ERASMUS in Switzerland !

We ( George Samaras (DIT) and George Kokosioulis ) went from DIT to Università della Svizzera italiana ( USI ), in Lugano.

Our scientific Supervisor is Dr. I.Emiris. This may not hold true at 2014 though, make sure you check the announcement.

Bellow you will find info general for Erasmus in USI, so you do not need to be a DIT student to be benefited by this article. There are 6 out of 21 sections that target DIT students only and they appear with a Greek flag, just like the one you see below.

1.Scholarship 12.Franks
2.Projects 13.Weather
3.Facebook tech talk 14.Transport
4.Courses 15.Sports
5.DIT vs USI 16.Super markets
6.Housing 17.Nightlife
7.Applications 18.Fastfood
8.Università 19.Converter
9.Language 20.Spring semester
10.Teaching 21.Questions
11.Macintosh 22.People



Personally I would suggest you not to hesitate and live the unique experience of Erasmus. Our scholarship is 657 euro/month. Notice that this is one of the highest among scholarships given to the other Erasmus students ( probably due to the limited positions offered to Greek students ). Moreover, it is the highest that is given to Greek students (this one and the one of Finland) .

Update (24/10/2014): The scholarship is decreased!! Make sure you get informed. Remember that this page was created when we were in Switzerland (2012).

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In USI we did many projects. From developing software to compute convex hull and give a nice UI for it (in C++ and CGAL) to innovative web-based editor for presentations (in HTML5, CSS3, Impress.js) and programming a robot (in C) 😀

Slide&Impress, a WYSIWYG web-based editor

Robots avoiding obstacles

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While we were in Lugano, Facebook had its recruitment campaign around swiss uni’es. As a result, Facebook team came to USI, for a tech talk and ready to interview candidates. Alok Menghrajani, software engineer and Ruth McIntyre, person in charge for recruitment in Switzerland for Facebook where there to offer us a talk. Some people also submitted their CV’s and interviews started in another room. We learned a lot from this talk :). Undergraduate students where there too and they could apply for an internship with Facebook. Mind that many internships are available in Switzerland, so I you come to Lugano, always keep an eye for them ;). Also, note that, is not happening every year.

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The list bellow has to do only with the winter semester. The ECTS’es play a significant role in matching courses. There is an upper bound I think, on how many ECTS’es one can collect.It is critical, I would say, to reassure the matching of the courses, so that when you return to your home university, the corresponding courses can be identified successfully. Otherwise, that is in case of no matching, it will be like you miss a whole semester from your home uni. I suppose you do not wish that to happen, so be serious with this issue. 🙂

This was me when I was searching for matching! (What a great game…)

When me and Kokosioulis were searching for courses, we didn’t have any other students coming in USI (for the Greeks, it is called Ούζι, σαν το όπλο) on the winter semester, so we had to search from scratch. As a result, some courses may be feasible as a solution for a match, but we may didn’t notice them.

Perform your own search in all courses, in bachelor in Informatics and in master in Informatics (you can select courses from the 1st year of the master too, but they are going to be more tough from the ones of the bachelor I guess). The Prerequisites you may find in many courses do not restrict us. These are for the local students.

Our query gave the following results :

  1. Τεχνολογίες Εφαρμογών Διαδικτύου – Software Atelier III: Web 2.0 technologies
  2. Αλγόριθμοι και ΠολυπλοκότηταTopics in Algorithms

    Comment : Greek professor! If you have pass the course from DIT, I would suggest you to search for another course relevant to algorithms, or to contact me

  3. Γραφικά 1Computer Graphics
  4. Αρχές Γλωσσών ΠρογραμματισμούProgramming Languages
  5. Τεχνολογία ΛογισμικούSoftware Engineering
  6. ΚρυπτογραφίαCryptography
    Comment : Was totally absent from the schedule. In other words, it may has stopped been offered.
  7. Ενσωματωμένα ΣυστήματαHardware/Software Co-design
  8. Δίκτυα 1Computer Networking
  9. Πιθανότητες και στοιχεία ΣτατιστικήςProbability, Statistics and Information Theory
  10. Μεταγλωττιστές – Software Atelier V: Languages and Compilers
  11. Παράλληλα Συστήματα – Software Atelier V: Languages and Compilers

    Comment : Swap with compilers among years. In 2012 compilers were lectured.

