Flying out of Sydney on December 31st 2018, watching the New Year’s Fireworks from the window of my plane, I knew the next six months were going to be a fantastic experience. From the first moment I arrived in Zürich I was blown away by the city. On one of my first days in town, I spent hours walking around the alley ways of the historic old town with a pastry in one hand and the other tucked away to avoid the cold. Life in Zurich is very different to life in Sydney, the city moves at a more relaxed pace during the day, and at night the music districts come to life with local and international acts playing in tiny underground bars. On Sundays however everyone leaves the city for a day skiing in the alps, or a hike on one of the nearby mountains.
Overlooking the historic old town on Zürich is the university of Zürich main campus, located right next to the ETH. Both universities are incredibly beautiful, with very impressive facilities across all of their campuses. The collaboration between the universities in Switzerland is also remarkable, allowing me to take classes at one if they aren’t offered at another. Classes are taught in a very similar way to home. Generally course sizes are somewhat smaller though which I am enjoying as It allows you have more personal relationships with professors and teaching assistants. The subjects I have chosen to study range from astrophysics to genomics and almost all consist only of lectures which works well when you’re looking to travel on weekends. Beyond the academic, UZH offers free sports facilities and classes to all students allowing me to try new activities such as Yoga and group training, which is necessary considering I live next to a bakery with some of the best bread I’ve ever eaten.
University housing in Zurich is very comparable to what is offered in Sydney. Additionally the international student network organised by the university runs fantastic events almost every week which made it really easy to make friends. We quickly built up a large network on exchange students who hang out most days and travel together. Life as an exchange student is very different to what you experience at home. The opportunity to live autonomously in a foreign country, with no job and very few responsibilities is one we are incredibly lucky to have.
Switzerland has been full of surprises since I arrived and now in my second month here, I am having more and more fun every day. Meeting people from all around the world, travelling to a different major European city every weekend and learning more about other cultures and my own is an invaluable experience that I will never forget. If I had one piece of advice to offer potential exchange students I’d tell them not to worry before you go. Although it’s a daunting experience leaving your home for half a year, everyone else is in the exact same position you are, and the experiences you gain and friends you make will be with you forever.
Bachelor of Biotechnology
University of Zürich
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au