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Indian student blog WG casting: Auditioning for a room in Zurich


My room in our Wohngemeinschaft that I auditioned for. 

(Devendra Shintre)

For Devendra, applying for a room in a shared apartment in Zurich was like a cross between a job interview and a blind date. 

I was only allowed to stay in my university accommodation for one semester. After that, I was to be at the mercy of the Zurich housing market. I needed to secure a room in a shared apartment and fast. My biggest problem: the stiff competition for available slots. I had to get my act together to stand a chance. 

How does one write an application for a room in a shared apartment (Wohngemeinschaft or WG in German)? A professional CV would be too formal. My email application should stand out of hundreds. Just saying that “Your room is reasonably priced, and can I get it?” wouldn’t suffice. So, I decided to write a casual description of myself and sent it around. As I didn’t get many replies initially, I realised that I need to fine tune my application. 


The kitchen is the heart of the apartment. 

(Devendra Shintre)

I began by adding a photo of myself. I also mentioned my willingness to enter into a long-term commitment and mentioned my previous experience in shared housing. Both turned out to be game changers later on. I was initially afraid, that being a foreigner, it would be hard for me to get accepted. However, that was not the case. As a foreigner, I was also bringing a different culture to the flat. Many students find it interesting. 

After a few applications I got invited to my first “WG casting”. WG casting was a completely new experience. It is a kind of hybrid between a job interview and a blind date. It typically involves a tour of the apartment, another round of introduction, and an informal chit chat. Usually 5-10 people are invited for a WG casting. Sometimes all the applicants are invited together. It lasts around 30 to 45 minutes. After the interview, one waits for the results. 

Indian student blog Preparing to battle for a roof over my head!

Everybody wants affordable accommodation in expensive Zurich. Devendra prepares himself to enter the city's cut-throat housing market.  

Luck always plays a crucial role. Before getting accepted in a WG, I applied to almost 100 flats. I got invited for “WG Casting” to 10 of these. Although, I got rejected nine times at the final stage, it gave me a wonderful opportunity and excuse to roam around the city. I also got to know a lot of different and interesting people. 

Here are a few of pointers, which may help an international student find the perfect WG. If possible, one should write an application in the local language. I started applying only in German after a few rejections. That helped my application a lot.  However, there are consequences when you use German in an application. There were a few castings where we conversed entirely in German. Even though I understood most of the conversation, my participation was limited, as my German was not fluent. 

I would also advise not to get disheartened after a few rejections. Most of my emails didn’t even get reply. The entire process is completely subjective and random, and everyone eventually finds a WG.

Although the entire house hunting experience was quite demanding, I learned a lot. It is hard to find a group of people with interests aligned with yours. It takes time. Patience is the key to success.

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

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