  12. Italian language course (ELIC) – No match!
  13. Comment : Course with no exams. Certificate will be given to you if and only if you attend at least 75% of the lectures. Many levels and time schedules that you can select from. I recommend you attend it. It is an easy going class, a fun one :). Ah and if you have as teacher, Mrs Stephani (Stefania), give her my greetings and contact me to inform me about her reaction. She was really a good teacher :D.

We were the seconds one going to Switzerland (the first ones in winter semester). The students that went on Spring conducted their own search from scratch (as we did). As a result, there may be courses not notice by them. Also mind that there are more courses, especially from the 1st year, that neither we nor they had a look at.

Their query gave the following results :

  1. Προστασία και Ασφάλεια Υπολογιστικών ΣυστημάτωνΚρυπτογραφία) – Introduction to Information Security
  2. Τεχνολογίες Εφαρμογών Διαδικτύου – Software Atelier IV: Software Engineering of Web Applications
  3. Υπολογιστική ΓεωμετρίαGeometric Algorithms
    Comment : Greek professor
  4. Γραφικά ΙΙGeometric Processing
    Comment :You must have succeeded in Graphics I at DIT
  5. Τεχνικές Εξόρυξης Δεδομένων Τεχνικές Εξόρυξης ΔεδομένωνIntelligent Information Access
  6. Επικοινωνία Ανθρώπου ΜηχανήςHuman-Computer Interaction Design
  7. Τεχνητή ΝοημοσύνηInformation and Knowledge Management (IKM) I: AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  8. Λειτουργικά ΣυστήματαOperating Systems

How to ask for a match

The more matches you have, the better. Why? Because, you have many choices (if you have many matches). As a result, you are free to choose the courses that you like. Otherwise, you don’t have many options and you have to take a course, whether you like it, or not.

The first step for getting a match is to sent an email to the professor, providing a link of the course from USI and the corresponding course from DIT. Explain that you are for Erasmus and that you really want that match. The sooner you start emailing them, the better for you, because you have time to wait for a response. Remember, you want all the matches to be clear (yes or no), before you go to USI. Otherwise, you will find yourself there and not sure to which class to go in. If you spot that the professor is not answering, go to his office. For me, everybody responded with emails, but I had started asking for matches right after my approvement from Dr. Emiris.

Sample email

Assume that you want a match for cryptography (remember, the course wasn’t available)

Καλησπερα κυριε X,

ονομαζομαι Y και εχω επιλεχτει να συμμετεχω στο προγραμμα Erasmus στο N-ιοστο εξαμηνο.Σας στελνω και εκ μερους αλλων φοιτητων που ενδιαφερονται.Καλουμαστε να βρουμε αντιστοιχα μαθηματα αναμεσα σε αυτα της σχολης μας και αυτα στο πανεπιστημιο της Ελβετιας.Ειμαστε,μαζι με ενα αλλο συφμοιτητη, οι πρωτοι που θα παμε χειμερινο εξαμηνο εκει,οποτε ειναι δυσκολη και πολυωρη η ευρεση αντιστοιχιας.Ευελπιστω πως θα μας βοηθησετε.Στοχος ειναι να μας αναγνωριστει στην Ελλαδα η προσπαθεια μας και οι κοποι μας στην Ελβετια.

Σας στελνω λοιπον για το μαθημα Κρυπτογραφια.Ιδου το αντιστοιχο μαθημα (Cryptography)

Ποια η αποψη σας επι του θεματος;Ανυπομονω για απαντηση σας!
Υπευθυνος καθηγητης για την Ελβετια : Ιωαννης Εμιρης

Με εκτιμηση,


If I were you I would request for matching again from the professors of DIT. You do not wish unexpected trouble to happen ;). Notice that some of the courses were not given. Also be prepared of the chance were some courses overlap with the others, thus making it impossible for you to follow them. This can happen if you select courses from different years ( pretty common for Erasmus students). Unfortunately not all universities are as DIT, in terms of schedules. We had to wait until September (!) to see the schedule, so make sure that you apply for many courses. It is easy delete a course from the learning agreement ( you simply don’t apply for it on return ). Inserting a course may be difficult, since you need to get the matching! Of course the matching is good to be done before you come to Switzerland. When you are approved for Erasmus, I would suggest you to start requesting matches from professors ;).

