I have been in Zurich now for over 3 months and can safely say I have loved every moment! The experience has been eye-opening and refreshing in a number of ways (the tap water is insanely fresh snow melt from the mountains!) and will definitely influence my imminent life decisions going forward.
When I first arrived in Switzerland, I was very nervous on a number of fronts; surviving the notorious snake pit that is the Swiss prices, not knowing any German outside of “Ein Bier Bitte” and would I be able to adapt to deal with a city where public transport runs like its famed clockwork as oppose to Sydney where the train timetable is as trust worthy Friday afternoon happy hour sushi.
I have not even noticed this problems in my months, enjoying the solutions they have forced me to seek. I have been able to learn German in Uni and using it in daily life (although Swiss-German differs a bit from High-German) while I have been here, have come to expect to the minute accuracy in my transport and have even obtained a Swiss train concession that allows free travel to Germany after 7 where I can shop incredibly cheaply and gorge on Currywurst to my hearts content.
(The view of Lake Zurich from Uetliburg – A 15 minute tram and 1 hour hour hike away from Zurich main station)
I think reflecting on the past 3 months, the two main big things that stand out for me are no doubt the majestic scenery and the incredible convenience of living in the middle of Europe. Zurich is located at the foot of Lake Zurich, an absolutely pristine lake with the glorious Swiss alps standing in the background. Looks more like something from middle earth then planet Earth at times, and I get to see it every day! Plus, almost every weekend I have been in another country exploring. Berlin, Prague, Vienna and even Cricket in Milan have been examples from recent weeks, with Budapest and Krakow next on the agenda!
(At Starkbierfest in Munich at the Lowenbrau Keller)
In terms of daily life, I think I have become highly skilled at climbing hills, as Zurich has a large number of hilly districts. I live in a building named Culmanstrasse 26 which has an ultra convenient location being 5 minute walk away from uni and 7-8 minute walk to the main station (which requires a really difficult hill to walk back up), which if you run directly up the hill it backs up on, takes you to a lovely forest in about 15 minutes. From here, you can have a perfect pano opportunity to observe the lake, Alps and the city of Zurich and is also fantastic to explore weather covered in snow or in flowers in the Spring.
(Skiing in the alps is an absolute must!!)
I am really not looking forward to going back to Sydney purely because it is pretty here, the people are friendly, and, to be honest, the school work is relatively easy back at UTS!
P.S It’s funny how aclimatized you get, I am sitting on roof top in shorts on a 15 degree day!