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“I particularly enjoy the practical projects”
Savian Scanu, a Swiss Abroad who grew up in Sardinia, talks about the challenges he has faced and his impressions while studying in Switzerland.
Savian Scanu, you are a Swiss Abroad who grew up in a village on the Italian island of Sardinia. What motivated you to study in Switzerland?
I decided to study in Switzerland due to the high quality of the education. I also wanted to learn German as I only spoke Swiss German. On top of this, the desire to see the world from another perspective was another factor in moving to Zurich after completing my university entrance examination in Italy.
You registered to study Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich. What were the biggest challenges you faced initially?
My two biggest challenges were following the lessons in German and the generally high standard of teaching. I had to provide a C1-level language certificate to gain admission to ETH. After a few months, I realised that the faculty was not meeting my expectations. I then discontinued my studies, worked in Switzerland as a gardener, among other things, learning the ins and outs of the working world in the process, and saved money towards further study. Finally, I registered to do a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.
What are the main focus areas of this degree programme?
I have always been interested in environmental issues. The current importance of the topic, the professional relevance and the wide variety of lectures sparked my interest. The curriculum in the first year includes foundational courses such as mathematics, climatology and biology. Afterwards, you can specialise in a particular area. I deal primarily with sustainable tourism in my area of specialisation.
What do you like about your present study in particular?
I particularly enjoy the practical projects that we carry out with municipalities and tourist destinations. I am currently working on a concept for the sustainable development of tourism services in Scuol (GR). We have been discussing questions including: How can we retain the traditional Alpine landscape; and how can we provide incentives for people to use public transport?
What do you think of student life in Switzerland in general?
It’s awesome. There is a wide range of free sports-related activities for students on offer in Zurich. It is also absolutely stunning down at the lake during summer.
What are your future plans?
All being well, I will complete my studies in December 2020. Afterwards, I want to work. I will probably have to complete several internships initially. They are usually low-paid, but are important to gain a foothold on the employment ladder.
What advice would you give young Swiss Abroad who are thinking of studying in Switzerland?
The most important thing is to find an apartment in good time, particularly in Zurich. You may be able to share one with other students. You should also get information about health insurance. Considering the high cost of living in Switzerland, a scholarship may be helpful. educationsuisse assisted me with my application for a scholarship from my home canton.