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Discovery Semester for Refugees

The University of Zurich offers a first discovery semester for 20 refugees. It will be held in the 2017 Spring Semester. Student mentors will support the refugees.


The University of Zurich offers a first discovery semester for refugees in 2017.

From 20 February to 3 June 2017, refugees have the opportunity to attend lectures free of charge as auditors and experience student life at the University of Zurich. The aim of the «discovery semester» is to give refugees the chance to gain an understanding of the course programs and requirements for studying in Switzerland. This allows them to prepare for a later application to the University of Zurich, should this be an option. The discovery semester offers 20 places for refugees who have already fully or partly studied at a university. The Deadline for application is 16 December 2016. For selection purposes, potential candidates will be invited for interviews in January/February.

The project «discovery semester» is organized by the Association of Students at the University of Zurich (VSUZH) in collaboration with the Amnesty International Student Group Zurich. The International Relations Office of UZH supports the project. UZH president Michael Hengartner welcomes the initiative of the students.

During the semester, refugees will get support from an assigned student mentor. Furthermore, they will have the opportunity to improve their language skills in the Self-Access Center of the Language Center of UZH and ETH Zurich.  

The discovery semester is one of a number of measures introduced by UZH in support of refugees. The International Relations Office serves as a point of contact for refugees interested in studying at the university, and promotes student initiatives for refugees. In addition to providing advice for refugees, in 2017 the Language Center’s Self-Access Center will be giving crash courses for students wishing to teach German to refugees on a voluntary basis. Since 2015 UZH has also been a member of Scholars at Risk, an international university organization set up to safeguard academic freedom and researchers who are under threat.