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This section is to describe my personal feeling for the difference in courses between these two universities. My main idea is that USI’s courses are more powerful in some sections, while DIT‘s more powerful in other sections. As you know informatics is a science that is growing rapidly². As a result, program of studies of every university have to be updated constantly. But do they really do?


USI’s program of studies is more updated that the one of DIT‘s. Especially in web technologies, the gap is tremendous. Another example, is that they use the new standard of C (C11), but this is negligible in comparison with the web technologies I mentioned before. In the web courses, they learn about the technologies that are going to be used in the future. To be exact, these technologies are already in use and supported by the major browsers, but are not yet part of the w3c standard. They are going to be until 2014 at max. For more read here.

Java vs C

Here, students are taught Java as their first programming language in ip ( in DIT we code for 1st time in C ). As a result they have a very limited feeling of memory management. They are taught C in 2nd year, but for sure, they do not focus on this language as deeply as Prof. Stamatopoulos does. Yet alone the fact, that they don’t know C++. But they use software for C++, as QT frameworks for Graphics course, but the skeleton is given ready to the students, thus they don’t need to write actual C++. It is like writing a C program and use g++ for it. A part where you may need to know a little C++ is the bonus assignment of Topics in Algorithms course, which is not standard. In other words it might not be given while you are in USI. No problem if you don’t know C++, since the local students don’t know either, so don’t worry about it. I would say that the 2nd year USI students are more used to develop fancy outputs (like nice graphics for a game), in comparison with the ones of DIT.

Main Difference

Students of DIT (registered in 2010) developed game reversi (mine’s can be found here). We used Minimax algorithm ( or Alpha–beta pruning ) to determine moves, handled binary data files and supported many additional features. A game that had a poorly UI, but required much and clever work by the programmer. Students of USI, while on their first game, they didn’t use such sophisticated algorithms (for a student in 1st semester I would say they were pretty challenging), but they came with a nice UI, a game with nice background, nice characters etc. That is what is happening I would say, DIT investigates subjects thoroughly, getting in depth of them, but stays more on theory. USI on the other hand focuses more on practice. In some cases, they focus on learning tools, rather than concepts. A high class university shall teach concepts, not tools, because tools are changing constantly. An example of this is given in Object oriented programming in DIT (I.Karali). Remember, I didn’t say that USI does not teach concepts at all. Topics in Algorithms and Computer graphics really focus on disseminating concepts, rather than tools ;).
Home message : Learn concepts, not tools. Otherwise you are going to have the same outcome as the one the tools have when they get old. They are thrown away. Best case scenario for them is to be placed in a museum ;).


Professors there tend to announce a new homework every week. In DIT we have big assignments and the number of them is small. In USI, the opposite is happening. Many assignments with “few” work (work to fit in a week). Deadlines are deadlines. What I mean is that they are strict, as they ought to be in Greece, in my mind of course :). For more about this see the Teaching section below in this page.

Team Projects

Team projects are highly encouraged in USI. In some cases they are mandatory. Personally I had done all my projects alone in DIT (reversi, simulation of an ecosystem, databases). In USI I did my first three team projects. This is a great opportunity to get used to SVN (google code) or/and Github. Two of two person and one of four persons. In most courses you can do all the assignments in pairs, even though they might be easy. Open space helps (if you visit it while not in rush hours) on this. For more about open space see the Teaching section below in this page.


Ancient Greeks were/are more significant that you might thing. Greek symbols and words are really everywhere in science. I knew that too, when I was studying in Greece and when traveling around the globe, but I really felt it when I studied abroad, in USI. Mathematics and Greek letters/symbols/words go, of course, together. Math language is global, thus many symbols are common (apart from Greek). But, some words are different from the ones we use. If you decide to follow a mathematics course, then you might need to check the English words for some aspects of maths. But, remember, the level of mathematics we do in Greece is far more advanced than the one they do here. If I had to choose between a math course and a programming one, I would rather take the programming one in USI and the math one in DIT.


