Rio Liu, '15, (far left) and her friends attend a wine festival in Bellinzona, Switzerland, about 20 miles from Lugano, where Liu is a student at Franklin University.

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Rio Liu travels to the Alps for her math class at Franklin University Switzerland

Find out what the members of the class of 2015 are up to in their first year of college. A college freshman is featured in the Freshman Focus every Friday.  

Rio Liu, ‘15, attends Franklin University Switzerland in Lugano.

Q: How is going to school in Europe?

A: I feel like it is a different experience than school in the U.S. because all the countries are so close, so you can take a weekend and go to Germany or France.

Q: Why did you choose to go to a school in Europe?

A: I really want to feel how different it could be in another country instead of the U.S. or China.

Q: How is it different from SCDS?

A: I’m the only four-year Chinese student here, but I’ve made a lot of friends from different cultures.

Q: How big is Franklin?

A: Franklin is really small. We only have about 130 students this year, and only about 60 will stay for all four years.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: I have Art History, Intro to Academic Writing, Visual Sociology, International Relations and a travel class. At Franklin, it’s a requirement to travel.

Q: A travel class? What’s that? 

A: The academic travel class is required for all freshmen and sophomores. It’s a course that you must take, and you can get credit from it. We have around eight different travel classes for freshmen this year. Since it is required for every semester, we can go to at least four different places during the first two years.

Q: What are you doing in your class?

A: This semester, I am going on the trip for measuring the Alps. It is based on a math class, and you can get math credit from it.

Q: How many international students are there?

A: About 50 percent are international students.

Q: What countries are the international students from?

A: We have a lot of students from Russia, the Middle East and countries near Italy.

Q: I understand that Italian is spoken in this region of Switzerland. Is there a language class requirement?

A: Our school requires us to take two-and-a-half years of another language: Italian, French or German. I think I will start in French 200, so I can finish one year earlier. (Liu took four years of French at Country Day.)

Q: Where do you live?

A: I live in a dorm. It’s a double. We have our own rooms, but we share a bathroom. My roommate is a four-year student, and she’s from Lebanon.

Q: How is the food?

A: I definitely miss American food, like tacos and burgers. I’m near the border of Italy, so every day it’s pasta and pizza.

Q: Do you have clubs?

A: We have a lot of clubs, and I’m attending the gardening club and Asian club. Usually my friends will attend five to seven clubs.

Q: Do you have Greek life?

A: We don’t have Greek life here.

Q: What do you miss most?

A: I miss the teachers at Country Day. I don’t really miss China because I’ve been an international student for four years.

Q: What is your favorite part of Franklin?

A: I’ve made a lot of new friends from every part of the world.

Q: You seem to be enjoying it a lot. Is there anything you don’t like?

A: The only thing I really don’t like about Franklin is that the college is on a mountain. You need to go up and down hills every day to go to each campus or dorm.

—By Nicole Wolkov


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