When you see an invitation like the one ESN UNIL and ESN EPFL send out to their Erasmus students, it is hard to say no:

You are invited to join us on our amazing weekend in Zermatt. We’re going to take a bus and a train to go up to Zermatt and then a cable car before we start walking. The 5-Seenweg (Five Lakes Walk) is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Zermatt area. The view of the turquoise-water mountain lakes (with the Matterhorn reflected in three of them) is breathtaking! If you’re lucky, you might even see marmots, ibexes or eagles! This is an intermediate level hike, you do not need to be athletic but be sure to be in a good shape. Do not forget to bring hiking shoes, warm clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses and enough food and water for the whole day. As we will walk with our bags with all the necessary material, make sure it’s not too heavy and that you can carry it. We will be staying at a Youth Hostel where we’ll have dinner and an evening activity with music, snacks and drinks. The next day we will go to Randa and cross the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge (not recommended if you suffer from vertigo).

 


We wanted to know more about the cooperation between these two sections and what impression of Swiss nature Erasmus students get once they get to the top.

How do Erasmus and local students benefit from it? Do they value this kind of integration into the local community?
The hikes in Zermatt were long and demanding for some Erasmus students who are not used to doing sport,  but this kind of event ensures time for the Erasmus to be physically active. Hiking is the best way to meet new people because there are always new people that are walking next to us and it gives a chance to have the first contact. Being in contact with the locals allows the Erasmus students to get to get new ideas for a different weekend trip and other hike trails they could do themselves. For the locals and Erasmus students, it is very interesting to share their culture and allows them to be more open-minded.

How does the section cooperation between ESN EPFL and ESN UNIL work?
The cooperation between UNIL and EPFL is great and we have strong bonds between the committee. We have an inter-committee weekend every semester; first to educate the new members how we work, how we organise events. We organise several workshops and team building games to improve our collaboration. This kind of event allows sharing our ideas because even if we have a fairly similar way of working, it is not the same. We also organise many events together.

What do these kinds of trips represent to you and Erasmus students?
In the EPFL committee, we are mostly ex-Erasmus students that loved their exchange. By organising an ESN event, we feel like we are extending our exchange and it is a way to give back what we received during our experience abroad. In the committee, we are very open-minded individuals who like to meet other people and share our country‘s culture. For the Erasmus students, going to an event like Zermatt is an opportunity to discover nature and relax while meeting new people. During the evening, we organised board games and we think it really helped to strengthen the bond between the Erasmus students.

How would you link this trip to the Health and Well-being cause in ESN?
This kind of event is linked to the Health and Well-being cause because of the promotion of sport - we always try to propose hikes that are doable for every level (if our hike is going to be more difficult, we clearly mention it in the communication) and social development - the committee members always try their best to help integrate each Erasmus students in the group. The board games were a very good way to gather Erasmus students that do not necessarily know each other. After an exchange and especially by participating in these kinds of events, the Erasmus student becomes more open and the experience is later beneficial for any challenge in their life, no matter if it is a professional or a personal one.