I would say that courses in USI provides you a very good programming experience. For sure, you are going to be benefited by this. You might also learn to go along with deadlines. You are going to study less and focus on doing the homework. Well homework sometimes require reading from slides, especially for the non-programming courses. Oh and mind that Lugano is not the place to come if you want to pass courses without trying (ελληνιστί, δεν είναι της πλάκας).
Conclusion : Go for it! 😀

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The most economical solution is USI home ( εστία )( just 5 minutes from university ). Unfortunately, the rooms there are extremely limited in comparison with the number of Erasmus students. If you want to apply, make up your mind before the applications start. The rooms come to 1-bed (500 fr/month) and to 2-beds (350 fr/month), with the latest been cheaper. The university has a service for housing. There they can help you even though you won’t stay at USI home. Interesting general info about life in Lugano can be found here.

Be aware of when the applications start, because the order in which you apply plays a significant role. The chance of you not getting a room there is of big value. Ask for the applications, as long as you start contacting people from USI. If another student from your university is going to USI too, it would be a good idea to discuss if you wish to be roommates.

Oh and if you are going to leave in USI home, don’t forget to take with you at least a towel and a pillowcase (μαξιλαροθήκη). For the towels, I would personally recommend you to get one for the hands, one for the face, one for the body and one for the legs. This way, you minimize the times that you need to wash them. I didn’t have any of them when I got here, so I bought them from Migros (see below in this page for Migros).

For washing, USI home has two washing machines and two dryers per floor. The building has three floors, but only the two ones are for students. In order to use them, you “buy” from Patrizia (see about her in the People section at the bottom of this page) something like a key for 10 franks and you have 5 washes available I think. Of course when you are out of washes in the key, you can always recharge the key at Patrizia’s office (and pay again ;p).

USI home on a snowy day (entrance on the right side of the building as you look at the pic)

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The applications for the Erasmus started at March. Results for us were published on May. You will find a ‘course’ in eclass .Just enroll to this subject, so you can submit your application. You will find this course following this path :
eclass -> ΚΑΤΑΛΟΓΟΣ ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΩΝ -> στο τομέα Άλλα ( κάντε scroll μέχρι το τέλος της σελίδας ) -> ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ ΕΡΑΣΜΟΣ (F118) – Αφροδίτη Τσαλγατίδου ( Υπεύθυνη Erasmus για το τμήμα μας ).

You can select up to three universities. The duration of your Erasmus can be one or two semesters. Usually the professors prefer to give each student one semester, so that they can send more people in Erasmus (if a professor gives you two semester, then one less student is going to Erasmus). But you can always request for two semesters. Also there is the option to stay one semester more, but with no scholarship. If you are interested in something like this, ask the relative professor and the Faculty of European Studies.

In 2012 there was also an event ( way before the applications started ) in the building of DIT, where relevant professors, chairman of DIT and some former Erasmus students where happy to inform whoever was interested in Erasmus and answer questions.

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Università is the Italian word for university. The university is called Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) and it focuses in informatics, not telecommunications. If you are interested in telecommunications, rather than informatics, then you should take a look at Aalto university in Finland ( professor in charge for this, is D.Varoutas ). The faculty of Informatics of USI is, in the top 10 software engineering research organizations in Europe for the last 10 years (link)! It is composed from a group of building. Don’t let your mind imagine a huge campus, like the one of UOA’s. Here you can see the campus of USI. In the Informatics building there is in the 1st floor, the open space. This is supposed to be a place for the students to study in a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. Again don’t let your mind imagine something like the building DIT has for studying.. Some say that a place like this can be found in the library of USI.. I don’t have gone there, so no more info can be given on this by me.

Main entrance of the main building of USI

The uni is 24 hours open for the students. You are going to receive an ID that will grant access to you, even though when the uni is closed ( normally when it gets dark, it is locked ). Many students tend to stay at open space until late at night (00:00). What is really happening in open space in rush hours is group of students discussing their homework. Notice that in the Informatic’s building a powerful internet connection is available, USI 5 it’s name. Be prepared to see people from many countries. In the video below you can take a preview :).

