Greetings from maybe the most beautiful place in Europe (at least in Switzerland), Lucerne!
I have been here almost two semesters now and I have really enjoyed my time. I study music and luckily the classical music department is located on top of the hill where you can see the whole city, mountains and the lake – breathtaking view! This kind of environment has been really inspiring and motivating for me. I must say that sometimes when carrying my two tubas on top of the hill I wasn’t so happy, but on top with the incredible view you don’t care anymore the weight of the tuba, you just enjoy the atmosphere.
The jazz department instead is located to old town. Also, not bad at all! Even the old town is full of tourists, especially summer time, I still enjoy walking to jazz school through the old bridges and small streets in the middle of old, beautiful buildings.
I think the school system here is similar than in Finland but here is more common to study occupation with co-operation of companies (little bit like “oppisopimus” in Finland). Universities are not free, there is always student fees but they are tolerable, not too high. As music student, I feel that I have here lots of different opportunities to study with very good teachers. School offers not only the “basic education” but also lots of projects, workshops and master classes with specialists all over the world. For foreign student, Switzerland is not maybe the easier country to be because living is very expensive, even more expensive than in Finland. But when you get a little part time job, you’ll be better – salaries are also very good comparing to other countries.
In the spare time, here is so many things to do that I felt one year was not enough time to see all. Not only the city itself, but also towns near and of course the surrounding mountains, offer so much things to see and experience. The cultural view is also amazing – Lucerne is not very big city but it is full of different happenings! You can always find something for your spare time: different concerts, theater, opera, art, performances, festivals and so many other things… And it has been very nice to notice that almost every time when I was in concert as musician or in audience, it has been full of people. So in my opinion, people really appreciate culture here and they are also willing to pay to see different things.
One special happening I have to mention: The Lucerne Carnival. Every year in February or March there is carnival which makes the whole city going crazy. The city center is full of music, parades, people wearing masks and/or special carnival clothes, dancing, celebrating and having fun for 6 days. In Finland we have summer festivals, but carnival was something really special that I haven’t experience before. I was part of one small (14 people) band and we played several gigs in- and outside of restaurants with special clothes and make-up. What a nice way to get into the local culture!
When you are in Lucerne, you can’t avoid Mount Pilatus. I visited two times there (at winter and summer) and both times, for Finnish who never visited mountain before, it was incredible! I think you never get use to the view from the mountain!
I warmly recommend Lucerne to everyone who wants to study in inspiring and beautiful environment.
Liebe grüsse aus der Schweiz,