When I started my search for a cool and challenging internship about a year ago, most companies I approached either cancelled their vacancies due to Covid‐19 or stopped sending out internships offers at all. One of the few countries where companies were still hiring was Switzerland. Luckily, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) was still looking for interns to help with their projects.
My name is Choi Serena Kai Xin. I am currently a student in the programme, Aviation Engineering in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. I am an energetic person who likes playing table tennis very much. Also, I am a reliable person, my friends always see me as a good listener and a good teammate. Imagine thousands of airplanes that are made up of small gears and machines are flying in the sky, that makes me feel excited and amazed. I am a very inquisitive person and this surely appeals me and also arouses my interests in Aerospace Engineering.
Last winter Man Ho Chong came from Hong Kong to Winterthur for a semester in Aviation. A big plus of studying in Switzerland? The snow!
My name is Banthita Ritbandhit and I am a senior student at Thammasat University from Thailand. During this exchange at the ZHAW School of Engineering, my field of study was Information and Communication Technologies because that is also the major I study in my hometown.
My name is Carmen, I´m from Spain and currently I´m studying Industrial Management Engineering at Universidad of Valladolid. My main hobby is to spend time with my family and friends and I quite interested in the fashion industry.
What would be the perfect home base, if you want to see Europe while studying? And where do you find the perfect mixture of nature and culture at the same time? Viv Marleen Tamme, an Aviation student from Estonia, says Winterthur.
My name is Ignacio Peluaga Lozada. I was born in Argentina, but moved to Spain at the age of 7.
In Spain I study Computer Science. But I wanted to go to a German speaking country and to a big city. From the available list of German speaking destinations Zurich was the biggest city so I applied to it. Then I found out I would go to Winterthur and not Zurich as it was stated on the list, but this was not a problem at all.
My first impression as introduction was at the Technikum: the building is old, but it’s clean. Back at home the building in which Computer Science is taught is quite new but not as clean and organised as the ZHAW School of Engineering. The infrastructure at the ZHAW School of Engineering is top in my opinion so engineering students can really learn what is needed for nowadays engineer positions.
My most memorable experiences are the ones I lived with the people I met there, specially the other exchange students at the ZHAW School of Engineering during the first semester. Also I had the chance to learn German and to study at an university which teaches what is really needed in the “real world” and not tons of (in a way) useless theory. Thanks to what I learned at ZHAW I was able to find a job in an area of Information Technology that I really like.
Ingacio (left) and fellow students a the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen.
I did like living in Switzerland as well. Even though it’s expensive everything is clean and organised. Also going on exchange programs is a unique opportunity to meet people from all around the world and to learn from them. Knowing how to deal with cultural differences is important nowadays.
My advice to people who are planning on doing exchanges is not do an exchange year when its going to be your last bachelor’s year and you have to pass 60 credits. You do not know what you will find at the destination university. ZHAW School of Engineering and my home university have different teaching methods and it is quite difficult to get used to this and therefore pass all the exams and get all the credits. Besides that, I would suggest that exchange semesters should be mandatory for Bachelor students because what is learned during that time can not be learned in any other way.
Ignacio (middle) and other exchange students on their trip to Schaffhausen.
My name is Basil Gygax and I am 23 years old. Although I am a Swiss passport holder, I know little about my country as I grew up in the Philippines and Singapore. I am currently enrolled in a BSc in Air Transport Management at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. My main hobbies include flying (PPL), traveling, long distance running and swimming.
By completing an exchange semester in Switzerland, I was able to benefit in a number of ways. First and foremost, I got to experience my “home country” as a student and interact with likeminded people on a comparable course. ZHAW’s School of Engineering’s reputation, wide choice of modules and friends that already study at this institution all contributed to my choice. I also chose Switzerland and ZHAW specifically with the hope that this exchange semester will open doors on the Swiss job market in the future.
The interactive and engaging teaching style practiced at ZHAW was foreign and eye opening to me as a university student from abroad. I was also positively surprised by the amount of “contact hours” students at ZHAW have compared to my university. Overall however, I believe that the amount of student hours required for a module and the grading of these modules is comparable to my home institution.
My exchange semester at ZHAW allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and experience something new. I leave Switzerland with many positive and memorable impressions. I believe that my most memorable experiences from this semester include the wide variety of outdoor activities I was able to enjoy. These include skiing, river rafting, hiking and biking.
My exchange at ZHAW offered me a good balance between interesting/educational modules and time to socialize and experience all the amazing things Switzerland has to offer. I recommend anyone with an interest in a specific country, culture or course of study to apply for an exchange semester. To truly benefit from an exchange semester, I think it is essential that students have an open and engaging attitude.
