How to move across the world to college – the first (and hardest) step into the life of independence
Student Ambassador Julie Ranieri tells her personal adventure story of becoming an international student at the tender age of 17, when she moved from her native Argentina to Les Roches Crans-Montana.
There are many possible circumstances why you are reading this article today. Odds are that you are either a potential student considering Les Roches as your next big adventure; a parent that is not sure how to pack suitcases for their children to move out of the house for the first time to go to a school in the middle of the Swiss Alps; or a current – or former – student that has already given into this big adventure and packed their suitcases before, and wants to reminisce.
Whichever you are, in this article I want to share with you what I have learned from my process.
I am first going to give you a bit of context – my name is Julie, and I am 19 years old, currently a BBA6 student at Les Roches Crans-Montana. I moved across the world from Argentina to Switzerland in the winter of 2019, when I was only 17, one month after graduating high school.
Moving out was most definitely a process, and it was not an easy one. Taking the next big step in your life and deciding to finally get a taste of independence and responsibility took a lot of preparation and support, and I wish that back then I had taken the two seconds to read an article like this one!
Now, do not be like me – the first question you need to ask yourself is NOT “am I ready for this?” because I can tell you now, I know that you are. You made the decision to read this, and that already classifies you as ready. The question you need to ask is “how do I do this?”. And I have 5 different tips in 5 different stages that will answer said question.
1. Your Decision
Chances are that you have already looked at every picture, every media profile and every nook and cranny of Les Roches you could find on the internet. But the best thing to do is to ask for real information. Through the Les Roches website, request a brochure or an interview with a counselor. They will walk you through the process of applying – exam requirements, visas, prices, etc. – and answer all your questions. Not sure enough? Ask for a student interview! Talking to a person your age that has already experienced the Les Roches Way of Life will open your eyes to a new, young perspective that will round off all your doubts.
2. Your Application
Have you decided that Les Roches is your next big adventure? Amazing! Your next step is applying! You can easily apply online for all of the programs and you’ll get a counselor connected to you to help you every step of the way. They will be the connecting point between you and the school.
One tip I can give is to allow plenty of time. Important documents like visas take from weeks to months to complete and receive, and it will also give you the necessary time to build that courage needed to be away from home for a while.
Spend time with friends and family, have a few goodbye dinners, and hug your pets a little longer. Start a few months before the application period – make sure you attend as many interviews, open days (a big shoutout to Sally Mayor, the best campus counselor ever!) and Instagram Lives as you can, since you want to get as much information as possible. After applying, all you have to do is wait!
3. Your Peace of Mind
So, you woke up one morning and your acceptance package showed up at the door. Congratulations! You are one step closer to joining a family of 90+ nationalities who will receive you with open arms.
Now it is time to book your plane or train ticket, or start getting your car ready for a long road trip. And this is also the time to settle down and get your mind in place. Moving across the world takes a lot of mental preparation. You might find yourself in a frenzy of feelings that include joy, nervousness, excitement and melancholy. And it might mess with you. As I was 17 when I moved out, I was stuck in a constant loop of uncertainty and fear, laced with extreme happiness. Moving into a new language, a new place, and a new culture was stressful, and possibly so for you, too.
The best advice I can give you for this is to slow down. Somewhere inside of you, you’ll find that you do not regret your decision at all and this is the best path for you and your future, even if it is far away from home. Be alone for a while. Gather your thoughts. Write them down, and then tackle all those feelings that are keeping you awake. And when you are ready, talk. Never say goodbye, say “see you later”.
The days before you move, fill your time and mind with good memories that will keep you going when you feel homesick. Moving to Les Roches with the right mindset will set you on the right foot to be received into your future.
Ah, my favorite part (please mind the irony). Regardless of how much or how little you pack, you will always, ALWAYS forget to bring something. That is just how it is, and there is no way to change that. Trust me. But there is a big advantage on packing smart – take this advice from me, the messiest packer in the world:
- Clothes – don’t pack your entire wardrobe, but don’t pack small. Bring a little bit of everything: casual clothes, party clothes, formal clothes (you would be surprised at how many times I needed a formal dress and heels), and of course your school clothes. Make sure you get a heavy winter jacket and boots, as the snow here shows no mercy. Bring clothes that represent you and your style; there is no judgement and the flexible dress code for class lets you be yourself while being professional. The application package you received will have instructions on the dress code as well.
- Shoes – make them comfortable. Trust me. A good pair of winter boots and good shoes for academics, there is nothing worse than looking amazing in a business suit but your shoes making your life miserable.
- Electronics – bring chargers, you will need them. Make sure you have a Swiss extension, I have made that mistake before. You will also need to bring a computer you can work on for classes.
- Anything that brings you comfort – is it your collection of plushies? It’s okay, I have mine as well. Is it a whole suitcase of a certain brand of cookies you can only get in your country? BRING AS MANY AS YOU CAN, as you will always find yourself sharing! Anything that reminds you of home and will bring aid to you being comfortable on campus is always a good option.
- Pictures – this is the most important thing for me. Every semester, before going back to campus, I print out a series of pictures of me and my family and friends to place around my room – this has helped a lot with homesickness and all those pictures hold amazing stories.
- Attitude! – pack as much of it as you can. This is your next big adventure and you need to enjoy every second of it.
5. Are You Ready?
I am asking you the question now. Are you ready for the first day of the rest of your life? Moving out across the world to college requires you to have an open mind and heart to everything you will encounter on your way. You will make new friends that will become family. You will enrich yourself with knowledge coming from amazing faculty, you’ll make a lot of contacts in the industry, and you will be exposed to the real world on your internships. It will be, decidedly, a decision you will never regret. I didn’t, and here I am, cheering you on to make that first step and take flight.
I hope these tips will help you on your process. Les Roches is waiting for you; we are waiting for you. The life of independence and responsibility awaits, and moving out is just the first step. Whilst seemingly impossible, the first obstacles you will find will be rewarded with your Les Roches experience. And trust me, it is oh so worth it.
Do you have any other questions on moving out to college? You can always reach out to Les Roches on Instagram or on their website, or reach out to me as well @julieranierihaag. I will be willing to answer all your questions.
· Thank you Julie for sharing your story with us! For more advice on packing to come and study with us, check out this blog by Postgraduate Diploma student Aashrit Maheish