Discovery semester for refugees

02.08.2016

By:  Rector / VSETH

Starting this autumn, refugees who have started or completed a degree in a technical or scientific field in their home country will be able to attend lectures at ETH Zurich.

As of autumn 2016, refugees will be able to attend lectures and experience student life at ETH for a semester. (Photo: ETH Zurich / Alessandro Della Bella)
As of autumn 2016, refugees will be able to attend lectures and experience student life at ETH for a semester. (Photo: ETH Zurich / Alessandro Della Bella)

The ‘Discovery semester for refugees’ is aimed at asylum seekers and refugees from crisis regions such as Eritrea, Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria, who have started or completed a degree in a technical or scientific field in their home country.

The programme is designed to offer the refugees an insight into the requirements and scope of an ETH course. The project is being run by the Association of Students at the ETH (VSETH) with support from the ETH Executive Board.

Attending lectures at ETH

The refugees can attend certain lectures at ETH Zurich free of charge for a semester. They will be supported by student mentors from the same subject area.

To qualify for the programme, refugees must have an interest in technology and science, a sound knowledge of German and/or English (level B1/B2, cf. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment CEFR), and be living in the Zurich region with a B, F or N permit (short-term or provisionally admitted foreigners and asylum seekers).

Refugees are entitled to attend lectures, but are not permitted to take tests and will not receive a participation confirmation. Refugees must meet the ETH Zurich general admission requirements in order to enrol on a course (see Fact Sheet for Refugees (PDF, 29 KB)).

The refugees’ point of contact is the International Student Support office. In addition, ETH Zurich has made contact with regional coordination and counselling offices for asylum seekers, and has informed them about the discovery semester (see Information for Refugees).

On a national level, the umbrella organisations for universities and students, swissuniversities and the Association of Swiss Student Bodies VSS, are also focusing on university access for refugees.

Registration for the discovery semester

Asylum seekers and refugees who are interested in the discovery semester can register online. The registration deadline is 19 September 2016 (semester start date).

Further information can be found in the flyer (PDF, 542 KB) and on the website www.ethz.ch/en/studies/international-immigration-housing/refugees.html.

ETH students who are interested in mentoring can email VSETH at or see the website https://vseth.ethz.ch/language/en/discovery-semester-for-refugees/ for more information.

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Fri Jul 21 14:41:29 CEST 2017
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