Very challenging Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/19/2016 to 02/10/2017 with

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich(ETH): Zürich - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Math/phys skills, academical skills

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The ETH is famous as one of the best (and most difficult) universities in the world. My experience confirms this. My professors were world-class in their fields, and they expected me to be a world-class student. Be honest with yourself about how much you can handle; this program is tough.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They send you an email at the beginning about what to do, and an email at the end about what to do then. Otherwise, they expect you to be independent about everything, from finding housing to getting to class. They are upfront about these expectations - they are never flaky, just lean.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with family.

* Food:

Switzerland has excellent, but expensive, food. University food was almost always very good for what it was, at a very reasonable price for the place.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It's difficult to integrate in Switzerland. They are very polite, but aloof.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had a real issue, but Switzerland is famously world-class.

* Safety:

Switzerland is extremely safe. I never felt weird about walking alone at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Zurich is among the top 3 most expensive cities in the world.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I was lucky to live with family who fed me.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Find a part-time job teaching English or sciences, Swiss jobs pay well. Grocery store food is fresh, good, and cheap.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Rigor
* What could be improved?
  • Social network
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How difficult it would be

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Functional Analysis

Course Department: Math
Instructor: M. Struwe
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very challenging, excellent professor. Good instructor, funny, and top of his field.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Dynamical Systems

Course Department: Math
Instructor: W. Merry
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very challenging. The professor was very smart, but a very poor lecturer. At times lost in his own lecture notes.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Course Department: Quantum Information Theory
Instructor: R. Renner
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Excellent professor, good lecturer, fascinating and difficult course. The exam was strange. Lecture notes were outdated.
Credit Transfer Issues: