For a fourth consecutive summer, a group of computing students from Grand Valley State University is studying at a university in Switzerland this summer.

Group Alps pic

From June 29-July 16, several students from Grand Valley’s School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS) are studying at Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften (ZHAW), or Zurich University of Applied Sciences. Following a two-week course on cloud computing in Switzerland, the students will return to study mobile applications development at Grand Valley.

International teams of students working in class.

International teams of students working in class.

“While in Switzerland, in just two weeks, students complete a full course that normally takes 15 weeks, so it is quite intensive,” said Paul Leidig, professor and director of CIS. Leidig said each university specializes in a trending area of computing. “Our students had the opportunity to study cloud computing at ZHAW and then return to take one of our specialties, mobile application development,” he said. “It is a great fit for both of us. Cloud computing and mobile development technologies are critical skills for our students.”

Each week is filled with full days of lectures and lab experience. In a short two weeks, students spent more time in lectures and labs then in a typical GVSU semester. While at ZHAW, students learned from research specialist and industry experts in emerging areas of cloud computing.

In Switzerland, Grand Valley students have time for cultural excursions such as hiking through the Alps and visiting a typical Swiss farm and vineyard. Computer Science major Katie Cook said “Grand Valley’s Swiss summer exchange was one of the best things I could have chosen to do here at GVSU. It was incredibly valuable both to my education and to my growth as an individual.” GVSU students had an opportunity study in the same Technikum building where Albert Einstein began as a university lecturer. The exchange program is scheduled each summer for computing majors.

GVSU CIS students in front of the historical Technikum building.

GVSU CIS students in front of the historical Technikum building.

Trip highlights

The excursion began in Munich Germany, with a tour of the BMW plant, the Olympic Village – site of the 1972 hostage crisis, the Dachau concentration camp memorial, and a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle (fairyland castle used as the model for Disney World).

View of the BMW headquarters from the Munich Olympic tower.

View of the BMW headquarters from the Munich Olympic tower.

Students reflect at the memorial of the Dachau Concentration camp.

Students reflect at the memorial of the Dachau Concentration camp.

 Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.

Cultural excursions in Switzerland included visits to former military defense bunker systems in a mountain pass, a gondola ride to the starting point for a day of hiking through 12 miles of Alpine mountain trails with beautiful scenery.  Students also visited the majestic Rhein Falls, Schaffhausen with its many fine Renaissance era buildings decorated with exterior frescos and sculpture.

The Swiss Summer Program occurs each summer and is open to students admitted into a CIS major.  See Dr. Paul Leidig for information regarding the Summer 2017 CIS Swiss Exchange Program.

Alps relaxation

Snow stream

Mountain trail

Mountain climb

Alps view

Exploring

Swiss Cheese machine

Bonding