The Differences Between the United Sates and Switzerland

Charlotte Wossner, Switzerland

Since my first day here, I saw a lot of differences between the United States and where I live in Switzerland. I love both countries, but there is a lot of diversity.

First of all, the language. In Switzerland, we have four official languages : German, French, Italian and Romansch, but most of the people speak German or French.

In the US, most people only speak English and a lot of states also speak Spanish, like here in California.

My second difference is the education. In Switzerland, we have to go to school for at least 11 years. So, in the State where I live, we have 6 years of primary school, 3 years of secondary school and then we can choose between four different schools to continue or you can do an apprenticeship for 3-4 years. A lot of people don’t continue school and do an apprenticeship and don’t go to college and university. The universities in Switzerland are not as expensive as in the US.

I don’t know a lot about the American schooling system, but it’s quite different in Switzerland and I’m sure that I don’t have to get into the details, but they have k-12 school (High School), followed by college and University.

The third biggest difference is the store opening time. In Switzerland, the opening hours are not very long, from Monday to Friday usually from 8am to 6:30pm, on Saturday from 7:30am to 5pm and on Sunday, most of the stores are closed. Restaurants usually have a resting day and stop their kitchen service at 10:pm.

Howsoever, in the US, I was surprised to see that some of the shops are open 24 hours and this all the week ! This is great if you need something in a hurry or just want to do your shopping when nobody is around ! But personally, I couldn’t work with their working hours…


Despite these differences, both countries are amazing and I’m really happy that I had this opportunity to visit the United States I miss my home country, but I had an amazing time here in the United States !

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Basel, Switzerland

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Zurich, Switzerland

Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States

Vintage clothes

Bernou Hazelhoff Roelfzema, The Netherlands

Why would you want to buy vintage clothes or recycle your clothes? Here are some good reasons why.

  1. Vintage clothes prevents the creating of more greenhouse gas
  2. It conserves energy
  3. It generates new materials
  4. It is easy!
  5. It is fashionable

1) Clothes are mostly made of organic material, meaning that it originates from natural sources and that it is biodegradable, but rubbish heaps are not giving the clothes enough oxygen to let the organic material break down. It will develop to anaerobic digestion. The progress will result in dangerous greenhouse gases, in a dump. The gases will go into the atmosphere, which will lead to the globing warming. When you recycle 100 million pounds of clothes it has an effect on the environment equivalent to removing 26,000-35,000 cars from the road.

2) The process of making clothes takes a lot of energy. Every item goes through  manufacturing process that uses a lot of electricity and water.

3) Clothes that aren’t suitable for reuse should still be recycled! Even if they are torn or stained, old clothes can be turned into wiping rags, insulation, paper, yarn, and more. It costs less to make these items from recycled textiles than virgin materials, saving both money and resources.

4) Even though you can’t put your clothes into your curbside-recycling bin, recycling them has never been easier. There are thousands of bins across the states, conveniently located by the places you frequent the most like schools, grocery stores, and strip malls so you don’t have to go out of your way to help the environment.



5) Vintage or second-hand clothes are also stylish. If you match some new and old clothes, or over sized clothes with skinny clothes you will have a cute outfit. You can just go crazy with it. It is all up to you. You will also help the environment.biikiissshhh

I often go to thriftshops to buy second hand clothes because of the reasons above this. In my home country we have a few stores but also here in Santa Barbara you have a few nice ones. Some clothes do look really bad, but you need to just keep looking and you will find something.

You Have To Risk It Once in a While

Barbara Funicello, Italy


Have you ever thought to jump from a bridge tied to a rope? Would you leave your country and travel around the world?  How likely is that you would try food made from an animal you’ve never eaten before? If you would do any of these things, it means that you are and adventurous risk-taker and you seek excitement.

1 Bungee Jumping

Anyway, not everybody here would be ready to venture into new experiences, especially the dangerous ones. In fact, people usually play it safe: they prefer to live in their routine, stay in their comfort zone and they don’t want to deal with something that is not familiar for them. Apparently, this attitude reduces the possibilities of negative consequences, but is it really good for us, or does it have some bad aspects?

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Jean-Paul Sartre says that “to know what life is worth, you have to risk it once in a while“. He means that if we always avoid risks, our lives would become boring and monotonous. It may be harming our chances to improve and enrich ourselves. For this reason, sometimes it’s important to take a risk and try to exceed our limits little by little.


Furthermore, many studies demonstrated that taking risks helps people to develop skills like creativity, confidence, problem-solving, perseverance. Instead, dull people can’t be versatile, able to adapt to different situations and face problems to find good solutions.

