Spring Semester 2020: welcome day for incoming students


Servizio relazioni internazionali e mobilità

20 Aprile 2020

On Thursday, 13 February, USI’s International Relations and Study Abroad Service organized the usual welcome day for the incoming students of the Lugano Campus. Little we knew about what was about to happen, as this was a time when Covid was still a rather faraway matter. In the meantime, some of our incoming students preferred to return home and continue following USI classes in distance learning, with a number of tools that were promptly implemented with the rise of the emergency. We welcomed our incoming students to what was soon going to turn into a very unusual exchange semester. Back on that day, social distance, digital challenges and opportunities were still not a subject of conversation during the chatting and networking that took place.

The day started with a formal part, with presentations from various USI Services such as the IT service for the e-learning platform iCorsi, the Sport Service and the SostA project for a sustainable campus. The group concluded the first part with a campus tour kindly organized by the USI Advisory Service.

Once back from the tour, the group continued with the International Tea Time, where students could meet, talk, or simply spend time getting to know each other. Each student brought specialties from their home countries, and this was the occasion to taste flavours from around the world. Are you familiar with the famous salty liquorice from Finland? Have you ever tasted Czech wafers, Macedonian halva and moustokouloura or carasau bread from Sardinia? These were just a few of the snacks that students could enjoy. This event was held in collaboration with the Lugano section of Erasmus Student Network (ESN), who also invited the group to a welcome aperitif the following day, on 14 February.

Furthermore, the first social activity of this semester took place on 22 February 2020: the Carnival in Bellinzona (Rabadan), a very popular event for locals and an unusual experience for foreigners. The Rabadan in Bellinzona is one of Switzerland’s biggest carnivals, with over 150 years of history. Carnival is much awaited in Ticino and anyone who wants to can celebrate it for over a month between January and March. Its main ingredients are creative masks, risotto, music and lots of fun. A parade with allegorical carts is the highlight of the Rabadan, and takes place on Sunday afternoon.

But who are the new incoming students?

Incoming students on the Lugano Campus come from 10 different countries and 21 partner universities.

Lugano Campus

37 incoming students
17 at the Faculty of Economics (16 new, 1 extention)
11 at the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society (9 new, 2 extentions)
9 at the Faculty of Informatics

Study Level

Of the 37 students, 26 study at bachelor level and 11 at master level in their home university.

In terms of agreements, 31 students came in the framework of the SEMP programme, 5 thanks to USI’s international bilateral agreements, and 1 within the Swiss Mobility programme.

Mendrisio Campus

6 students will study at the Academy of Architecture during the Spring Semester (2 in the framework on the SEMP programme, 3 thanks to USI’s bilateral agreements and 1 came from another Swiss University). It is to be said, that most students at the Academy of Architecture stay for the entire academic year, and only a limited number come for only one semester. In total, 24 students are currently hosted at the Academy of Architecture.

We are aware that the spread of the Covid-19 is affecting the experience of our incoming students, and we hope that the tools and reorganization of the courses will still allow them to leave Lugano enriched with new knowledge, more experience and, that is for sure, with many stories to tell.