Archive | switzerland RSS feed for this section

One more old swimming video? YES!!

7 Feb

please click here:

Swimming Nostalgia

15 Jan

With only a few days left until the Miami Marathon I am getting a very familiar feeling; the “getting-ready-to-race feeling”. During taper week, when I was still swimming, my stomach would tingle when envisioning myself competing. It brings a big smile on my face to think of the good ol’ times. Here are some of my great swimming moments:

  • In 2002 I qualified for my first big international competition; the 2002 Junior European Championships in Linz:

    Marco in Linz 2002

    The picture was taken during warm-up in Linz.
  • In 2003 I was able to qualify again for the Junior European Championships, this time in Glasgow:
  • Got nominated for “two Basler Sport-Champions des Jahres” (2004/2005).

    (c) by Varadi: Taken at regional championships in Basel.

  • 2005: Choice to continue swimming career in the U.S. led to the making of the following video:
  • In 2006 I successfully competed at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
  • 2007 was one of the more successful years in my career – I competed for the Swiss National Team at the University Games in Bangkok:

    Picture taken during opening ceremony.

How to get a F-1 Student Visa for the US…

15 Aug

I had to apply for a F-1 Student Visa for the second time now, and I would consider myself as a expert by default. I have learned how to get the whole paper junk ready within 2 days and I feel inclined to share my experience, because I truly think that studying in the U.S. has made me who I am today.

Here is a “short” checklist of things you need to have put together before going to the U.S embassy:

  • I-20 (This is basically the official letter that will be send to you by the University once they accepted you)
  • I-901 receipt, also called Sevis fee. You need to pay this fee online and bring proof of payment (receipts) to the embassy.
  • DS-156, has to be filled out online and printed out. Make sure the bar code on the last page looks something like this.Good Bar Code If it doesn’t they will send you out and will have you redo the form, print it out again until it looks right. (This happened to me, please learn from my mistake! Mine looked something like this: Bad Bar Code)
  • DS-157, can be found here, and has to be filled out electronically through Adobe Acrobat Reader or a similar program.
  • DS-158, can also be found here, fill it out electronically print it out and bring it with you.
  • A 5cmx5cm picture that fits the U.S. restrictions. You can find the restrictions here. (I would bring two pictures.)
  • Then you also need 3 months worth of bank statements. Be sure that the statements cover the amount that is stated on the I-20. If you are not paying for tuition and expenses yourself, be sure to include a letter from your sponsor with the last three bank statements.
  • Pay 140 US$ in Visa fees and bring proof of payment. (157.20 CHF in Switzerland)
  • Write a letter that states that you will be coming back after you are done with your stay. I included possible job offers, ties to friends and family as well as my membership with various clubs that will keep me from staying in the U.S.
  • Include a letter that is addressed to yourself and include sufficient postage. (5 CHF in Switzerland)
  • Bring your valid passport.

Once you have all those things ready or you are only missing a couple pieces, but you are confident you will get them in a conceivable amount of time, call the visa information center at 0900-87-8472 (for Swiss people). You can find your countries number here.

A few more tipps:

  • Be on time when you go to the embassy, there is usually a big line of people that is there for the same reason as you.
  • Be friendly with the people handling your paperwork. They only do what the U.S. Government asks them to do. It is not their fault that you have to go through all the hassle.
  • Talk to the people around you, it will take some of your nervousness away and you will get to know some really interesting people.
  • Bring a book, a newspaper, crossword puzzles, etc. I had to wait for 2 hours in the waiting room.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: The checklist is only a guideline. Be sure to check your country’s website for changes in policy.

New Flashy Banknotes

28 May

10CHFThe Swiss National Bank announced (a while ago) that they will replace the old series with a newer, flashier, even cooler series.

Interestingly enough the new notes will not feature any faces or famous, swiss sites. On the contrary the bank notes seem to be kept generic. The designer/creator Manuel Krebs however incorporated a very interesting idea. The higher the denominations of the notes get the “bigger” is the picture on the back.

To further explain… the 10 Franc depicts blood cells in the back, the 20 Franc note shows a human body, the 50 Franc note displays a rock mass, the 100 Franc note is a satellite view of the world, the 200 Franc note represents the solar system and finally the 1000 Franc note reveals some galaxy (I have no idea if that is accurate, I’m not big in astronomy).

I like them. Click here to see them all!

Christmas in Switzerland

30 Dec

I had the most wonderful time at home for Christmas. My family, my girlfriend and I spend some awesome days together. Here are some pictures to document the fantastic experience.

Christmas 2007 in Switzerland

Christmas 2007 in Switzerland

Christmas 2007 in Switzerland

More pictures here: www.flickr.com/photos/makkeboome

Swiss Universiade Team – Official Page

9 Aug

Official Page

Opening Ceremony

9 Aug

Opening Ceremony of the University Games in Bangkok

USA

A lot of things have been going on since my last post. We visited the Swiss Ambassador at the local Swiss Embassy. He answered the often asked question of how to become a Ambassador. It was a really extensive response that I don’t want to post here. The visit also included a traditional Thai Dance Group that was performing an ancient fight between a princess and a monkey on one side and a warrior on the other. During the visit we got to talk to some university students of the surrounding area. They were all studying one of the three languages (really four, but Rumantsch is almost a dead language) that are spoken in Switzerland. I got to speak Italian and French with a couple of the scholars.

We also attended the official flag rising ceremony. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera, stupid me.

Yesterday, was the day of the Opening Ceremony. Once arrived at the Stadium we had to wait for almost 2 hours before we were allowed to march into the Rajamangala National Stadium. It was worth waiting, the Ceremony was a blast and definitely a unique experience.

Schweiz

Sehr viele Dinge sind seit meinem letzten Eintrag geschehen. Wir waren zu Besuch bei der Schweizer Botschaft und hatten die Gelegenheit dem Botschaftler einige Fragen zu stellen. Unter anderem erzählte er uns das gut gehütete Geheimniss, wie man am einfachsten Botschaftler wird. Der Besuch bei der Botschaft beinhaltete auch einen traditionellen thailändischen Tanz bei dem die Gruppen einen alten Kampf, zwischen einer Prinzessin und einem Affen auf der einen Seite und einem Kämpfer auf der anderen, personifizierten. Während dem Besuch hatten wir auch Gelegenheit mit ein paar Studenten der Uni’s in Bangkok zu sprechen. Alle waren Sprachstudenten einer der drei Sprachen (eigentlich vier aber ich zähle Rumantsch nicht dazu) welche in der Schweiz gesprochen werden. Ich konnte meine italienisch und französisch Kenntnisse zur Schau stellen.

Zudem fand das offizielle hissen der schweizer Fahne statt. Leider habe ich meine Kamera nicht mitgebracht und konnte deshalb keine Fotos machen.

Gestern fand die Eröffnungszeremonie statt. Als wir beim Stadion angekommen waren, mussten wir fast 2 Stunden warten bevor uns die Organisatoren ins “Rajamangala National Stadium” einmarschieren liessen. Das Warten hat sich aber gelohnt, die Zeremonie war genial und sicherlich eine einzigartige Erfahrung.