I arrived in Zürich less than a week ago and I’m already smitten with the place. It’s truly amazing here – the city is vibrant, the surrounding landscapes are beautiful and the culture is endlessly intriguing.
It’s hard to believe that I’m living in the magical land famous for its chocolate, cheese and cuckoo clocks, where most countries in Europe are a mere train ride away (#winning). I’ve experienced numerous “pinch yourself moments”, as the architecture and scenic views are so perfectly picturesque. From the few days that I’ve been in Zürich, I’ve perceived it to be an opulent city that is rich with creativity, mystery and allure. Of course, all of this comes at a price and it’s no surprise that the cost of living is high here. As a student it’s essential to spend your money wisely and to budget sensibly or you may have to subsist on baked beans for the rest of the semester (while I dare to joke about this, baked beans are probably expensive too).
I’m living in a shared apartment with 8 other students who are from America, China, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and Switzerland. I’m really happy that I have my own private room and that it’s spacious, modern and study-friendly. Thankfully, all of my flatmates are awesome and we’ve already engaged in some very interesting discussions about Switzerland, world politics and our respectively diverse cultures whilst cooking together. The whole building is full of students, which means there is never a dull moment!
I’ve been attending an intensive German language course, which has been great for picking up the language essentials and making friends with students who are from all over the world. I love that each day I’m independently venturing far outside of my comfort zone, broadening my cultural awareness, exploring incredible new sights and meeting inspiring individuals. My lectures commence in a few weeks at the University of Zürich and I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from experts in the field of international law. Right now I’m still settling in and making sense of my new surroundings, however I’m beyond excited for the adventure, friendship, learning and discovery that this once in a lifetime exchange experience is bound to bring me. I’m keen to travel more around Europe and embrace Swiss culture like a pro!
To anyone who is considering going on exchange, I highly recommend it! Studying overseas teaches you to become a resilient global citizen, enhances your cultural aptitude and may open many doors in terms of future career options. While I’ve just begun my exchange semester in Zürich, I’ve previously studied in Italy and recently completed an internship in China. Here are my top tips for global exchange:
- Be prepared. Make sure you do your research, ask questions and apply early.
- Choose a place that you love, a culture that you would like to learn more about and a university that offers subjects that you are passionate about studying.
- Work hard to make it happen. Everyone’s finances and priorities differ, however I would strongly advise that you start saving at least a year before your intended departure. Work, work and work!
- Strive for balance. Contrary to popular thought, going on exchange is not all about partying all the time. Yes, there will be epic parties, but it’s important to prioritise your studies and to learn as much as you can, both culturally and academically.
- Have fun and make the most out of each day!
Anita A. Juric | 5th year, Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (Italy) | 11420837