Academically Stressful, Socially and Culturally Wonderful January 29, 2020

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 09/16/2019 to 12/21/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
You HAVE to advocate for yourself when something doesn't feel right for you. Even though my experience in the school was not the best, I learned that I will have to initiate conversation in order to get anything done.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The curriculum is very intense, especially if you are doing a research project. You are more than likely only going to meet with your professors 1-2 times a week. There's typically minimal amount of homework given to you and there's no midterms given. You are only graded by one final at the end of the semester. It was extremely difficult for me to build any type of relationship between my professors, TAs, and classmates because of the fact that we only met once a week. The professors will not give you office hours to come by, so you have to email them yourselves if you want to talk to them in person for help.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Emailing staff is usually the way to go because their walk-in hours are only open for a short period of time. I didn't feel super supported when it was up to me to tell them when something is wrong. It is heavily independent here.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing is difficult to find for everyone, but I was lucky to find a place without any serious issues.

* Food:

Grocery shopping is your best friend.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The streets are very clean and you can easily walk from place to place with ease most of the time. The trams come often and you don't have to wait long for them.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

Academically for me was stressful. I didn't realize how hard the culture shock in terms of how the classes were run and my experience in my research lab was not on the best of terms. Communication styles differed a lot and expectations were not on the same page.

Finances

* 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)

If you grocery shop and eat at home a lot then budgeting is manageable. Eating out is very expensive here and can easily be over $30 for one meal. Transportation, rent, and health insurance will be most of your bills.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop at Lidl or Aldi for the cheapest meats and produces. Try to eat at home as much as you can. Get the half-fare ticket if you plan on traveling.

Language

* 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? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Other
* 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?
  • Friends
  • Transportation (trams and trains are lovely)
  • Beautiful scenery
* What could be improved?
  • Student Support from ETH/UT Austin
  • Housing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Get the Half-Fare Ticket for when you want to travel around the country. This will save you some money. This school is HARD in terms of research and courses. You need to be prepared for the differences in communication.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'