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Indian student blog University studies: Switzerland vs India

espace des etudiants

The "espace des etudiants" at the University of Neuchâtel, one of my preferred places to study. 

(Gaurav Singh)

Academic life in Switzerland is quite different from what Gaurav was used to back home.

Certainly, before starting my studies I had some expectations. I found that some things were as I expected and some were not. I did my bachelors from a small, not so famous institution in India. What I realised from my bachelor studies was that in India we focus more on theoretical aspects rather than practical knowledge. This is fine from the academic point of view but if a student wants to find work in job market, it is difficult for him or her to find an appropriate job because of limited practical knowledge.

This is not the case in Switzerland. For instance, the master studies start with theory but over the time it become practical due to the curriculum which is designed to fulfill the demand of the job market.

One thing that I did not expect was the teaching methodology of the professors. In India, I was used to reading the prescribed text books and writing exams based on these books. It was different in Switzerland. Professors give their lectures in form of presentations which are quite elaborate and easy to understand in comparison to the books. The exams are also based on these lectures.  Importantly, these lectures are actually useful because professors want you to understand the subject and not just memorise the whole curriculum. Another useful aspect are the problem sets provided by professors. In most of the cases, the problem sets are based on real life cases which helps one to understand the concept practically.

moodle' page of the university

A screenshot of the "moodle" page of the university. You can find all the documents relating to the programme you are registered for.

(Gaurav Singh)

When I was in India, my professors gave unnecessary importance to our attendance in the lecture. Here professors give liberty to a student to attend the lesson or not, something called academic freedom. I am not saying that it is not important to attend lessons but sometimes it is possible that the student feels more comfortable studying alone than listening to boring lecture, which was the case in India. In Switzerland professors appreciate it if you attend their lectures. Certainly, they do not care about your attendance but your interaction in the class.

Another thing that was quite different from what I expected was the interactions between professors and students. Students can call professors by their first name and even have lunch with them. Several times my professors had drinks with us in apéros organised by university. It was so different from India, where you have to say either refer to your lecturer as “Sir” or “Professor” to your teacher. Socialising with them is unthinkable.

he computer room in the library of faculty

The computer room in the library of faculty of economics sciences. Lego structures are used as partitions for privacy.

(Gaurav Singh)

An aspect I like about studying in Switzerland are the university libraries. They are quite modern and each faculty has their own. A favourite spot of mine is a student space (espace des etudiants) which remains open all day except from midnight to six in the morning. This is the perfect place to study, due to the fact that it is spacious, quiet and has facilities like photocopier and coffee machine. Time to concentrate!

For more blog posts and information on studying in Switzerland visit our dedicated page Education Swiss Madeexternal link.

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