that describe the events of Lucerne’s history.

Another attraction is Lion Monument in a small park in the city. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred during the French Revolution in 1792.

During our trip, we visited a cheese factory and a chocolate one located in different parts of Switzerland.

The factories’ staff showed us the process of making cheese and chocolate.

The Swiss understand the very important role that food plays in our daily lives.

In order to create the best cheeses and chocolates, the producers use ingredients of the finest quality.

The Swiss share a common perspective — they believe that they should enjoy life to the fullest and not rush everything.

During our visit, we noticed many people enjoying their evenings with their families or friends, as work ends at about 4pm or 5pm.

Wine holds a very special place in their lives and the Swiss appreciate wine more than Asians.

This is no surprise as Switzerland is noted for this alcoholic beverage.

We  found different kinds of wine menus in the restaurants we visited with different price ranges to satisfy the needs of every customer.

Their professional servers can also suggest wines to go with the food you order.

On our visit to a vineyard, we did some wine tasting and had a peek  at the process of making wine.

We learned that the end product is dependent on the grape selection and fermentation process.

Our visit was over after  five days flew by.  

On our way to Zurich Airport on the last day, we kept  our eyes on the scenery as we knew it could be the last time we saw it.  

I miss the mooing of cows that I heard from my room every morning while I stayed at the IMI hostel and the time that I spent with my friends there because they make this trip more memorable.

This educational trip broadened our views and gave us a chance to practise what we learned in our German and French language classes.

It also gave us  a chance to embrace different cultures and   lifestyles, which would be very useful for our future career in the hospitality industry.

The writer is a Bachelor of Hospitality Management (Hons) in Corporate Communications student at the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at KDU University College

Picturesque view of a lake from a vineyard

The Lion Monument that resides in a small park in Lucerne


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