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Austausch - OUT


13/14 WS


Beijing - Tsinghua University


Volkswirtschaftslehre (3020)


Very positive overall impression. I wish I could have stayed a longer time, one semester was too short.


Many things need to be prepared before leaving for an exchange semester, that's common sense, but it is absolutely worth it. The good thing is that most of the preparation can be done during the summer vacation when leaving like me for the fall semester. Hence, during the semester before the exchange, one can focus on his/her current courses. It is also related to the fact that the list of the courses offered by Tsinghua University is published only during the summer before the beginning of the classes. That is also a negative aspect that I want to point out, as it would be better to have this list of courses earlier in order to make plans about the credits one might be able to do during the exchange semester.


Arrival is not a problem if you are well prepared with the English name and better Chinese name of the address where we want to go for the taxi driver (+ in case the phone number of your buddy at Tsinghua University or the hotel or dormitory), if you know that one might avoid black taxi and if you know that it must cost around 100 RMB to go to the area of Tsinghua University, called Wudaokou.

It is better to arrive in Beijing enough days before the beginning of the semester as you might need some time to look for an apartment, buy a bicycle, buy a prepaid card for your mobile phone, visit the University and the area of Wudaokou, visit the city and make already new friends. 


I was living in an apartment with 2 other students from the University of Zürich. We have found this apartment with the help of my buddy (a Chinese student at Tsinghua University, which is a service offered for any new foreigner student). It is not so hard to find an apartment in the area of the University, but if you want to find a fair price for the rent, you will need to bargain which makes things a little bit more complicated, thus plan 3-5 days to find a good apartment. It is worth it, as the dormitories propose little rooms, hot water for the shower only 2 times a day and some restrictions about the people allowed to enter into the dormitories after 11 pm. Moreover, apartments are maybe further to the teaching buildings where you will have your classes compared to the dormitories, however, dormitories are further to the bars/clubs street of Wudaokou. 


The campus is very beautiful and very large, you will definitely need a bicycle there. The building for the students in economics is very nice as well. You have many cafeterias which provide good food for a very cheap price. You have shops, many sport places, libraries and some cafés on the campus, but if you want to spend more time at night with friends, it is better to go to Wudaokou, which is close to the campus.

The courses I had were interesting. All my professors were Chinese, but there are also foreigner professors. The semester is divided in 2 parts with some courses finishing in the first half of the semester and some other courses starting later and finishing at the end of the semester. Hence, if you want to go back earlier or if you want to have more time at the end of the semester in order to travel, it is possible to take classes only during the first half of the semester. The courses are usually easy to follow, but there are often more assignments, presentations, projects than what I was used to do in Zürich.

For the students in Economics (VWL), I warn you that most of the courses proposed by the MBA program of Tsinghua University are in the BWL or Wahlbereich field which can be a problem for the transfer of credits. I hope this situation will change for the future students going to Tsinghua University, which could be possible, as the University offers courses in VWL field, but they are simply not included in the MBA program planned when coming from Zürich University.


Don't miss the presentations of the different associations of the university during one of the first weeks of the semester. I strongly recommend you to subscribe to different associations which is the best way to make new contacts, especially with Chinese students, as you might have your normal classes with foreigners only. Moreover, by joining a sport association, you will maybe have the chance to join a sport competition and represent Tsinghua University like I did.

About sport, the gym in Tsinghua is very cheap, but not so well equipped. But no worries, you can find several other gyms near the campus which are better and cost a little bit more money, but the prices remain reasonable compared to Switzerland.

The best time to do the exchange must be the fall semester, because there is more time to travel with the mid-autumn holiday and the Golden week (national holiday) during the beginning of the semester. Travel in China is very cheap and there are many beautiful places to visit.