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On the other hand, it’s better not to do dangerous activities to excess for our health and security. Everyone should strike a reasonable balance appreciating the importance of risk-taking in a sensible way, just to spice our lives up a little bit and make them more interesting.Risk-vs-Safe

In my life, I always try everything new because every experience teaches me something and helps me to grow up. My last adventure was to decide to come here, in Santa Barbara, far from my country, from my family and my friends. It was a hard decision since I came here alone, but I put fear aside. I’m going to leave this Sunday and I can definitely say that it was great: I met new friends from all over the world, I learned a lot about myself and I saw beautiful places. I simply recommend to everyone to dive into life.

Psych, The TV Series Located in Santa Barbara

Isabelle Gerig, Switzerland

PSYCH is a tv series about a young police consultant Shawn Spencer (James Roday) who solves crimes with powers of observation so acute that Santa Barbara PD detectives think he’s psychic. Shawn Spencer’s best friend, Gus (Dule Hill), who helps him and supports him. They don’t do anything without each other.

Shawn was raised in Santa Barbara by a family of cops; Shawn possesses uncanny powers of observation honed by his police officer father, Henry, who drilled young Shawn to note even the smallest of details from his surroundings as a way of grooming him for his inevitable career in the family business. Unfortunately, Shawn finds himself only with taking a series of random jobs instead of becoming the detective he was groomed to be.

His career for the police started when  Shawn had made a habit of calling in tips to the police about cases he reads about or sees on television, and when one of his tips appeared too close to the truth, the police are convinced that Shawn is an accomplice and arrested him. However, Shawn used his charm and well-tuned talent, so the cops thought that he’s a psychic. Then is career has began!

So every episode begins with a cold open in the form of a flashback to Shawn and Gus’s childhoods. The flashbacks usually involve Shawn and Gus being taught a lesson by Shawn’s father, who wishes that his son would follow in his footsteps and become a law enforcement officer. These lessons play a role for the whole episode.

psych young

This nice and funny tv series is set in Santa Barbara with the central stage in the police department of Santa Barbara. However, the sad truth is that the series is produced and filmed in British Columbia, Canada. So if you are a fan of this series, you have to visit British Columbia and not Santa Barbara.

For example, the picture on the left shows the pier in Santa Barbara. The picture on the right shows the pier from the tv series Psych. There is no similarity at all. So as in the tv series Psych, the areas in series or movies aren’t quite often the areas or cities they say they are.

I really like the series because of Shawn’s funny and special way to help the police. Moreover, the friendship between Shawn and Gus is also really nice to watch. Furthermore, it’s interesting how easy it could be to become better known a person, when you only look more on the details. Moreover I was impressed from the idea of the director of the series. How can one person have such a creative idea? So I really recommend you to watch this funny series. It never gets boring.

Watch the trailer for series 1 now:

It’s Fiesta Time

Patrycja Iwaniuk, The Netherlands

The Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is a week of celebrating the traditions, history, heritage, and culture that has been in Santa Barbara for hundreds of years. Since the beginning of the week, the first preparations can be seen. Music can be heard on every corner of the street. The first Fiesta eggs can be bought and smashed to color the streets with colorful confetti and even the people dress up in beautiful and traditional costumes. They proudly walk through State Street giving it wonderful ambiance.

Also, here at the EF school and in the Santa Catalina residence the feeling of Fiesta is in the air. More and more decorations are being hung up in the school and even some teachers can be seen wearing some great colorful outfits. Wednesday was Tamale Day and some students had the opportunity to make some beautiful Fiesta eggs, which are by the way strictly forbidden to use in the residence. Luckily for us, there is enough space outside to break these eggs and throw some confetti on our friends. As Wednesday night was the grand opening at the Mission, Thursday morning the decorations were even greater. In the afternoon students were welcome to enjoy some chips with salsa and delicious churros. To add to that, in what way can you end the day better than having people break a piñata in the middle of the schoolyard?

The big days, however, were without hesitation Friday and Saturday. Before the big parade, everyone started to get out their chairs and blankets to save the best spot for the whole family. After a very long wait in the sun, the parade had begun. Dozens of beautiful horses gaited through State Street and the music played by the musicians completed the picture. It was really a new experience for me as a foreigner, since I have never seen or been to this kind of a parade. Over the past couple of days, I have really seen that the people of Santa Barbara cherish this week of joy and a lot of tourists who walk down the streets with the biggest smile when someone throws confetti to them. We can still savor the moment for a few weeks until the confetti disappears and then the first eggs can be eaten as a preparation for next year. As for me, this was my first time and hopefully not the last… VIVA LA FIESTA!

My Trip in the USA

7/26/2018, Emilie Verwee, Belgium

Before I went to EF Santa Barbara I took a trip around the USA.

I left the 5th of July from Amsterdam to San Fransisco. We started our trip there. I went to America with my own family and another family. The first day, we did a bike tour but before we start the tour we stopped at the Hard Rock Café where we were watching the footballmatch of the WK from Belgium against Brasil. Belgium won the match 😉                 so after the match we did our tour. We were driving to the Golden Gate Bridge. After that we went to Sausolito. The second day, we visited Alcatraz, it is the old prison of San Fransisco. The prison was located on an island. The third day, we walked around the city. We also went to the Coit Tower where we had a nice view of the city.

