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Obviously, my life is different. I am in a foreign country that is the size of my state in America, there are mountains here that seem like Titans taking over the sky,  everyone speaks the prettiest language on earth, and everyone is healthy.

Since I came here, I have been eating real food–whole grain bread, fresh vegetables and fruits, and of course cheese! My diet has changed completely. Normally, on my way home from class in America, I am just so tired that I grab Chick-fil-A special number one with a medium coke, but here I don’t have that option (there is no Chick-fil-A, and if there was one, it would be ridiculously expensive), so I make a sandwich with fresh bread and tomatoes and mozzarella, grab an apple or plum, and fill up my water bottle and my lunch is done. Not only is it healthier, but it really saves my wallet!

Of course as Americans we always like to say that European food is healthier, which is why they are all skinny–this is the case. They enjoy their meals, rather grabbing something to hold you over the next few hours of work. Europeans indulge in food, but in small portions–portions that you can actually finish–not the platters that Applebee’s serves. Even the school cafeterias serve food that contains fresh ingredients, not the fried chicken and grilled cheese I get at home.

And on top of eating a fresh diet, the Swiss exercise every day. They make the active choice to make time for themselves, their work, their food, and their friends. This Swiss way of living really gives people the chance to indulge in every aspect of their lives and treasure every moment.

I don’t know if it is the severe lack of Coke, but here I feel like my life runs on my time. I am free to take the time to eat healthy, go to cardio class, work on French grammar, and still have time to enjoy a cup of café with a friend. Being here, on my own, made me stop and force me to think about what I want out of my life and how I can make myself happy.

Another thing–education is priceless here. Students are considered real people that are doing work to benefit humanity. School is a lot more difficult here than in the States, but it is so useful. Students here care about class and about their work–they take the time to work at it, and they enjoy it.

Big lifestyle change: My time is dictated by me. I don’t have to work, I can be with who I want to be with, I can eat what I want. It sounds elementary, I know, but placing myself in a foreign country has challenged what I know and made me see another side of myself–the side that prioritizes my own sanity above everything else. I am my own person.

It is time to slow down and take a break from my fast paced, fast food American life, and enjoy the Swiss quality of life, with a side of chocolate and wine.