Half Marathons in the Swiss Alps & a Trip to Budapest!
Lachlan Arthur
ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Global Society Foundation Scholarship Recipient 2016​​​​​
Valerie Hoogstad Scholar Award Recipient 2016

Before I applied to go on exchange 12 months ago, I knew I’d miss my family, the familiarity of studying at ANU, and be extremely jealous when I saw my friends back at college having a good time (observing O-week via Snapchat was particularly hard).  This in mind, I put ETH Zürich at the top of my list because of its reputation as one of the best scientific institutions in the world and because of the opportunity it would give me to work in some incredible labs.  Weighing this up, the choice of sacrificing 6 months of living in Australia for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to study in Switzerland and travel Europe was an easy one to make.  Now that I am two months into my time in Switzerland, and only a week away from the halfway point of my semester at ETH, I am glad to say that my exchange has been everything I had hoped it would be!
I have also had some uniquely ‘Zürich’ experiences over the last month, including climbing the Uetliberg (Zürich’s local mountain) in a mob of people carrying flaming torches, having a traditional Swiss barbeque over an open fire in the mountains, and participating in the university sports club’s traditional full-moon run through the forests surrounding the city with only the moonlight to guide us.  I also made the trip out to Oberriet, a small town on the Swiss-Austrian border, to run in the Rhylauf half marathon.  The town, which is surrounded by the Swiss Alps on one side and the Austrian Alps on the other, was a beautiful place to have my final official run before I take on the Paris marathon this month.
"It also provided me with the highlight of my month as unlike the usual medal and Powerade
I am used to receiving when I finish a run, this time I was greeted with a huge loaf of bread when
I crossed the line!  I later found out that the bread is called Zopf, and it is a Swiss tradition to bake
and eat it on Sundays– nevertheless I was stoked to be awarded bread instead of a medal!"
Of course, no month on exchange would be complete without a trip away, and I was lucky to spend the past weekend exploring Vienna and Budapest, which are two of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited.  Usually I am not a huge fan of the arts, but I made an exception and went to the opera in Vienna (which, being in German, really put my language skills to the test).  I also made visits to the Schönbrunn Palace and the houses of Mozart and Sigmund Freud in Vienna, while eating goulash soup and Paprikash chicken at the Fisherman’s Bastion while overlooking the Hungarian Parliament Building was certainly a highlight of my time in Budapest.

April is set to be the biggest month of my exchange yet.  This weekend I head to Paris to see if all my training has paid off as I take to the streets with 60,000 others for all 42.195km of the Marathon de Paris.  Then the following week I will be making the most of Easter and the mid-semester break by heading to Milan with some other exchange students I have met in Zurich, where I will also meet one of my friends from ANU who is currently on exchange at Exeter in the UK. In Milan, we will pick-up a campervan and set off to cover as many kilometres across Italy as we can in 10 days.  

Even with all this to look forward to, I can’t lie, I do miss home.  But that said, I wouldn’t change my exchange experience for the world!

Read all about Lachlan’s adventures in Zurich!
READ MORE of Lachlan's adventure