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After three days in San Francisco, we took the plane to Las Vegas. We slept in the Bellagio where we stayed two nights. We also went to a show of David Copperfield. We also walked on the strip. The strip is one of the biggest streets in Las Vegas where you have a lot of hotels and many casinos.

After two nights, we went to the airport to go rent a car. We rented a car for one week because we visited a lot of national parks. First we visited Bryce Canyon. Than we went to Lake Powell, one of my favorites. It was one of my favorites because we took a boat trip during the day between the canyons. We were swimming a lot and we did some wakeboarding ! One day later we were driving to Monument Valley, but before we went  there we visited Horseshoe Bend and Canyon X. Later we went to Monument Valley. There we went horseback riding. It was an epic experience! As the last national park we visited Grand Canyon.

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As the last part of our trip we went to Los Angeles. Our first three nights we slept in Venice Beach. Venice beach is the part of LA that I liked the most because you had a lot of variety, like beaches, the sea, a skateboard park, nice streets, … We also took a bike trip to Santa Monica and the Venice Canals. The last two nights I slept in Hollywood before my sister and I left for Santa Barbara.

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This trip will always stay with me !






Social Medias: Suggestions for Teens’ Everyday Life

Maria Pia De Felice, Italy

Social medias are nowadays’ most popular apps on our mobile phones. If you’re not subscribed to at least one famous social media, you may look strange to others and they may judge you (for example, saying that you’re asocial). As well, if you have very few photos posted on your profile, they may think that you’re ugly and that you don’t want to show yourself.

Teenager checking her cell phone

But whatever you do, you can be judged by the community: for example, people may not like what you post and could make fun of you when they are looking at it. As well, someone could use your photos pretending to be you!

After talking about all of this… Are social medias worth it? Are they a good way to interact with people, or are they just a waste of time?

teens taking photos

First of all, in order to avoid letting someone use your profile, you must put it in private mode: what does it mean? You can “lock” your profile so that others can’t see your profile without your permission. If they want to, they can send you a friend request, then you can accept or decline it. I recommend you to not accept strangers’ friend requests, but just your friends’ ones.

Another thing I recommend for your own security is to not post intimate information about your friends, family and yourself, such as your address, your email, your mobile number. The same suggestion goes for your photos: never show parts of your body that nobody should see!


Social medias are a good way to meet and chat with people you used to know, or that, at the moment, live far away from you. So you must know that if you’d like to keep in touch with them, social medias are the best way to do it!

At the end, remember that everything you do is your own choice: the world is free and you can do whatever you want, but these suggestions are just for your safety!

If you want to go deep into this topic, check the video below!


minimalism picJulia Feldmann, Germany

Smalls steps to resist increasing consumption

A common misunderstanding of minimalism is that it is just all about having the smallest number of items in your life as possible. But when you take a closer look at the point of minimalism, it is actually about having items which you really appreciate and which add value to your life. Knowing that you don’t need material belongings in order to be happy and enjoy life will increase your mental health and emotional stability.

Having more and more things is not making people happier and more fulfilled. Mindless shopping has become a problematic trend.  There is a risk to developing an addiction to material items, especially clothing that creates a feeling of being weighed down by clutter. Clearly, it is human nature to always long for more and to progress in life in all aspects, like experiences, careers and relationships. On the other hand, it is essential to be grateful for everything that you already have and, in general, to be grateful for being alive. The clue is to find balance between both of these things.



A good start to becoming a minimalist is to go through your home with a box and fill it with random items you find standing around with no obvious use. Put the box out of sight for 30 days. If you don’t need to open it, or if you don’t even remember what is in the box, donate or sell it. Start in one place in your home, which could be a wardrobe drawer, your desk or underneath your bed.

Another important aspect minimalism includes gratefulness. There are a lot of things people take for granted that are actually really special to others. This goes from having food on the table to simply owning a bed and a blanket. Often people forget how many people on earth don’t have access to these things that seem so natural to others.


Apart from belongings like clothing and furniture, minimalism also affects wastfulness, especially of food. It’s a fact that there’s more than enough food to feed the planet, but still large amounts of people suffer from malnutrition. As a minimalist, people can try to become aware of how much they throw away every day. Next time you are shopping for groceries, try to only buy what you will actually eat.

Most recently, the textile industry has gone crazy on their sales prices. T-shirts for less than 5$ and jeans for less than 20$ are no rarity anymore. This development is the reason why we tend to buy more and more clothes just because of the bargain price. However, the majority of people only wear a small amount of their wardrobe on a daily basis. Some pieces even end up never being worn. On the way to becoming a minimalist, you have to think logically. What do I actually need? How can I simplify my wardrobe? Which pieces are unnecessary?