Special thanks to Hao Hu for providing the link to our page 🙂

Mind also that USI wants to have more Erasmus students, thus students of such are more than welcome ;).

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In the university, everybody speaks English. Outside of the faculty, 1 out 10 speaks English (!). The locals speak Italian. Despite the fact that many people in Switzerland speak German/French, here in Lugano, you will find yourself pretty often in situations where only Italian are spoken! But don’t worry, body language is always efficient 😉 .

Greek master student asks for the time.
If you ask for the time at the street in English,
you have same chances as him to get an answer.
By the way, time is Ora in italian, just like in Greek.

In order to deal with this problem, the university offers courses for the Italian course, free of charge! For students that plan to go on a winter semester, there is 2 weeks preparation before the semester starts. This preparation takes place around the 20 of August (approximately). Read more here (ELIC).
Comment : Course with no exams. Certificate will be given to you if and only if you attend at least 75% of the lectures. Many levels and time schedules that you can select from. I recommend you attend it. It is an easy going class, a fun one :). Ah and if you have as teacher, Mrs Stephani (Stefania), give her my greetings and contact me to inform me about her reaction. She was really a good teacher :D.

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USI is a small university in comparison with DIT. Remember that there they do not have free education, they pay for attending the courses. Most of the classrooms are smaller than the ones DIT has nearby the windows lab, where two or three are of equal size (as the ones of DIT). Classes have maximum 15 students. Usually the have approximately ten students. The bachelor there lasts three years, not four as in Greece. A translation for those who may not already know, bachelor == προπτυχιακό && master == μεταπτυχιακό && PhD == διδακτορικό. As a result close relationships can be achieved between you and the professors. The role of the master students we have in DIT is taken over by PhD’es here in Lugano. A subject can have 1 to 3 PhD students. You can also have close relationships with them if you like, because they are present most of the time in class.

In most courses (especially the programming ones) a laptop will be needed in class. All the students have a Mac ( well some of them have ubuntu as main OS). Almost all have a dual partition with windows for gaming, as msdnaa is available to them too – you will have access to msdnaa as an USI student too ( yes two acounts, because for the msdnaa it seems like it serves two different students 😉 ). For the courses I would suggest you to use a Mac for compatibility. If for any case you can not set it up, or don’t have one, contact the TA’s ( <– the PhD students I mentioned before. TA stands for Teaching Assistant ) for help. Don't you have a mac? Read the Mac section below to see how you can get one for free 😉

Almost every week there is homework. Unlike DIT, where big projects are assigned with big deadlines, in USI every Monday normally a new homework is there for you. OF course they have reasonable amount of work to be done. Remember that the teaching assistants are always accessible (via the forum of every course in icorsi ( synonymous to our eclass ) ) or in the 2nd floor of the Informatic’s building. In order to access the 2nd floor you need to have your ID card, no matter what time is it.

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Every Erasmus student is given a mac and a charger for it. No bag for it is given. I will not list the attributes of my mac since not all the students received the same mac. Unfortunately some students ( very few fortunately 😛 ) did not receive one. The mac’s are given in the orientation day ( you will be informed for this when you start contacting the people of USI that are in charge for the Erasmus – you can find them at the bottom of this article ). It seems logical that if you attend this day, you will be sure that you will receive a mac. I didn’t attend that day and still got one, but I would highly recommend it to you, not only because of the mac, but because they inform you about many issues that is good for you to know.

Mac Book Pro (i7)

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Switzerland is not a member of European Nation. As a result it has it’s own currency, franks. Usually the rate between franks and euro is 1.2. Swiss government tends to keep the rate in this level, because of reasons that are out of scope of this page. You are unable to withdraw euros, except if you own an account in a Swiss bank. The maximum amount you can withdraw is 1000 franks. ATM’s can be found inside banks (not outside as in many European countries) and in the main building of USI. I used to use my account of National bank of Greece for my transactions. In every country I have been to, I do the same, since our national bank is usually appropriate as a representative for these issues.

