Choo Choo! Good old coal train!


May 2, 2017

The second stop of our touristic programme was the coal powered train. They are the oldest coal powered, operating train with a full kitchen, if I remember the organization’s head’s speech correctly. 😉

This thing had plenty of smoke, that’s for sure. It was also slow, and you can really feel the wheels going up and down and doing chug chug chug.

The Swiss Alps’ Santis


May 2, 2017

To kick off the the conference’s touristic programme, our bus went to the mountain near St. Gallen – Mt. Santis! Probably the most beautify alpine mountain I’ve ever seen (and that includes Mt. Fuji)

Our bus went up a semi-deserted road and passed through these beautiful houses surrounded by snow.
We then took the cable car up to the top of the mountain.
Hello, Swiss Alps!

Abbey of St. Gallen


May 1, 2017

An abbey and a church that is more than a thousand years old, this is one of the key landmarks of St. Gallen. The city started by a man named Gallus, who tripped on a root on his way from the famous lake nearby and deemed such tripping as a sign that he should live there.

It was a pretty nice walk, and I loved the feel of the place. It’s like a peaceful, original version of the 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

I started walking from were I was staying, and the entire neighborhood looked like they were part of a grand theme.
I was walking across the old city, and there were plenty of cafes. Oh, and it had plenty of snow. It wasn’t snowing when I was there. It was raining. and I was freezing. 😦
Then voila! The beacon of chocolate shines bright to my tired eyes!
I stayed in the cafe for at least an hour, enjoying the famed Swiss chocolate and some pastries. I think I paid CHF15ish. Tsk tsk. That’s pretty steep.
After my coffee, I decided to spend the rest of the time inside the church (where it is warm)
The church was pretty huge, of course.
and here’s the abbey right outside.

St. Gallen Symposium

One of the top business schools in Switzerland brings together hundreds of leaders every year to have a chance to discourse on a central theme – a theme based on what the committee considers as a highly relevant topic in today’s world.

To do this, they invite current world leaders – be it in the political scene or the business world. They call them Leaders of Today.

To pass on the baton, they also invite people they consider as future leaders. They call them Leaders of Tomorrow.

These people are generally invited. That’s how you get in. You get invited.

How do you get invited? You need to have accomplished a lot (like be the CEO of a big company or invent something or cure cancer). So what if you aren’t one of these high profile individuals? You join an essay competition.

For current post-graduate students, they can join an essay competition about the current year’s theme. That’s it. No recommendations, registration fees, etc. needed.

Out of all submissions, they select the top 100 essays and invite these students to join the symposium – all expenses paid for btw. The organization will pay for your plane ticket, accommodations, food, insurance and land transport. Even the visa application is free!

So, how to do this?

1. Check if you are eligible. You have to be enrolled in a post graduate degree – it varies though, so double check every year. A couple of years back even undergrads can apply. You also have to be young enough (coz you’re supposed to be the Leader of Tomorrow) – normally less than 30 years old at the time of submission.

2. Write your essay and submit. Oh, I also needed a certification from my school that I am indeed enrolled. So yes, you need to be enrolled in a school. Any school.

3. Wait.


January. Invitation.

The people from St. Gallen go all over the world to invite students to apply. Even if you are not “invited”, you can still apply. Just go to their site.

February. Deadline of submission.

For 2017, it was during the first week of February.

March. Results.

I’ve got mine via email on March 7, 2017.

April. Administrative matters.

There’s constant communication regarding visa application, tickets, etc. They are very detailed and thorough, way better than the graduate students of another event I participated in.

May. The Symposium!