Hi there! smiley
Are you a student and coming to Lausanne this upcoming spring semester? Do you want to fully immerse yourself in the Swiss culture during your stay in Lausanne? Are you awesome, just like all the people already waiting for you in Lausanne? Well, if you answered ‘yes’ to all these questions then brace yourself for the best semester of your life ;) 
We are ESN (Erasmus Student Network) Lausanne and we are here to help you make the best of your exchange. Whether you are looking forward to meeting new people or are scared of being alone in a new city, we are here for you! You might think your semester only starts the 22nd of February but it doesn’t. For as you might have heard, between the 15th and the 21st of February, we (ESN EPFL and UNIL) are organizing for you an incredible Welcome Week to make you feel home no matter how far away from home :) This week will be organized so that you can meet the people that will share with you the best semester/year of your life! All events are prepared exclusively for exchange students from UNIL, EPFL and other schools from Lausanne. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our Welcome Week will be slightly different than the previous years which also means that even though if you have to quarantine or can’t be present in person during the Welcome Week you will still be able to participate! Despite the current situation, our amazing team of volunteers is working hard to prepare the best Welcome Week ever for you. From Monday (February 15th, 2021) to Sunday (February 21st, 2021), you will get the opportunity to participate in a bunch of awesome events that will enable you to discover Lausanne, its students, culture and amazingness (let us remind you that Lausanne was rated the best small city to live in 2020).
What is planned during this week and what will it look like considering the current situation?
As you might imagine, we are forced to plan an online Welcome Week but do not worry, we have a Buddy program set up which might allow for some less virtual encounters ;) Please note that if you are studying at UNIL/HEP, this Buddy program is DIFFERENT from the one that you might already have signed up for a few weeks ago. Please also sign up for this one if you want to participate, even if you already signed up for the UNIL/HEP one. The UNIL/HEP system pairs you up with a single local student whereas this buddy system will put you into a group of multiple students, both local and exchange. For this buddy system, a few exchange students, just like you, will be paired up with highly motivated local students that already know Lausanne well and will do their best to make sure you find new friends in Lausanne and have a good time. You can also join a buddy group if you decide not to participate in the Welcome Week.
You’ll start the Welcome Week by meeting your future new best friends in our famous SpeedFriending where you will get the opportunity to meet all the wonderful people you’ll spend your semester with. For the rest of the week, you will be split into the previously mentioned buddy groups with which you’ll not only spend your Welcome Week but also complete challenges and hopefully create great friendships! In the evenings, games will be organized such as a blind test, a quiz and/or cooking challenges. Moreover, you can expect a local tasting session, sports and other group challenges. More details will of course follow and be reassured, your local buddies might have some ideas to keep you occupied during this week through fun challenges and adventures, all Covid-friendly of course!
 
I know you are all screaming in front of your computer/phone “I’M DEFINITELY IN BUT HOW CAN I REGISTER ???”. Well, it’s pretty simple all you need to do is to fill in this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdRwceUILYKSYd-E9dyyhYC5u1eK7aQdajMzoGIbPuKE9MAwg/viewform . Please also fill out the form if you do not plan on participating in the Welcome Week but still want to participate in the buddy system and thus get a buddy group assigned. We will then contact you by mail to confirm you have been registered (it may take us a few days to send you a confirmation mail, so please, do not worry if you did not receive anything yet the day following your registration). Don’t hesitate to contact us after a few days if you think we missed your registration though, it would be terrible to miss out on the Welcome Week, wouldn’t it ;) ? The registration deadline to fill in the form is on February 11th 23h59/11:59 PM. 
To stay posted during the Welcome Week as well as for following ESN events, we kindly ask you to download Telegram, a messaging app. You will find the link to the channel dedicated to the Welcome Week at the end of this mail. 
Switzerland asks people coming from countries and areas with a high risk of infection to go into quarantine after their arrival. You can find all the information about it here: https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/empfehlungen-fuer-reisende/quarantaene-einreisende.html . We want to stress that quarantining is not optional if your country is considered to be a high-risk area by the Swiss government. Note that the rules applying in Lausanne might be different from the ones in your home country so make sure to stay informed of the current local rules (https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov.html), they tend to change every now and then. BTW, if you need to quarantine and need help, you can contact us and we will do our best to help you. Please fill this form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc13pfId8E8bQpno9aGO63eoW3UZP0cOI_VFmSW66G-dRipJg/viewform in case you need help (or if you want to help). Note that you will still be able to participate in the Welcome Week even if have to quarantine, sometimes online events can have positive aspects as well! :D
Until this pandemic is over, there are a few simple rules. If you have symptoms, stay home and do not join any events. Be responsible and never forget to carry a mask with you and to wash your hands regularly! We also advise you to download the SwissCovid application on your phone. Another great idea is to always carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you. We can also only recommend to check the following link leading to the recommendations from the Swiss government about how to protect yourself and others during these times: https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/so-schuetzen-wir-uns.html 
 
We hope you are as excited for the Welcome Week as we are and that we will see you there ;D 
For any question regarding the Welcome Week, do not hesitate to send an e-mail to welcomeweek@lausanne.esn.ch
Website ESN EPFL: epfl.esn.ch
Website ESN UNIL: unil.esn.ch
Facebook Page ESN EPFL: https://www.facebook.com/esnepfl/
Facebook Page ESN UNIL: https://www.facebook.com/esn.unil/
Mascot ESN EPFL (Rick Roesti): https://www.facebook.com/rickroesti 
Mascot ESN UNIL (Colonel Fondue): https://www.facebook.com/fondue.colonel.5
Instagram ESN EPFL: esn_epfl
Instagram ESN UNIL: esn_unil
Telegram Channel Welcome Week: https://t.me/joinchat/VXGyJDQNr5pQ1jIa 
Facebook Group for exchange and international students in Lausanne:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/ESNLausanne2021
Contact:
In case you have questions regarding the Welcome Week, you can reach us by email under the following address: welcomeweek@lausanne.esn.ch
Your beloved Welcome Week Team <3