4 first little steps into your minimalism journey:

  1. Travel lightly and focus on the things that are necessary
  2. Only buy new things when your old stuff is used up or broken.
  3. Write down your plans and your achievements in a diary
  4. Try to find multifunctional items



Remember that it is not a contest or a race, but about your personal comfort. There is no specific rule to start a minimalistic lifestyle, just follow what comforts you and what feels right to you.



What to do on Holidays

Well…  finally you’re done from school! and probably you’re thinking about what to do this laaargest vacations, so here we have some ideas to make this holidays.Daley-Reading-Room_Overall-View

  • Go to a Library, could be fun cause you can find any type of readings and movies to watch, but especially our favorite is “Anna Frank diary” in the library you can go you can sit there and have a quiet time at this place, where everyone is reading and getting concentrate.
  • Ride a  bike in the metropolitan park, with this sunny days and beautiful, you can have a picnic with your best friend, your boyfriend or family and ride a bike!
  • Go to the beach, there are so many things to do at the beach!                                             – play volleyball     – join for the sunset   -kayak    -fishing  -make a castle sand  -dive
  • The movie theater is always a good idea to spend a day, eating popcorn with an ice cream! and a big soda, each Friday the add new movies to watch so be pendent to watch your favorite movie
  • Shop at the Mall– near from here are the premium outlets so for sure you’re gonna find your favorite brand. There are around 50 stores.
  • You like the animals? well, we have the city zoo where you can find all the land animals and feed them! so choose a very nice day to go with your family and friends. Or well… if you like more the aquatic animals you can go to the aquarium and see sharks, whales, turtles, and swim with dolphins!! with a spectacular show of them.
  • A time for relaxation can be an SPA day, to make your nails, repair your hair and get a new look, a foot pedicure or a body massage, anyone can be excellent for your person.
  • If you want to learn something new, I mean… a lesson about something or a course, you can learn a new language, improve school stuff or learn to cook.
  • Visit another country with a special tour and price, you can go with other students from different countries.
  • Have a beach body! everyone wants to look good for this vacations so you can do exercise at the gym and get fit!
  • Get a job for a season, something simple to do just for making money while you are having a great timeDaley-Reading-Room_Overall-View.jpg


Homeless People in America

Melinda Bilmez, Belgium

This is one of the phenomena that you can see everyday, one of the things that increase through the years, one of the things you don’t worry about when you’re walking into the street.                                                                                                                                                    Homeless people are ” Individuals without permanent housing”.  I was wondering why there are so many more homeless in America than in Europe?


The first things to understand about this phenomena is to look at the cause of homelessness in America.                                                                                                                                                  If we look at the statistics,there were 549,928 homeless people in 2016 counting 60% of male, 40% of women with 35% with children.                                                                                Since the financial crisis in 2008,the amount of homeless people has increased. Unemployment took a large space in this period, one of the reasons why people began to be homeless. Also, the decline of social services has had an impact on homelessness. That means that if you have less help you will probably decline, that’s what happened to some of them. The cost of housing had increased in this period,but not the salaries which can explain why some families had to go to the street.                                                                            We can talk about those “children” who were out of the foster care. At this age a child is not able to take care of herself as a parent would do which can lead to homelessness. The inmates who were leaving the prison can join this theory. The integration into society after years of jail isn’t easy.



The second thing to understand about homelessness is the consequences of this situation. First of all, they can have many health problems such as illness, nutritional deficiencies, sleep deprivation, drug dependency, death and more. Homelessness causes also personal problems for example, less self-esteem, changes in behaviour, and increases in the chances of entering into the criminal system. Homeless people are not alone, sometimes with children. These will have consequences and it will start before the birth of the child, such as health problems, low immunity and emotional problems. They won’t have the chance to go to school, to learn and being cultivated. Their social or academic developments will be behind the expected level. The chances that they will leave the homelessness situation is low and very difficult. People who have been living in the street for a long time do not reach the age of 62, or not that often.

 The last thing to understand is how you can help those people. They don’t deserve this. Nobody does, so we should help them. There are many things that you can do such as donate money or items to an association like “whamministries”. You can show your respect by saying hello or goodbye and you can be a volunteer  to your local homeless shelter. If you want to go further you can buy them some food or invite them to go eat with you ; they need moral support. It is also important to encourage people around you to hire homeless people so they can have salaries to get out of this horrible situation. In San Francisco, Atlanta and New York you can download an app to help directly the people by giving them blanket, gloves, coat.

homeless sign

In conclusion, we can notice that homelessness as I said is a very common situation in America and it continues to grow with the years. California is the state with the biggest amount of homeless people and people don’t pay attention. You have many solutions to help them; you would be happy if someone would do the same for you.