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Old 03.07.2011, 17:13
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I have a situation here [getting a job and studying Masters at ETH]

Hello everyone! I am new to this forum and have been reading the threads of my interest and I must say, it is extremely informative for someone like me who is planning to live and study in Switzerland in the near future.

I had to start a new thread because I am seeking for comments about my situation here and I will be very glad if you all are very frank and honest here.

I am currently a student of Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering in Pakistan. I rank amongst the top 5 in my class and I am hoping to get admission in ETH Zurich for Masters in Biomedical Engineering. I have matched my courses and I think I stand a good chance for acceptance because I study in the best Engineering school of my country and the courses are up to the mark. Anyway, that was just a brief background before I ask my actual question.

The issue here is about the finance. My parents can arrange for me CHF 5000 initially when I first enter Switzerland. After that I don't intend to take any more money from them. Now, my concern is about the initial expenses and settling in an expensive city like Zurich after I have exhausted this initial support from my family. Will I be able to support my self with the help of Part-time jobs? I don't need any info on the living costs I have already read a lot on this forum and I am very clear about the costs. I even know the cost of some grocery items. So that's not the area of my concern. The thing is I will need a good Part-time job IMMEDIATELY as soon as I enter Switzerland to secure my future while I live on the initial family support.

I am actually looking for some students of ETH to answer me. I have read the website and since i am non-EU i can only do part-time jobs in the university department and not anywhere else for the first six months. What are the chances of immediately getting part-time jobs in the University Department? (being a Biomed student my departments include Information Technology & Electrical Engineering, Mechanical & Process Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, Biology and Informatics, as well as the Medical Faculty of the University of Zürich)

Also, if I want to help a few students there with their English and i charge them, is it allowed? What about the other odd jobs that I can do with this restriction of six months?

These are a lot of questions, i know. Sorry. I just want your comments on this plan. Is it totally unrealistic? Or I can take this risk and start my life with CHF 5000 and build my own future.

( I know there are some excellence scholarships that exist for non-EU students and I am definitely going to apply but I am thinking of the worst case scenario-you know its always good to hope for the best and prepare for the worst!)

Thanks A lot!
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Old 03.07.2011, 17:58
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

Why don't you graduate as BSC, find a job in CH within your field then apply for masters, it just makes more sense this way, i don't see the 5000 CHF supporting you much in CH and finding an immediate job is sort of impossible really + you'll have language barrier too in the beginning and permit restrictions

I would personally suggest you go ahead with your professional life for 2 to 5 years then consider doing your master with a move to CH when you can have a permanent job here
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Old 03.07.2011, 18:26
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

Find a job first and then move here, having just moved here for my husband who works at ETH getting work is very hard here
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Old 03.07.2011, 18:31
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

Does your permit allow you to work ? Formally or otherwise.
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Old 03.07.2011, 19:47
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

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Does your permit allow you to work ? Formally or otherwise.
Come to think of it shouldn't you be working?
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Old 03.07.2011, 19:57
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

Thanks for the comments all of you.

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Why don't you graduate as BSC, find a job in CH within your field then apply for masters, it just makes more sense this way, i don't see the 5000 CHF supporting you much in CH and finding an immediate job is sort of impossible really + you'll have language barrier too in the beginning and permit restrictions

I would personally suggest you go ahead with your professional life for 2 to 5 years then consider doing your master with a move to CH when you can have a permanent job here
It is actually the way I should go on with my professional life, you are right. But the problem is i am interested in Molecular Bio-engineering and Tissue engineering field. Here in Pakistan, Biomedical Engineers only have job openings at a few hospitals for their radiology department's equipment maintenance. We do not have other fields of Biomedical in Pakistan, specially the one I am interested in. Even if I do some job for 2-3 years I wouldn't be saving anything here for Masters in Switzerland, definitely not even close to a month's expenses. Applying for job in Switzerland from here in Pakistan, I really doubt they would want to hire someone from so far off when they have Phds in Switzerland from ETH for the same work.
Thanks for the idea though. I know what you said is actually realistic. But my field doesn't really allow me to stay in Pakistan after Bachelors.
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Old 03.07.2011, 20:01
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

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Does your permit allow you to work ? Formally or otherwise.
For the first six months I can apply for work at the ETH Department and i can get the work permit if they accept me. After that I can work anywhere outside the University.
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Old 03.07.2011, 20:02
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

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Come to think of it shouldn't you be working?
Haven't stopped since Friday night
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Old 03.07.2011, 20:20
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

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For the first six months I can apply for work at the ETH Department and i can get the work permit if they accept me. After that I can work anywhere outside the University.
First of all: Great first post! I like to help people who demonstrate that they tried everything they can first before asking others.

I guess that getting a job at the university "on your own" is really hard - at any university are those jobs in high demand as every student prefers to make money by working in his field of study instead of being a waiter in a bar...

Logical conclusion:

1. Talk to the international office of the university and explain your situation. They have the contacts and an interest to attract good students (vs. students who are not that great but have rich parents...). Maybe they can help you. In any way: Do not expect to arrive here and miracuously find a job in the very narrow area you are actually allowed to work...

