Zoom In: Céline Goetschi
Céline Goetschi graduated from the ZHAW School of Management and Law with a BSc in International Management. She has been working as an International Relations Coordinator for more than a year at the ZHAW SML in the Department of International Business.
Céline’s responsibilities include organizing study trips at the SML, which take many forms each semester. Recently, another study trip took place when international students doing their Master’s degree at the University of Leeds in Great Britain had the chance to sample life in Switzerland.
Can you tell us in more detail what happens on SML study trips?
With over 190 partner universities worldwide, the ZHAW School of Management and Law has access to a vast international network. The SML maintains valuable relationships with many of these universities and organizes customized study trips every year in cooperation with selected partners. International students usually spend one to two weeks attending courses at the SML and visiting internationally active Swiss companies. During their brief stay, visiting students gain in-depth insights into theory, practice, and Swiss culture. This is a welcome opportunity to gain international experience, especially for those students who wouldn’t otherwise have the possibility to spend a whole semester or even a year away from home. For the SML, study trips are also a welcome chance to strengthen ties with partner institutions worldwide.
What are the highlights of these study trips?
For me, it must be the students participating in the trips. They arrive here from all over the world and bring an eclectic mix of backgrounds and cultures to the lecture rooms. It is extremely rewarding to work in such an international environment. In addition, after months of intensive preparation by the entire team, it’s very satisfying to see it all coming together and to receive appreciation from students and partner universities for our efforts.
I sometimes like to travel alone to a new country, get away from the usual tourist trails, and experience the traditions and lifestyles of the people living there. If you are naturally shy, this is an excellent way to get out of your comfort zone and reach out to others. By doing this, you learn a lot about yourself as well as the world we live in.
You said that it is rewarding to work in an international environment. Can you give us an example of a cultural difference you encounter?
Intercultural exchanges in my professional and personal life are inspiring and enriching. However, they are never without their challenges. For example, on study trips, punctuality can be an issue. Punctuality is something the Swiss value highly and, of course, this is important on study trips. When we visit companies, for example, we are often welcomed by senior managers who, despite their busy schedules, take time out to talk to our groups – so, of course, everything has to run smoothly. In other countries, however, people may have a more flexible approach to time, which can be challenging when organizing and managing an itinerary. However, instead of losing patience, I believe that in such situations – and all situations in life – a genuine interest in the other person and an openness, tolerance, and willingness to question our worldview and stereotypes are helpful and necessary. By being ready to change our perspective on life, we can understand better why others behave the way they do. Once this basic understanding is in place, communication and organization can be adapted accordingly.
You were a student at ZHAW before working here. Can you tell us something about that?
In 2021, I graduated from ZHAW School of Management and Law with a Bachelor of Science in International Management. The aspect of internationality was already very important to me when I chose my degree program, and this has already permeated many of my life decisions, both consciously and subconsciously. It began with an apprenticeship in the hotel and tourism sector, followed by five years in Barcelona to immerse myself in the language and actively participate in cultural exchanges. This, in turn, influenced my study choices and enabled me to have an international exchange trip to Ireland.
You obviously enjoy traveling – what’s the attraction for you?
It depends on which way you choose to travel. For example, I sometimes like to travel alone to a new country, get away from the usual tourist trails, and experience the traditions and lifestyles of the people living there. If you are naturally shy, this is an excellent way to get out of your comfort zone and reach out to others. By doing this, you learn a lot about yourself as well as the world we live in.