ETH Zürich, Zwitserland

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1 Exchange periode studenten CiTG ETH Zürich, Zwitserland 1. General Information Name: Nadieh Meinen TU Delft Degree Programme: Bachelor Civil Engineering, third year Country and Town: Delft, The Netherlands Name of University abroad: Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zürich Period Abroad: 19/9/ /02/2012 Composition of study programme: Subjects 2. Preparation and contact with your own faculty For my Erasmus period abroad I went to the ETH Zürich. Since the first semester of our third education year is a free minor, I could do this anywhere I wanted. ETH Zürich is a good University and also has good connections with my own Univeristy TU Delft (IDEA Leage), so it seemed immediately the right choise for me. For information I went to my universitie s Exchange Office. They told me exactly which steps I should take. I needed to find out my own subjects / projects and also needed to contact the host university myself. Because I wanted to use my credits from Zürich for my degree at TU Delft, I also had to let approve my study program. This is done by the Examen Commissie. I also made a few calls to the host university with the most important questions: What are the demands to be able to study at your university? Do I need to be able to speak fluently German? What if I don t pass all my subjects the first time? Enrico Manna, the exchange coordinator of Civil Engineering in Zürich, was very helpful. 3. Study program At ETH I studied a combination of Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering. I Also had one course which was more related to the direct nature and the Greenhouse Effect; Atmosphere. One of the reasons I went to Zürich was because I wanted to study something that was more related to the environment. ETH has a special study direction with a lot of specialisation courses like Environmentel Engineering Seminars, Ground Water Flow, Reuse of Materials. I also wanted to go to Zürich because I knew the whole Bachelor was educated in German. Since I live close to Germany I insisted on improving my German language skills. The study program did fit in my expectations. The level of the courses were high, but not too high. With a TU Delft background one can easily fit in. One thing that was remarkable was the fact that not all courses have a proper script. Sometimes you need to study with the sheets. If your language skills in the beginning are not superb yet, this could be a real problem (since you cannot read it over again).

2 As I said, my Erasmus study period in Zürich was a part of my degree in the Netherlands. This meant that I had to pass all my subjects at once (making re exams is not possible at ETH if you only study there for one semester, so beware). At the ETH the study program is different from our in Delft. Every semester they have different blocks. In these blocks are a certain ammount of ECTS points and a certain composition of courses. The ETH students need to pass this block, and not all the single courses. The level of the exams is, of course adapted to that. (For example if they pass one course with a 10 and the other one with a 2 the average is a 6 and they passed). Beware: this doen t count for TU Delft students, We need to pass everyting. During my exchange period I only had contact with my home university once. I found out that a lot of subjects I wanted to take overlapped, so I needed to find some new subjects instead. The TU Delft approved them again. Funding and prerequisits I only applied to the Erasmus scolarship and fortunately it was succesfull. I received 1100 Euro for the whole period, which was a big financial help for my stay in the most expensive city of the world. For me it wasn t too easy to apply for a scholarship. Since I also needed the TU Delft to approve my study programm (that takes quite a while) I could only apply at the very end. Since the scholarschip is never guaranteed, I was quite nervous about it. The arrangements one has to take for the Erasmus scholarschip are quite clear. You need to have a signature of the host and home university on the learning agreement (also takes a while) and need to sign some official papers. Since a lot of collegue students already received an Erasmus Scholarschip, there a many people who can help you with any kind of questions. Last year Zürich is chosen to be the most expensive city in the world. So yes, the costs of living were quite high compared to those in the Netherlands. Where I buy in Delft 6 beers for 6 Euros, I buy one beer in Zürich for the same ammount of money. Also meat was very(!!) expensive (one kilogram of chicken is about 30 Euros), so I turned out te be a Swiss vegetarian. All my insurances I already arranged in the Netherlands. This is cheaper and easier. When you are In Zürich you will receive a letter from the Health Insurance Department of Zürich in which they oblige you to take a Swiss insurance. Don t worry, as a foreign student with a valid health insurance they make an exeption. I always paid with my card because at my bank that was the cheapest option. You should call your bank to ask what s the best option for you (maybe you could better take a Swiss bank account for example)