2. You need to find an alternative to finance a bridge of six months. Any chance? In my country does for example the government support people getting a higher education by offering them very cheap credits...

3. Is an internship before the Masters a theoretical legal possibility? While not being "real" jobs pay they quite well here and while the country is crazy expensive can you very well survive on little for a time - I know because I did this - living minimalistic for an internship semester here made me save enough beer money for the next four semesters back home... translated to you: If you can make an internship for six months or so full-time earning typically some 2500 CHF a month makes it possible to save enough to bridge your six months without work and even gets you some connections for possible part - time jobs later on... I know that we had plenty of non-EU interns, so I have the feeling this should be possible...
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Old 04.07.2011, 01:20
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

Thanks a lot Treverus for trying to help me out.

Regarding your advice:
1) Yes I am going to definitely ask the International Office of the University but do you think I should do it now or AFTER I get accepted. Do you think if I tell them now about my financial issue it will in someway affect my application process and admission to the University?

2) Unfortunately, there is nothing like that in my country for students going abroad. Actually there are a few aids but those are mainly for UK or US.

3) I like this option. However, I am not very sure how to go on with the application for internships. Do you mean an internship at the University only or anywhere in Switzerland? How can I find the internship opportunities? Good to know that you have seen non-EU students doing internships but don't you think it is going to be very difficult to be accepted for an internship anywhere in Switzerland because frankly people just don't really have a good opinion about the third world countries.
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Old 04.07.2011, 01:22
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

I also wanted to know about the private tuitions and some odd jobs within someones household. Do i require work permit for that?
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Old 04.07.2011, 03:08
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Re: I have a situation here [getting a job and studying Masters at ETH]

With a student permit you can work up to 20hr per week, HOWEVER, if you can't support yourself and can't provide sufficient documentation for this you won't get a student permit so the point is moot.

As was posted by another student on another thread, you will need to show at least CHF21,000 to get a student permit. As you know, even THAT is extremely low to live on in Zurich.
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Old 04.07.2011, 09:43
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

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I also wanted to know about the private tuitions and some odd jobs within someones household. Do i require work permit for that?
Hi,
for giving private tuitions you'd typically need to speak German if you mean to support kids in public high school. If you have a chance within International schools where tuition is in English...but then again, they'd have probably own teaching staff taking care of it.
My friend from Indonesia has been occupied as a babysitter while she was studying here. But it was her pocket money for extras - she was entirely supported by her parents for the living costs, health insurance etc.
As was mentioned, CHF 21'000.00 for a year is a realistic number. The idea to apply for a loan or subsidy was mentioned also.
When you want to work 20h per week it is also a bit complicated at times, especially in the assessment year (the first two semesters) of a Bsc. Because of the timetables for the lectures and seminars - but lectures at ETH are these days videobroadcast and streamed.
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Old 04.07.2011, 10:30
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

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3) I like this option. However, I am not very sure how to go on with the application for internships. Do you mean an internship at the University only or anywhere in Switzerland? How can I find the internship opportunities? Good to know that you have seen non-EU students doing internships but don't you think it is going to be very difficult to be accepted for an internship anywhere in Switzerland because frankly people just don't really have a good opinion about the third world countries.
Both universities as well as the private sector offer them. There are two types of universities here - research oriented as the ETH and more "applied" ones calle FH - at the second, internships are usually even a mandatory part of your university course. So companies are by default offering some - also to meet young talent and check out if they want to hire them after study. I for example went after my graduation back to the company I made my internship at.

In Germany, we have big websites that look 99% like normal job-websites specifically for internships, but I am not aware of any such website for Switzerland. I guess the market is too small to make an own database for it.
I just entered "Praktikant" - the German word for "intern" into a Swiss job wesbite (jobs.ch) and got more than 100 hits - on the first look anywhere from working for the city of Zurich over telephone companies or insurances. You can simply try to search there, but since you study something rather specific: Simply make a list of companies that fit your education and apply there as an intern. No matter if they have an add out or not.
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Old 04.07.2011, 12:11
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

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Thanks a lot Treverus for trying to help me out.

Do you mean an internship at the University only or anywhere in Switzerland? How can I find the internship opportunities? Good to know that you have seen non-EU students doing internships but don't you think it is going to be very difficult to be accepted for an internship anywhere in Switzerland
From my experience getting an internship in ones field of study in the assessment year (the first two semesters) is not very realistic. Typically it is the year you'd have to concentrate fully on your academic credits passing your assessment year and enhance your budget slightly by taking on a student job. Internships beginning 4th semester and onwards are a possibility.

For the beginning, it is more important to get the necessary funds.

Have you already been looking at the info provided from ETHZ as follows?
http://www.rektorat.ethz.ch/students.../loan/index_EN
http://www.rektorat.ethz.ch/students.../foreigners_EN
Generally:
The initial scholarship (Bsc) must be obtained in your country if your parents cannot provide sufficient financial support for the first academic year in Switzerland. (so that you could apply here additionally for a short-term loan or ETH scholarship and take on a student job after first semester).
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Old 04.07.2011, 12:24
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Re: I have a situation here!!!