When I used to withdraw money from the ATM, the rate that the transaction was taking place with a rate of 1.17 (while the rate was at 1.2). What is happening is that the banks take advantage of you and that way you loose money and they benefit. I would say that, you can minimize the loss, by withdrawing every time the maximum amount possible, that is 1000 franks (in other words do as few withdraws as possible while you are in Lugano). Another way, is to have euros and go to the “talado” (which can be found nearby Manor, ask for it), where they make the exchange with the real rate (usually 1.2).

Bank notes of swiss franks (χαρτονομίσματα)

Coins of swiss franks

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The bad news, if you are leaving in a mediterranean country (like Greece), are that you have probably to forget about the mediterranean weather.. There may be some common elements in the weather of Lugano and in the mediterranean one, but they are outnumbered.

The good news are that Lugano is located at the south part of Switzerland, so the weather will not be that bad. In other words, don’t let the weather make you hesitate for Erasmus in Switzerland ;). I had arrived in Lugano at 5th of September and the weather was fine. You may let it do so, if you are thinking of going to England (well the truth is that it is not really England, but north Ireland) or Finland. At least this was what I did. And trust me, the winter here is very calm 😉 (at least the one of 2012).

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Let’s assume that you are selected to come to Switzerland! ( Congratulations!!!! 😉 ). You have to travel from Athens to Lugano. What we did was to :

  • Fly from Athens (El.Venizelos) to Milan (Malpensa) with Aegean airlines.
  • Take the bus to Lugano (Inside the airport we searched for a bus agency – a good tip to save money would be to book tickets for going and returning).
  • The bus left us at the train station of Lugano. From there we got another bus (there is an auto-ticket machine in the station of the bus), to go to the USI home ( just 5 minutes from university ). Ask for the bus that goes to Università. We disembarked from the bus at Università station. (I think it is the bus No.2).
  • Then you have to walk to the USI home. Ask for Via Bertaro Lambertenghi 1.
  • You will have arrange a meeting with the guard, in order to grant access to the home. But, you may not be on time, so in this case I would suggest you to wait outside the entrance until somebody shows up by chance. Lugano is a small place, so you do not need any special transportation. For more refer to the Spring Sem. section, which you can found bellow in this page).

    Note: A good practice is to do all the papers needed as soon as possible, so that you don’t have to worry about them during the semester. There are not many. You can find them here.
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    USI, the university in Switzerland also provides sports activities. You can choose from field hockey and climbing to basketball and football. They have indoor fields for football, basketball, tennis. Of course the swimming pools are also indoor. If you are determined to play football for example, I would suggest you to take the necessary equipment from your country, because here it will be too expensive. The lowest price I found for a Nike boot in Intersports ( with small spiked (με σκάρα) ) was 100 franks (!) . I also found in Manor a futsal boot for 50 ( or less maybe ) franks, but it was of bad quality.

    Well I said futsal… If the weather is good, everybody plays in local pitch ( near USI home, less than 5 min. from univeristy ). There they play football. But, swiss weather is not Greek weather 😉 . As a result, the play indoors. There they play futsal. The main difference is that the ball is smaller in size and much heavier than the ones that you are probably used to. On Monday evening the tournament takes place, so you have to be member of a team to participate. On Tuesday at 6:00, everybody can play, but there is only one pitch and many players so better be on time. There is no problem if you do not know anybody, if you arrive on time, the responsible man there will place you in a team.
    Also on Monday, late at evening there is the basketball practice. The basketball and futsal fields can be found on the local high school ( Λιτσίουμ προφέρεται ). Ask for it, everybody knows where it is :).
    Our team, with members from all around the world made it to the semifinals of USI’s tournament!

    Viva homeless
    Viva homeless – Winter 2012 – Semi finals 😀

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    Super markets

    Two are the main representatives. Manor and Migros. They are malls, with the super markets found for both buildings at the bottom floor. In the other floors you can find clothes, cooking equipment and almost everything you could find at a carrefour for example 😛 (of course not in same prices). Other stores are in town, but I think those two are the main ones. Do not forget than you can always ask the other Erasmus students about locations. They are going to be happy to help you ( in our semester they were ).


