International Relations

News
UZH International
Studying at UZH
Studying Abroad
Doctoral Students
Teaching Staff
North-South Cooperation
About us  

Reports

to overview

Type/Direction

Austausch - IN

Year

09/10 WS + SS

University

AU-
Sydney - University of Technology Sydney

Subject

Geschichte (Allgemeine) (7600)

Overall Impression

My year of exchange in Zürich has been the most amazing year of my life so far, one which I know I will never forget.

I came specifically to this city to study because it is the city where my Mother grew up, and my motivation in coming to Zürich for a year was to learn about and experience life in a city which played such a big role in her life.

The memories of things I have learnt, places I have seen, experiences I have had and, most importantly, the amazing people I have met will remain with me for life. They by far outnumber my initial expectations. I wish more than anything to be able to do something like this again, time went by much too quickly. 

 For me, Zürich was the perfect location for exchange. An amazing city which never ceases to amaze me in its beauty and culture, surrounded by other easily reachable towns and mountains in the greater Switzerland of equal beauty, in the centre of Europe with doorways to many, many other countries. And the University standards are extremely high. These proved the be the perfect combination for an unforgettable exchange experience.

Preparation

Contact with the University of Zürich prior to my arrival was prompt and efficient. Once my application had been approved I was in fairly regular contact with the staff at UZH, who were more than happy to assist with questions I had regarding courses, visa applications, housing and Zürich in general. I was really very impressed with how helpful they were, considering at that time I was on the other side of the world (in Australia) but they were still able to help me with all my last-minute questions.

Arrival

My arrival into Zürich went smoothly. I arrived around one week prior to the commencement of the Intensiv Deutsch Kurs (through the Sprachenzentrum - STRONGLY recommended for non-native German speakers not only as a way to practice the language but also to meet other students); enough time to settle into my new room and take care of organisational matters such as registratioons, banks, Kreisbüro etc.

Upon my first visit to the University I was warmly greeted by the Staff who explained the paperwork which I needed to complete. During the Deutsch Kurs we had a matriculation meeting specifically for International Students at the University one evening, where we were all provided with general semester introduction information as well as International Student organisations and programs.  It made me feel more confident and prepared for the semesters ahead.

Accomodation

I was really lucky to have the staff at UZH assist me in finding a room. They referred me to someone from WOKO (the student housing association here), which offered me a room in a large student-house. It was really such a great place to live, I met so many students from ALL OVER the world. There are a few student houses like this scattered throughout the city, all within reasonable distance from the University and at quite decent prices.

My second semester in Zurich I searched privately for an apartment with the intention of living with Swiss students in order to practice my German-speaking skills. I found a WG apartment sharing with 2 Swiss girls on http://wgzimmer.ch/, a really great website but quite difficult to use if you are not already in Switzerland (or unable to come before the semester begins) because most people who advertise for a room will want to organise a casting where you can meet one another and speak about the house etc. Apartments can be quite hard to find in Zürich, so the earlier you begin looking for a room, the better!

University

UZH is such a beautiful University. The main building, containing the beautiful Lichthof is an amazing old building situated in the city but a bit higher up, providing amazing views. It is a well-equipped University with highly skilled teaching staff, administrative staff and many resources for students. There are other campuses (one in Irchel, which is by a lake and the woods), however my classes were all centred around the city campus.

UZH is situated directly beside the ETH, and students can access the gym under polyterasse (ETH) for free with their student cards. Polyterasse boasts one of the best views of the city! The University has frequent events, information days and talks throughout the semester to cater to many different interests and they are well worth checking out.

 The mensas at both UZH and ETH provide daily meals for lunch at dinner at a very cheap price for students.

Life/Leisure

It is difficult to summarise the amazing experiences I've had living in this city. Life here is expensive compared to what I was used to, but if you're prepared for it and you're smart about it then there is really nothing to worry about.

 Zurich offers so much, and is the gateway to even more. During Winter, ski resorts can be reached by train from Zürich in only 1.5 hours! That means you can literally leave the busy city early in the morning, ski for an entire day, and be back that night! But if you have the time to go for longer, of course there are an endless amount of other possible destinations in Switzerland!

Summer is amazing in Zürich also, it completely exceeded my expectations. Swimming is possible at just about any point in the Lake of Zürich and also along the Limmat which divides the city and leads into the lake. Swimming beach-like areas are also located along the river, a popular hangout for students. I spent many amazing days lying by the river with fellow students.

Culturally, Zürich offers so much. With many different museums, galleries, theatres and concert halls, one cannot ever complain of having nothing to do. My friends and I attended an Opera at the Zürich Opern Haus, if you arrive just before the performance they sell cheap tickets to students... I wasn't sure what to expect but it was a fabulous night. The Kunsthaus (free on Wednesdays!) is somewhere I definitely visited more than once this year, it has such an amazing Permanent Art Collection (particularly Modern Art) and temporary exhibitions also.

Student networks through the University such as the ESN group organise weekly activities which provide students with the possibility to explore Zürich as well as other cities and meet other students at the same time.