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From my experience getting an internship in ones field of study in the assessment year (the first two semesters) is not very realistic. Typically it is the year you'd have to concentrate fully on your academic credits passing your assessment year and enhance your budget slightly by taking on a student job. Internships beginning 4th semester and onwards are a possibility.
Fully agree, but I was actually suggesting an internship BEFORE enrolling in the masters' course at all. I don't know how far in advance you know if you are accepted, but even a short one of 3-4 months before university could bring in enough cash to survive the first six months.
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Old 04.07.2011, 12:33
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Re: I have a situation here [getting a job and studying Masters at ETH]

yes, i actually wonder if i have dug up the wrong info on the ethz website. the op wants do do a masters degree it seems. i could be mistaken about the scholarship and it would be less complicated for him to start with an internship that adds value to his field of study. Hopefully he can start with one right away.
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Old 04.07.2011, 12:59
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With a student permit you can work up to 20hr per week, HOWEVER, if you can't support yourself and can't provide sufficient documentation for this you won't get a student permit so the point is moot.

As was posted by another student on another thread, you will need to show at least CHF21,000 to get a student permit. As you know, even THAT is extremely low to live on in Zurich.

Yes, sorry I forgot to mention that I know about the initial financial statement that has to be shown. Actually, that can be taken care of. It's not that my Parents don't have this money, if you read in my first post i said i don't intend to burden them with more than CHF 5000. Obviously, they have other liabilities too so I just don't want to take all that they have. I am going to return this initial support they provide me with as soon as I can, so I don't want to take anymore. The financial statement can be easily shown for the student visa, I have also seen the requirements of the specific banks that have to be in Switzerland. That is done.

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From my experience getting an internship in ones field of study in the assessment year (the first two semesters) is not very realistic. Typically it is the year you'd have to concentrate fully on your academic credits passing your assessment year and enhance your budget slightly by taking on a student job. Internships beginning 4th semester and onwards are a possibility.

For the beginning, it is more important to get the necessary funds.

Have you already been looking at the info provided from ETHZ as follows?
http://www.rektorat.ethz.ch/students.../loan/index_EN
http://www.rektorat.ethz.ch/students.../foreigners_EN
Generally:
The initial scholarship (Bsc) must be obtained in your country if your parents cannot provide sufficient financial support for the first academic year in Switzerland. (so that you could apply here additionally for a short-term loan or ETH scholarship and take on a student job after first semester).
Thanks for the links. I have seen them already and I don't think I stand a chance until after the first two semesters. The problem is about the first six months basically.

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Both universities as well as the private sector offer them. There are two types of universities here - research oriented as the ETH and more "applied" ones calle FH - at the second, internships are usually even a mandatory part of your university course. So companies are by default offering some - also to meet young talent and check out if they want to hire them after study. I for example went after my graduation back to the company I made my internship at.

In Germany, we have big websites that look 99% like normal job-websites specifically for internships, but I am not aware of any such website for Switzerland. I guess the market is too small to make an own database for it.
I just entered "Praktikant" - the German word for "intern" into a Swiss job wesbite (jobs.ch) and got more than 100 hits - on the first look anywhere from working for the city of Zurich over telephone companies or insurances. You can simply try to search there, but since you study something rather specific: Simply make a list of companies that fit your education and apply there as an intern. No matter if they have an add out or not.
Thanks a lot. This seems to be more realistic. I am on it. Do you think if I do an internship for the first few months in Germany I can save enough funds for Masters and living in Switzerland, if internship is easily available in Germany I could go this way too. Just wondering.

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Fully agree, but I was actually suggesting an internship BEFORE enrolling in the masters' course at all. I don't know how far in advance you know if you are accepted, but even a short one of 3-4 months before university could bring in enough cash to survive the first six months.
Actually, I will have 8 months after my Bachelors before the Masters classes start at ETH. I can try for Internships during this time. Seems like a lot of new research is required here, hunting for internships!

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Hi,
for giving private tuitions you'd typically need to speak German if you mean to support kids in public high school. If you have a chance within International schools where tuition is in English...but then again, they'd have probably own teaching staff taking care of it.
Before I enter Switzerland I will have complete A2 level of German. But the main issue here is that I CANT WORK anywhere else except the university for the first six months. So the International Schools can be considered only after this period. What about private tuitions in groups for the English Language? Wriiting, Speaking, and Reading for some Swiss people. Do I need work permit for that?

Last edited by MusicChick; 05.07.2011 at 13:56. Reason: Merging consecutive posts.Click on the quote icon lower right hand corner of the post you want to quote, it will put it in a quote queue.
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Old 04.07.2011, 13:34
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Re: I have a situation here [getting a job and studying Masters at ETH]

here's more practical info on internships ETH intern or extern http://www.ethz.ch/students/job_pracs/index_EN and research oriented http://www.sirop.ethz.ch/
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Old 04.07.2011, 13:42
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Re: I have a situation here [getting a job and studying Masters at ETH]

Thank you so much!!! Very informative!
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