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Type/Direction

Austausch - IN

Year

10/11 WS

University

US-
Athens, GA - University of Georgia

Subject

Biochemie (8290)

Overall Impression

Overall, my experience here has been amazing. I've been challenged linguistically, culturally, and academically. Equally important, I've met amazing people, both fellow exchange students and students from Zurich. I'm very sad that I can't stay here another semester. I think that everyone should live here at least once. 

Preparation

It was great that I didn't have to take care of the visa application myself, which was very helpful because I don't live near a Swiss consulate in the US. However, it was very difficult and frustrating to book modules. First of all, I didn't know what a module was, and whether there is a difference between a module and a class. Secondly, all of the online material is in German- there's no English option for module booking. So it was very time consuming to book modules, and I later found out that I did not do it correctly. I thought that I booked a module for a German course, but upon my arrival I found out that language classes must be booked through the Sprachzentrum. Therefore, I could not take a German course during my time here, which greatly hindered my plans to improve my German speaking abilities. 

Arrival

The arrival was great. A representative of my exchange program met me at the airport, for which I am very grateful because otherwise I would've been helpless! 

Accomodation

I'm very grateful that ISEP and Woko arranged housing for me, because otherwise it might have been impossible to find accommodations. I know a few masters' students here who found it very difficult to find their own housing, and I'm really glad that I wasn't in that situation. Also, the housing provided by Woko was less expensive than other housing. I live at Meierwiesenstrasse 62, which is a dorm of about 260 exchange students, and it's a good community. 

University

This semester has been my most academically challenging semester yet, both because of the language barrier and because of the difficulty of the classes themselves. I'm learning a lot and have had a great time getting to know my fellow students. Also, Irchel campus is beautiful. 

The only negative thing about the university is the difficulty I had scheduling my final exams. I have to take my exams early, and it took a long time to figure out who to contact. Several times, I've been sent from person to person without being given a guarantee that I can take the exams on time.

Life/Leisure

The standard of living here is very high, and it's obvious based on prices and seeing how people live. However, it's wonderful to live here because of the public transportation and friendliness of the local population. There's so much to do in Zurich and it's so easy to get everywhere you need to go. Also, it's easy to travel around Switzerland and nearby countries.