When they say everything is expensive in Switzerland, they aren’t lying. But luckily, the ETH Housing Office hooks you up with affordable accommodation, usually from WOKO as an exchange student.
I paid 495CHF (~700AUD) a month and lived at Bülachhof 1, one of three student apartment blocks in the area.
My place was a 4-share suite, with a common kitchen, living room and two bathrooms. The kitchen came with the basic cutlery, pots and pans, more than enough cupboard space and a medium sized fridge.
Some of us may not have appreciated this enough, but having two bathrooms between four people makes life so much more convenient. Each room comes with a heater, single bed, shelf, wardrobe, cabinet and a nice big desk.
Everything is very spacious and comfortable, with more than enough area to entertain guests or even lay out a yoga mat. It is quite soundproof and insulated inside. Once I closed that door, it was like I’m in my own world.
Being in a student apartment block means I did have to pay for laundry. Laundry roughly costs 1.50CHF each wash from a laundry card – sometimes you’d have to fight for a space in the drying room.
There is also a small bar that opened every Thursday night right underneath the building that made for a great time. The only drawback is that it is right next to the laundry – so this means that you’d have to traverse through sticky floors to collect your clothes.
There were a handful of events throughout the semester, for example: potlucks, Christmas parties and so on where I could meet people but as not everyone is on exchange and the layout of the building is quite modular, I ended up hanging out with my suitemates most of the time.
Location-wise, living at Bülachhof 1 was very convenient; it is 12 minutes tram to ETH Zentrum, 19 minutes to ETH Hönggerberg, 16 minutes tram to the airport, 15-21 minutes tram to downtown Zurich (depending on your route). And yes, when I say 12 minutes to ETH Zentrum, I mean 12 minutes. The Swiss do not mess around. Although it also meant I couldn’t use the ‘tram was late’ excuse. Essentially anywhere worth going in Zurich was within 30 minutes public transport.