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Old 04.12.2015, 15:19
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Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

So I've been recently accepted to a Master's program at UZH and I've been trying to find cheap accommodation. I put in an application at the ETHZ Housing Office and got an offer. Since I've never been to Switzerland I am essentially an alien to the prices and norms, so could you please answer my questions?

1) Offer is at Cäsar-Ritz-Strasse 1, 8046 Zürich for 506 CHF monthly, I've seen the map and the average prices, it looks like it's a bit far from UZH but cheap. Am I correct to assume this? It is my understanding that electricity, internet and heating are part of the rent.

2) They're asking me to reply to the offer very very soon, but I don't even know if I will get the visa yet! Authorities said student visas take up to 15 weeks to decide on, so I may not even know right before the actual start date of the contract. How (and when?) am I supposed to pay the first month fee and the deposit before arrival? If the visa was rejected or delayed, do people usually get a refund?
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Old 04.12.2015, 15:21
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

You won't get cheaper than that...it's a great deal...

For questions re:visa and contract arrangements, ask them directly. I am sure it is a very common question...
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Old 04.12.2015, 15:34
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

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You won't get cheaper than that...it's a great deal...

For questions re:visa and contract arrangements, ask them directly. I am sure it is a very common question...
Thank you, that's great!

I also already emailed them about my contract arrangement questions but they haven't responded and the deadline to let them know is in 2 days.
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Old 04.12.2015, 15:39
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

506 is about as cheap as you're going to find, I presume it is a room in a WG (Shared apt). Zürich is really small (Toronto GTA has more boat docks than Zurich has population). Caesar Ritz Str is 5 min on foot to the trainstation in Affoltern, which is also the bus hub. Depending on which Campus you are at your commute will be between 10 and 30min.


If you have a firm place with the Uni the Visa shouldn't be a big issue.


It is common for renters to ask for a month deposit and a month up front - Have they sent you a contract? That will have details. Ask if you need help translating.
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Old 04.12.2015, 16:28
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

Wow I didn't know that Zurich is that small lol, I actually live in Toronto.

Interestingly enough, the housing office just replied saying that they refund the payment if I could not come due to visa issues. I accepted the offer, thanks for your help
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Old 05.12.2015, 19:30
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

@HCN4
Is this offer of a room actually vetted/supported by/authorised by the ETHZ Housing Office, or is it merely that you found an ad on the Housing Office's website?

I ask because there are some scams where a lot is promised for a little money, and the renter then goes on to say that they have to have the deposit (or a few month's rent) right away to secure the room in advance, but that they can't show you the room right now because they're abroad (or you are), but that after you've transferred the money to them, they will arrange for a cousin to get the keys to you.

In general, if it looks to good to be true, it is.

If it is the Housing Office paying the deposit, then that's fine and you are safe.

You might find this site useful, about Zurich city's public transport, as it'll give you an idea of travelling times. No point in the expense of a car, if you are living and studying in Zurich. As long as your body is healthy enough, you'll do do fine with a combination of public transport, walking and bicycling.
The Network: http://www.zvv.ch/zvv-assets/fahrpla...ch_juni_15.pdf
Timetable: http://online.fahrplan.zvv.ch/bin/query.exe/en
In the timetable, you can enter not only the name of a bus/tram-stop, but instead the name and number of a street, or of a place/building, and it will suggest the closest bus/tram-stop.
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Old 05.12.2015, 19:42
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

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@HCN4
Is this offer of a room actually vetted/supported by/authorised by the ETHZ Housing Office, or is it merely that you found an ad on the Housing Office's website?

I ask because there are some scams where a lot is promised for a little money, and the renter then goes on to say that they have to have the deposit (or a few month's rent) right away to secure the room in advance, but that they can't show you the room right now because they're abroad (or you are), but that after you've transferred the money to them, they will arrange for a cousin to get the keys to you.

In general, if it looks to good to be true, it is.

If it is the Housing Office paying the deposit, then that's fine and you are safe.

You might find this site useful, about Zurich city's public transport, as it'll give you an idea of travelling times. No point in the expense of a car, if you are living and studying in Zurich. As long as your body is healthy enough, you'll do do fine with a combination of public transport, walking and bicycling.
The Network: http://www.zvv.ch/zvv-assets/fahrpla...ch_juni_15.pdf
Timetable: http://online.fahrplan.zvv.ch/bin/query.exe/en
In the timetable, you can enter not only the name of a bus/tram-stop, but instead the name and number of a street, or of a place/building, and it will suggest the closest bus/tram-stop.
Thank you for your input. I didn't find the ad, I applied through this website (http://www.wohnen.ethz.ch/accommodation/master/index_EN) and they emailed after a while from housing@ethz.ch and reservation@woko.ch. However, the only thing is, I think I am responsible for paying the one-time rent deposit (around 1000 CHF plus 500 for first-month rent I think), not the housing office.

Based on the emails and websites, I think it all looks legitimate, would you agree? But wow, on the bright side, it must be such a good offer that it almost looks like scam

Also, thanks a lot for the links!
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Old 05.12.2015, 20:05
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

Yes, I think that all looks legit. Great! Super to find such a good deal. Since this is a room in their "pool" (= stock of rooms, not swimming-pool), I think you'll have a great time with other students from all over, and the building is probably well-maintained and organised. Looks good!
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Old 06.12.2015, 11:27
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

When you actually get here, you will realise how lucky you have been to get a room through the ETHZ housing office! There are students (not only foreigners, also Swiss) who start the semester without having secured accommodation and become really desperate.

ETHZ even opens its underground bunkers for letting "homeless" students spend the first nights of the semester there (I swear this is true, see for example: http://www.20min.ch/schweiz/news/sto...erich-29068562)

Just accept the offer and be grateful!
Another benefit of shared accommodation is that you will make friends very fast.
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Old 06.12.2015, 12:11
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Re: Seeking quick advice and a few answers.

When I came to Switzerland as a student, I got the same timeline-quote but found that it took much less time. I had mine in just under 3 weeks. So I think it's safe to say you'll know much sooner than you think. And chances are, your visa will be accepted, but I honestly would try to wait just to be sure - it might end up being difficult to try and back out of the apartment rental if you find you're not able to get a visa. Best of luck!
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