Author Archives: camillefong

Dear Switzerland

As I sit in my room facing the beautiful Lake of Geneva and the mountains, I think back to all the things that I have  learned, shared and encountered during my 3.5 months of summer research internship in Lausanne. Unlike many other interns, I have been luckily selected to do an academic exchange after my internship and stay here for another year.

The first day when I arrive, it was at the end of May, and students were still in exam period.  I was welcomed by my roommates in my apartment at ‘des Cèdres’ (FMEL residence). This place is just fantastic!  It is a great location, near to Ouchy and the beach. On the same day, we went to a little party organized by my neighbors who were living right beside my apartment. I met many new friends and that was just the beginning of my adventure in Switzerland…

I have a multitude of stories to share and I don’t even know where I should begin with.

Transportation in Lausanne : BIKE

One thing that I would recommend everyone to do is either bring your own bike or buy a bike and sell it before you leave. It is definitely worth it ! Biking around Lausanne is really easy since Lausanne is a small city. I have been biking from my place to EPFL every day  and I take the bike trail that goes along the lake and enjoy the magnificent view. Be aware that Lausanne is on a hill, but don’t worry at the end of the summer you will have very strong legs. If you don’t like to bike, the public transportation is really good too!

Be Swiss and go to ‘Caves Ouvertes Vaudoises’ (The Vaud Open Wine Cellars event)

I went with Kate Schuler to this event and we had a great time tasting wine from the region. You pay 15CHF and you get a glass of wine and a passport for the whole week-end to visit many different wine cellars and taste the local swiss wine.  It gives you the opportunity to visit the production sites . Bring some bread because at the end of the day you might be a little bit dizzy.



Caves Ouvertes Vaudoises

Mountains are not too far from you

Hiking time ! Thank you Switzerland for allowing me to enjoy the beautiful landscape surrounded my enormous mountains! In addition to their punctual and slow lifestyle, I found that swiss people are very outdoorsy types. Their usual week-end activties is to go high up in the mountains. Tour d’Ai, Glacier d’Aletsch, Creux du van, Rocher-de-nayes and many more.. This is THE place for hiking! Bring good hiking shoes and explore the mountains during your week-end, you will be amazed the the landscape.


Glacier d’Aletsch

Festival, Festival, Festival !  Sonnentanz Festival


At Sonnentanz Festival

There are many festivals from classic to techno/electro in Lausanne and Switzerland. Work is good but it is always better to take some time to have fun and get crazy!

Finally, my summer research internship

My internship was mainly on passive sampler, a tool to monitor and investigate pollution in water. My lab is using passive sampling in cohesion with a forensic methodology. I worked under Nicolas Estoppey, a doctoral student who is using passive sampler (LDPE and PDMS) to investigate the concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a harmful pollutant, in the Venoge river.  Luckily, when I arrived they were in the deployment phase of the project, so I got to go often outside to do some field work. I also worked alongside with a Spanish student, Inma Carpeinteiro, who was working on a different type of passive sampler (POCIS) in the Valais. My research experience has allowed me to use different field equipments and do laboratory analysis.  I expenrienced all aspects of science research, the long day, the planning, the autonomy, the repeated experiments, field work, lab work and finally and not the last, I learned about myself. Being surrounded by highly knowledgeable, passionate and motivated people  was really encouraging and gave me a good learning experience.


Working in the field

After spending 3.5 months in Lausanne, I have noticed myself adopting a Swss lifestyle !

I have given Switzerland my hard work, my smiles and my curiosity; in return, I have come away with an insurmountable amount of knowledge, culture and appreciation for Switzerland. Thank you Karen Undritz for this amazing opportunity !

Relax and breathe, come to Switzerland!

Camille Fong, McGill University

Laboratoire Central Environnemental GR-CEL