When people think about Switzerland, a few things immediately jump to mind: fondue, a small pocket knife with a million features, and – most notably – vast ranges of stoic peaks capped with snow. Upon arriving, these impressive giants are hard to miss, and in fact, there is hardly a place that isn’t in some way affected by the Swiss Alps. Although much of my time abroad has been devoted to studying, a full exchange experience would be incomplete without exploring the local landscape and experiencing what the Swiss culture has to offer.
Thankfully, I have been fortunate to meet great people with a taste for adventure during my time in Switzerland. I have traveled to all five of the countries that border Switzerland, as well as a few more along the way, but few compare to the majesty and serenity offered by traversing through the Swiss Alps themselves.
When walking on the side of a mountain, it is easy to wonder how anyone settled in a place such as this, and indeed exploring the small mountain towns give a glimpse into the challenges the locals must have faced in populating such unforgiving terrain. But the people who braved the elements and carved a life out for themselves into these barren rock formations opened the beauty of the Alps to travelers such as myself to enjoy, and for that I am truly thankful.