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Seminar in Switzerland: A Week of Learning, Culture, and Connection

Reflecting on our Seminar in Switzerland, we can proudly say that it was an interesting and insightful week! 

From the 12th until the 16th of February, we had the opportunity to dive deeper into our project and connect together with our delegation.  


Day 1: Setting the Stage for Exploration 

Our seminar kicked off with a great opening speech from all responsibles of the Seminar in Switzerland of all the current ISPs (connectUs, exploreASEAN, FocusIndia and HOLATAM), followed by Michele Canonico, Member of the Management Board and Head of Services at the FHNW, who welcomed all guests as the representative of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. Marc Blaser, CEO of Blaser Swisslube AG, sent us into the week with an enlightening keynote about leadership. Working hard, thinking differently and understanding the role of leadership are crucial to be successful in life and we will gladly take these learnings with us on our journey. The longstanding partnership between Blaser Swisslube AG and the International Student Projects fills us with gratitude and motivates us to strive for continuous improvement. We are grateful for the support that we receive from Blaser Swisslube AG for yet another year! 

Engaging in team-building activities and virtual exchanges with students from Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA) set the tone for the days ahead. 


Day 2: Immersed in Cultural Richness 

Culture took centre stage as we dived into the vibrant heritage of Argentina and Brazil. Starting the day with insightful presentations by a representative of the Argentine Embassy and the Brazilian ambassador Cláudia Fonsecca Buzzi, we got a glimpse into the richness of the different countries and their cultural differences from Switzerland. Especially for Argentina, we were able to marvel at breathtaking videos from the different regions.  

In the afternoon, Kevin and Adrianne presented the cities which we will be visiting during our Seminar Abroad in more detail. Next, we received a crash course in Portuguese and Spanish. Being able to show gratitude and saying gracias or obrigado/-a is very important to us when exploring these Latin American countries.  We had the privilege of having the representative of the Argentine Embassy stay for the entire cultural part and she was therefore able to show us the differences between the Spanish that is spoken in Spain and Argentine Spanish because with her and Adrianne, both ways of speaking were represented. Interesting was also the exchange with Maria Isabel Soares who studies in Olten at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland but only moved here from Brazil some years ago. She had very helpful tips for us and showed us which culture shocks she faced when moving to Switzerland.  

We concluded our day with samba and tango dance classes. After these vibrant movements shown by Marcia, who is an experienced Samba dancer that had already danced at the Rio Carnival, we were taught the rather formal movements of the tango by Sonja Tschui.  

Day 3: Navigating Healthcare and Digital Transformation 

Gian-Reto Grond and Marcos Boson provided valuable insights into the intersection of healthcare and digitalisation, sparking discussions on the future of healthcare delivery to start of the third day. As we explored the challenges and opportunities presented by digital technologies, conversations with Jade Sternberg from digitalswitzerland and Sameer Pujari from the World Health Organisation underscored the transformative potential of innovation in healthcare. 

Before closing the day with an aperitif including traditional food, Adrianne provided us with some insights into the Seminar Abroad and our programme there. 


Day 4: Unveiling Innovation at Roche and Digital Healthcare  

A highlight of our seminar week was the visit to the Roche headquarters in Basel, where we immersed ourselves in the company's pioneering spirit and commitment to innovation. From the history of Roche to a design thinking workshop on our topic, the trip was an exploration of cutting-edge advancements shaping the future of healthcare and medication.  

Back in Olten, Dr. Christine Jacob held a workshop on digital health and showed us how healthcare should move from a process-centric system to a rather patient-centric approach. Achieving this change will greatly improve healthcare and how the customer perceives the provided treatment since our perception is greatly impacting our mental health which also has an impact on our physical well-being. With eHealth, we are moving in this direction.  

An extremely interesting fact, which Christine told us, is that with the help of virtual reality goggles, a reduction in procedural pain for burn patients of 35-50% can be seen. We have never thought about this aspect of virtual reality before and are excited to see where this transformative power will be used and further developed in the upcoming years. 


Day 5: Closing in Connection 

The final day of our seminar was dedicated to the connections forged and knowledge shared throughout the week. Networking opportunities, creativity challenges, and storytelling sessions brought us closer together, reinforcing the bonds of friendship. Before working together in our creativity challenge and trying to create a sculpture of our topic out of waste, all ISPs were able to listen to an interesting keynote speech by Hellmer Rahms from Google Cloud, who also served as a jury member of the challenge together with Stan Kamzol. Even though HOLATAM did not win the challenge, we are extremely proud of the result we have achieved as a team in such a short time. Congratulations to Focus India who perfectly depicted its three E approach with its tree sculpture and won the trophy.  


Looking back, our Seminar in Switzerland was more than just an educational experience - it was a celebration of culture, diversity, and the power of collaboration. As we continue our global journey, we do so with gratitude for the experiences shared and excitement for the adventures that are yet to come. Here's to the memories made and the lessons learned. 


A big thank you goes to Lana who put so many hours of preparation and effort into this Seminar and making it a huge success as well as our in-kind supporters, who made this seminar extra sweet, refreshing and gave us the extra kick. 

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