It is a beautiful city with many small indie shops, side streets leading to cafés, and big shopping centers with cheap chain stores. It’s a city for everyone, with many different nationalities and cultures gathered at the same place.
Zürich is one of the most international cities in Switzerland with around 25% of its residents being foreigners. What separates Zurich from the other international cities is the fact that almost everyone speaks English, which is not common in the mountains areas nor in the city of Geneva. That means it’s easier to get jobs and local friends since the likelihood of everyone speaking a common language is bigger.
No matter what time of the year there’s always something to do in Zurich. In the winter there are outdoor skating rinks, which also offers the opportunity to mingle with the locals. Obviously, there’s also the possibility of skiing, as Switzerland is well known for their mountains. Flumserberg, which is the closest skiing place, is not more than one hour away, and there’s a train going there directly from the train station next to the accommodation. There are tracks for everyone, from the baby slope to the black slopes, or even off-piste.
In the summer it’s possible to swim in the crystal clear lake. Luckily for our students, there’s a designated swimming spot right across the road. There are also biking or hiking in the mountains, or just taking a walk down the lake.
In February they’ll celebrate ‘Fasnacht’ when the Swiss let loose with out-of-tune brass music and outlandish Fasnacht costumes. There is a carnival/a parade, and it’s an excellent opportunity to experience the culture and meet the locals.
Museums are also plentiful; there’s the National Swiss museum, Art Museum, a watch museum, the zoological museum(which has free entrance), the toy museum and of course the FIFA world football museum.
If you don’t fancy visiting museums, there’s a lot of other things to do! Walking down the Bahnhofstrasse, where most of the shops are located; or perhaps seeing the underground shopping centre, located right underneath Zürich main station. For a ‘one day trip,’ the Zürich Zoo is also an excellent way to pass time.
Taking a walk in The Old Town is also a way to pass the time! Though somewhat of a tourist trap, fondue restaurants and expensive souvenir shops are common in the Old Town, the old buildings and narrow streets are charming enough, and the area has generous offerings of quirky shops and cosy restaurants.
Another thing that makes Zürich a student-friendly city is the extensive public transportation system. However, if the fees seem a little high you can always rent a bike. ‘Rent’ is actually not the right term here; the city of Zurich is giving out bikes for free! Leave a CHF 20 deposit at one of the Züri rollt containers and enjoy the city on two wheels. You might want to cycle down either side of the lake, or simply use the bike to get around town quicker.
Most cinemas also show movies in English or at least with English subtitles. So on a Friday night, it’s easy to jump on a train to the centre and go catch a movie.