6 – Life in Zurich

6.1. Things to do in Zurich

There is plenty to do in Zurich besides research at ETH. Apart from asking your co-workers, we would like to recommend a few homepages for you to visit:
www.barolino.ch (list of bars in Zurich/Switzerland)
https://zuerich.usgang.ch/ (party events in Zurich)
https://www.meetup.com/ (if you want to meet new people)
https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/experiences/summer-autumn/hiking/hiking-search/-/zurich-region/ (hiking area near Zurich)
https://www.komoot.com/guide/329/hiking-in-zurich (hiking area near Zurich)
https://www.hb-as.ch/en/watersports (watersport activities in Zurich).
For more information on services and clubs see chapter 10.

6.2. Learning Languages

While doing your doctoral studies, seize the opportunity to learn German or a different foreign language. There are several offers at both ETH Zurich/University of Zurich as well as from external companies. Browse the following pages to find out more.

Language Center of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich

The Sprachenzentrum is the language center for ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. It offers courses to learn German as a foreigner, including intensive courses, courses for many other languages, and courses for improving your academic writing skills. Doctoral students and other scientific staff are charged a fee of around CHF 400 to take language courses. Check-out their webpage for more information.
ETH Zurich recommends that professors subsidize language course fees for their doctoral students and scientific staff as this might facilitate the newcomer’s integration. English or academic writing courses can also help increase the success rate for paper submissions. However, some professors are not willing to support their graduate students in this matter.

Language Tandems

Tandem learning involves two people with different mother tongues working together to improve their foreign language skills. It also allows participants to learn about different cultures and share cultural experiences. The approach is based on autonomous learning, with each partner responsible for their own learning progress. The participants decide on their own aims, learning strategies and areas to cover within a set timeframe.
The Language Center’s tandem exchange is aimed at students and staff of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. Tandem learning is independent from participation in a language course and there is no fee for this service.
The Sprachenzentrum has prepared a tandem contract for you and your tandem partner. It provides guidance on how to approach a tandem partnership. More info can be found at: www.sprachenzentrum.uzh.ch/tandem.

Migros Klubschule

The Migros Klubschule is the biggest further education provider in Switzerland, with more than half a million participants each year. Among others, they also offer courses in Swiss German. More information is available at www.klubschule.ch.

Erasmus Student Network (ESN)

The international Erasmus Student Network in Zurich organizes a variety of social events. Visit their website to find out more.

6.3. Family Affairs

Reconciling family and work is an important focus of ETH Zurich. Of course, combining both will pose a challenge. This is why ETH Zurich created a range of services for employees with young children.
Up-to-date information on these services can be found on the ETH-Zurich Family Portal. The FAQ section on this page is interesting for both employers and employees.

Figure 2. Educational system in Switzerland. This illustration is taken from the Übersichtsgraphik Schulstufen

If you have any questions about bringing your family to Switzerland, please get in touch with the HR manager of your department. Your group secretary will provide you with the name of your HR administration assistant. It is advisable to enquire about the procedure before starting at ETH Zurich. The city of Zurich also provides further information for partners of ETHZ employees. 
Daycare – kihz Perhaps the most important service is the kihz trust, which offers advice for parents in academia on finding daycare for their children, holiday care or special daycare during conferences. Here, you will also find a list of links to English speaking daycare centers in Zurich.

Note: The information provided in German might be more detailed than in English. Check both just in case.

There are also offers for day care in Basel:

Changing Tables – A few rooms at ETH are specially equipped for diaper-changing.
ASVZ Junior Club – The Academic Sports Association of Zurich provides sports courses tailored to youngsters. 

Pregnancy – For information about maternity leave etc., contact the Doctoral Administration, Office of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men at ETH ZurichHuman Resources for further information check out here.

Day Nursery – KiKri and the Kihz foundation provide day nursery centers. As the waiting lists are typically rather long, it is a good idea to arrange childcare as early as possible, preferably even during pregnancy. In addition, Kihz provides other services such as ‘kihz holiday clubs’.
Important Contacts:
– KiKri
– Stiftung kihz
– The joint website of AVETH and the Office of Equal Opportunities for Men and Women at ETH Zurich


Finishing the Doctorate