Für Hans-Jörg Dennig ist es schon der 3. IAESTE Praktikant, welcher momentan sein einjähriges Praktikum am Zentrum für Produkt- und Prozessentwicklung (ZPP) absolviert. Er kennt IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) aus eigener Erfahrung von seinem Praktikum in Helsinki, Finnland während seiner Studienzeit. Inzwischen hat er die Seiten gewechselt und macht immer wieder neue Erfahrungen als Supervisor von IAESTE Studenten neben seiner Tätigkeit als Ingenieur und Dozent an der ZHAW im ZPP.
Dass er dabei schon zwei Maschinenbau-Studenten mit Bachelor-Abschluss aus Sri Lanka, betreute ist Zufall. Beide haben sich fachlich gut integrieren können, auch wenn das theoretische Lernen in ihrer Heimat im Vordergrund steht und es keine gut ausgerüsteten Labs gibt. Diese sind jedoch sehr fit in der Programmierung bzw. Berechnung und haben es auch sonst geschafft, ihr Wissen vor Ort in die Praxis umzusetzen. Beide schätzen die paradiesischen Zustände am ZPP betreffend Laborwerkstatt und Maschinen für alle Phasen der Produkt- und Prozessentwicklung. Ein weiterer Vorteil ist, dass sie auch lernten, diese hochtechnologischen Geräte zu bedienen oder ein Operator ihnen jeweils zur Seite stand. Herr Dennig möchte, dass die Studenten hier die Chance bekommen, möglichst viel Praxiserfahrung zu bekommen, wenn die ZHAW dabei noch etwas abschöpfen kann, ist das natürlich gut und wenn noch mehr zurück kommt sei dies super.
Kasun hat sein Praktikum an der ZPP im Sommer 2017 abgeschlossen und sich dann für einen Master an der ZHAW entschieden, welchen er gleich im Anschluss an das Praktikum startete. Gleichzeitig kann er nebenbei als Werkstudent beim ZPP zu 30% weiterarbeiten. Ein Glücksfall für beide Seiten. Kasun konnte somit nebenbei auch Bhanuka, welcher Anfangs Jahr startete, optimal in das gesellschaftliche Leben in der Schweiz einführen. Beide waren erstaunt über das freundschaftliche Zusammenarbeiten im Team, wie die verschiedenen Hierarchiestufen sich den gleichen Büroraum teilen und man sich mit dem Vornamen anspricht. In der Freizeit geht das Team sogar einmal wöchentlich zusammen joggen und die beiden betreiben den Nationalsport von Sri Lanka auch im Verein in Winterthur weiter: Cricket.
Kasun’s Spezialgebiet ist das „Selective Laser Melting (SLM)“, worüber er wohl auch seine Masterarbeit schreiben wird. Bhanuka startete im Zahnradprüflabor und arbeitet momentan am Redesign des BICAR, eine Mischung zwischen einem umweltfreundlichen E-Bike und komfortablen Elektroauto. Wenn dieser im nächsten Jahr dann wieder die Strassenzulassung erhalten sollte, ist Bhanuka wie auch Kasun aber wieder zurück in Sri Lanka.
Bhanuka programmiert die Lasermaschine.
Von Gaby Hilpertshauser, Incoming Exchange Coordinator, IAESTE Switzerland
My name is Tomas Volf. I came from the Czech Republic to Switzerland for my Master thesis. Official field of study is Mechanical Engineering. I do a lot of sport. I like jazz music, mixing cocktails and holiday planning. My employer’s headquarters is settled in Switzerland, so I connected school and work together. I have been to Switzerland previously and I liked the mountains nearby. I have studied a similar field of study and the school had enough experienced cantors.
I had a big problem with finding a suitable parking spot. There are blue zones everywhere. There also was a problem with accommodations as WOKO offers the living contract for minimum half a year. The school has a lot of buildings around the city. Even though it is not a big city, a better marking of classes would be nice.
The insight of local professors is a bit different and it was really nice to see how can you approach to problems differently – what is and is not the priority when testing students. Also the integration among students is priceless. The ESN organization works fine and organizes a lot of events suitable for students. I also appreciated the sport opportunities provided by the school.
I liked to meet other Swiss or international students. The teachers had an entirely different demands than our teachers in home university. Here, they are more focused on practice use and application in industry. I think it would be nice to have an opportunity to try a low paid job in school. Helping doctorate students or something like that.
Staying in Switzerland was good experience, sometimes the Swiss people are a bit too honest and observing rules.