3 Accomodation: 345 FRANK/month (this was very cheap, average is 500 FRANK) Food: 150 FRANK/month Health Insurance: 100 EURO/month (Netherlands) Travelling Insutance: 40 EURO/month (also health costs taken covered) Local travelling costs: 54 FRANK/month (monthly unlimited ticket city Zürich) Books/course material: 50 FRANK/month (200 all together in the first month) Entertainment: 150 FRANK/month Sports: For ETH Students all the sport accomodations like fitness are free of charge. Language course: Semester language course is free, intensive language course is 140 FRANK All together calculated with 1 EURO = 1,2 FRANK: 764 EURO Accomodation The ETH(/WOKO) has a certain ammount of vacant rooms which they let to foreign students. A few months before the semester starts you can apply for these rooms. Since a lot of students do this, ETH makes a selection (rules: first comes forst gets and people from an other continent are in advantage). All the other students have to look for an accomodation on their own. In Zürich is a well known short of student rooms. This means that the prices are high and vacant rooms are rare. Since I knew all of this I started looking for a room already before I actually knew if my learning agreemant was approved. A girl I knew viavia wanted to study in Delft for the same semester and we switched rooms. I also went there to check everything before my semester even started. My room was really big (25m2), neat and furnished. I shared the kitchen with 3 persons and the bathroom with 6. I had to walk 5 minutes to the ETH so it was just perfect. I heard that a lot of the WOKO rooms were not that nice at all. Some students shared their kitchen with 40 people and, of course, nobody felt responsible to clean. Therefore I really recommand to look for a room on your own. If you want to get to know Zürich a bit before your semester starts you can combine that with hosting nights. Language and culture At the Civil Engineering department of ETH Zürich 80% of the lectures are given in German. Also in the Master, so beware. For Dutch students I think it is definately possible to follow the courses in German, but a strong will is demanded. The professors speak with a strong Swiss-German accent, even if they speak Hoch-Deutsch. Since in Switserland they have three official languges (German, French, Italien) it is also possible that you will have a teacher who s mother tongue is actually French. This makes it extremely difficult to understand them. Unfortunately I had to quit a course because of that. Before I went to Zürich I didn t know that much German. Of course I learnt it at high school, but I forgot half of it. Before the semester starts the ETH offers you an intensive language course. It costs all togethet 140 FRANKS. It is a really nice language course, but it most definately isn t a professional

4 one. You do get to know a lot of other Erasmus students, so I do recommend you to go there. I think it was really nice to communicate in an other language. Step by step I learnt better to express myselff in German and I was actually really proud of it. Even though your jokes aren t that funny as they were supposed to be, local people admire and encourage you for trying. On the whole the Swiss culture is quite similar to the Dutch one. People are friendly and helpfull, the only difference is that Swiss people are way less open. Where saying your opinion about anything or anyone is tipically Dutch, Swiss peope are more waiting. Also the ETH students are, on the whole, way more motivated then the students from Delft. So don t be amazed if they won t go out with you on a Thursday because they want to do some homework. Free time Zürich is a great city. There are many museums, shops, churches and other pretty historical sightseeing possibilities. I really loved Zürich and especcially the old town. It has great colours and the atmosphere is cozy. So for me Zürich was all I needed for my free time. I do know a lot of Erasmus students that went skiing, hiking, cycling in the mountains. Switserland is small, so you can easily go anywhere in the country within a few hours. This is expensive though. In the evenings I had a lot of diners with friends and my roommates. Every weekend there is a house party somewhere. Because the entrances of the big disco s are incredibally high (30 euro s) we only went there e few times. I met most of my friends at the Intensive Language course. Those are all people that want to make the best out of their Erasmus time, so they are more open to make trips and go out then the (average) local people. I also took a course (Werkstoffe III) from which I new that we would had to work in groups. Since I was the only exchange girl from my class, and I had a lot of courses with the same people, I soon got to know almost everyone of the class (in civil engineering are only a few girls, so if you are a girl you are pretty striking). I met a lot of nice people who really became good friends and who helped me a lot with my subjects. I had one favourite Koffeeshop; BABU s (Löwenstrasse 1, 8001 Zürich). This is a typically girls place with an incredible assortiment of different coffee flavours, thee flavours, pies and other nice sweet stuff. A local friend took me there, because it is a few meters outsite of the centre. Travelling The public transport in zürich is, in one word, GREAT. Busses drive every 10 minutes (if not more) and everywhere there are boards with waiting times on it. As a student under 25 you can buy the monthly ticket for 54 FRANK, which allows you to travel in whole of the centre. You can use the busses, the trams, the trains, everything as long as it is in kreis 10. Since allmost everything happens in kreis 10, this montly ticket will be enough.

5 Also in the night there are night busses in Zürich. Of course you have to look carefully where and when they stopp. The night buss costs only 5 FRANKS each time (and are for free if you take a bank account at ZKB). If you use a taxi in Zürich this costs you about 55 FRANKS. Other I really loved Zürich, and I definately want to go back there in the near future. Since I want to keep improving my German language skills, I am thinking of going there for an internship. My Exchange Coordinator also told me that students from TU Delft (studying Civil Engineering) are always accepted to do their master degree in Zürich (since ETH and TU Delft are related with IDEA- League). So doing my masters there is also a plausible possibility. Going abroad really changed a lot for me. I did not only learn a lot about my studies, the language and Switserland, I also learnt a lot about those typical things like: Health insurance (how does that work?), writing letters, arranging an accomodation, travel on my own, summarized: being independent. For those who are planning to go abroad I only want to say one thing; DO IT, but do it a full year and not only one semester!

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