Follow the adventure: Psychology in Italy and Switzerland!

DATELINE: May 28, 2016 Switzerland

Last day of class.

From Dr. Thierry Devos:  We did it! What an amazing experience! As you know, it was the first edition of this study abroad program. Many individuals were involved in the organization. It took a lot of time and effort. You made it worth it! I am very proud of this group of SDSU students. You handled yourself extremely well under all circumstances. You were always enthusiastic and upbeat about everything. You showed interest in and respect for our hosts 2 girls in gondola with SDSU banner(instructors and students). You were flexible, going smoothly from one activity to the next. Even when dealing with challenges or unpleasant interactions, you responded with thoughtfulness. Traveling in a group of 20 people for two weeks can be hectic and oppressive. Instead, I saw a resourceful group of sisters caring for one another and enjoying the ride. This means the world to me and is very rewarding. Take the time to reflect on your experiences. Browsing through the FB posts captures the many facets of our trip (and yet it does not cover everything we did). I want to thank all the people who made this study abroad program possible: colleagues and students at Bicocca, UNIL, and SDSU, ISA staff (with a special thank you to Diego; he was a big part in this success), SDSU staff involved in study abroad experiences (Maureen being one of them), and last but not least your parents and significant others. I am in transit in Heathrow and will board my plane for San Diego feeling re-energized! I feel fortunate to have shared the past two weeks with you. Have a great summer and/or enjoy your travel plans. Do not hesitate to post more great pictures on this FB group so that we share the great memories. Take care and continue to make the most of opportunities that lie ahead of you!


Day trip on the chocolate train:   to the medieval village of Gruyères, the Cailler chocolate factory at Broc, and the village of Colle de Mosses.

student with swiss flag jumping in air, alps at the background

This pretty much says it all.

students on wall with swiss flag and alps

Above the medieval city of Gruyères, Switzerland.

Getting to Gruyères from Lausanne

map of Gruyere in Switzerland

Trains run frequently from both Lausanne and Montreux to Gruyères, the medieval village where the Chateau de Gruyères and cheese factory are located.  The village of Broc, where the Cailler chocolate factory is located, is too small for the map but is just north of Gruyères, and easily accessible by the same train, nicknamed “the chocolate train.”

group with sdsu penant

and now on to the


student with handfull of chocolate bars in front of Cailler chcolate factory

Psychology major Sonyda Nep fans out her awesome haul of deliciousness from the Maison Callier chocolate factory, in Broc.

François-Louis Cailler (1796–1852) was the first Swiss producer of chocolate, and founder of the Cailler chocolate company.  He first tasted Italian chocolate at a local fair in Turin, northern Italy – it was used for medicinal purposes (without sugar) to battle the effects of the cold, alpine winters.  Cailler spent four years in Turin, Italy, experimenting with chocolate. When he returned to Switzerland he set up the first Swiss chocolate factory.


students w SDSU pennant in front of a wall of chocolate bars

Really? Is that all they have selection-wise? Because I don’t know if 2 billion varieties is enough.5 students in parkas col des mosses

Huddling up in the Village of Col des Mosses



Moooooove over, cheese ahead.


cheese being blended in gigantic factory mixer

Cheese factory at Gruyères


miles of stacked cheese in factory

Mmmmmiles of cheese, Gruyères


village of Gruyeres

The medieval town of Gruyères. Gruerius, the legendary founder of Gruyères, captured a crane (in French: “grue”) and chose it as his heraldic animal inspiring the name Gruyères.  Gruyères is first mentioned in literature around 1138-39 as de Grueri.

Chateau and village of Gruyeres

Medieval fortification at Chateau de Gruyères


chateau de Gruyeres

Another view of the Chateau de Gruyères

movie rewind

Now (2016) and Then (1965):

students sitting on lush grass looking at village church with alps in the background

Now, 2016, Gruyères.

Sound of Music "Doe a deer"

Then, 1965, Julie Andrews singing “Doe a deer.”


two students on bridge overlooking alps

Now, 2016  students on a wall looking mysteriously like


Julie andrews singing

Then, Julie Andrews, 1965.  “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music”.  Kindly hold your cards and letters: the blogger acknowledges that Austria is not Switzerland.

students with swiss flag

It’s unanimous.  Who could resist this beautiful country?

Dr. Devos alps

And cheers to the one who put it all together, program director Dr. Thierry Devos.  Thank you for introducing us to your homeland!



Some photos from back in Milan from a few days ago…


4 students on roof of Milan Cathedral

Ciao Bellas!  On the rooftop of the Milan Cathedral, Left to right Sonyda Nep, Meli Sarkissian, Alexa Rodriguez and Sydney Todd.


Miranda Prado and friend Milan

One last glimpse of the Navigli district in Milan.


University of Lausanne students chat with their new SDSU Psychology colleagues.

students discussing posters


professor discussing poster

Stimulating exchanges between University of Lausanne (UNIL) and SDSU students.  Professor Eva Green and Emanuele Politi welcomed us in their class.

Lausanne poster mingling

The University of Lausanne students did a terrific job of presenting posters based on their research project.


students pose in front of Olympic museum

At the Olympic museum, Lausanne.  Well suited for an Olympic decathalon, the group may have been warming up before the discus event.

For more information on College of Sciences study abroad, contact Maureen Crawford (619) 594-1813.


DATELINE May 24, 2016


“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs all in one go.” 

Truman Capote

girls chatting on a train

Another step into the classroom of life:  the much-anticipated day-trip to Venice.



Miles and miles of vineyards… Italy is the top producer of wine in the world.



students outside St. Marks, venice

The tour begins: Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, commonly known as Saint Mark’s Basilica. The first St Mark’s was constructed in 832, commissioned by the Doge and used as the Doge’s chapel. It was built to house the supposed relics of Mark the Evangelist, which had been stolen from Alexandria by Venetian merchants. The church was burned in a rebellion in 976, when the populace locked Pietro IV Candiano inside to kill him, and was restored/rebuilt in the centuries that followed.

Grand canal, Venice


arched gothic byzantine windows, venice

Windows with a view: Venetian Gothic is the term given to this architectural style which combines Gothic lancet arch with Byzantine and Moorish architectural influences.


Students on gondola, Venice

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta. Psychology major Karina Casillas, photo by Psychology major Megan Puga.










Venetian red and yellow flag and balcony

The coat of arms of the Republic of Venice. A winged Lion of Saint Mark has a paw resting on the opened gospel showing the latin motto Pax tibi Marce evangelista meus, “Peace to you Mark, my evangelist”.)




venice gondola

“I floated into a fairytale today” – Meli Sarkissian, photo by Meli Sarkissian