    This is the most elegant mall. It has much more variety than the one offered at Migros, but in most cases it not as cheap as Migros. Some greek products can also be found there, like total yogurts. The quality of the products found in Manor is good enough. If you are a smart consumer, who will search for the optimum relationship with price and quality, then you should, for sure pay a visit to Manor 🙂 .


    Same concept as Manor, but cheaper, less variety and in some cases less quality. First thought in mind will be probably to discard Migros from your options, but do not. At least not now without taking a look by yourselves ;). The budget products are the lowest prices you can find. They come into green appearance and can be find only on Migros stores. They are the equivalent of the Veropoulo’s products we have in Greece ( well I don’t know if they are called like this, but I think you got my point 😛 ).


    When I was there there, I used to shop from both markets. At first, I did a heavy search at both stores. Think about it. You spend time to search prices and products, but you are going to stay there for a whole semester ( at least ), so I would highly recommend you to do so. Then I decided from which one I would buy what. The markets are placed relatively closed, so you can go to both at the same time. If you like at USI home, the shortest path to follow is to first go to Manor and then to Migros.

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    Well you are about to go ( I wish you will be selected 😀 ) to Switzerland, or you are already there, so say hi to the Greeks that live there from me 😉 . Of course like Greece, nowhere. As a result don’t expect to party like Greece. A main event, I would suggest you to attend is the apperetivo, that takes place every Thursday ( it changes locations some times, so beware ). In these events, there is free food. You pay for your drinks. There is also nice music, which in many cases result to dance music, depending on the building the event takes place. <
    Erasmus students use to go there, so probably you will speak with the others to go as a big group there and have a good time all together 😉 . Oh and when I say free food, do not expect souvlakia and kokoretsia :-/

    Last apperetivo of 2012 – Greek power in Lugano 😀

    So what about parties? Can you party hard, even though you are in Swiss? Of course you can! You have the greek element… Probably there will be Spanish and Italians Erasmus students… As result, we have the mediterranean element, which is powerful enough to make you party hard.. People from other countries are here too, so nice parties are organized almost every week 😉 . Remember that Erasmus parties are famous, so attend some of them to see how they look like 😀 . And there are also some clubs and bars to explore

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    Especially in the start, you will need to eat something quick. Unfortunately for Greeks, souvlakia can not be found in Lugano ( yeah I know this is heartbreaking my friend, I have been through this.. ). You can select through pizza, kebabs, burgers, sandwiches and other relevant “foods”. Remember these are not healthy, so better avoid them 🙂


    It can be found on many places, but a good deal (depending on price and quality) is the ones that one can find in Migros (ground flour) and Manor (bottom floor). Do not do the mistake to buy a pizza when the store is two or less hours from closing, because the chance of your piece to be stale is positive and has a big value. For locating Migros and Manor see the relevant section above.


    McDonald’s and Burger King are the main representatives of this section, if not the only ones. Burger king is more expensive, but for sure you will be served better quality “food”.


    About the kebabs there are some places to go. I do not really know which one is the best, because I didn’t visit them. One can be found here. Ask for them and you will find them.

    Real Food

    Normal restaurants with real food exist too! But probably they might be a little expensive, so check the menu before you have a seat 😉 .There is also the Mensa , which is the restaurant of the university. Other solutions are also feasible. Don’t forget that you can be a master-chef yourself, thus saving money and having your favorite plates. Of course this requires that you actually know how to cook ( I don’t 😀 ). For more I would suggest you to go the section Spring Sem. below on this page. Follow the second link found there.

    Church Food

    Every Tuesday, the church that is located 5 minutes from the university, offers to students only a free meal. The launch starts at 12:30. Goal of the launch is, that the students can exchange ideas and everybody, no matter where he/she comes from, have a launch under the same shelter. Here, people are Catholics, but there is no problem if you are not in order to attend the launch. I am Orthodox and had no problem at all. There is also a facebook group, which you can find here .

    Viva homeless
    Burger king restaurant.
    See the chess field? There are more at Lugano. During daytime they have big chessmen and everybody is free to play!

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    Jacks (πρίζες) in Switzerland are of J type. That means that they are different from the ones that most european countries use ( type C/E/F ). So, you will probably need one jack converter. This should convert a 2-pin jack (the one you probably have in your country) to a 3-pin ( they one they have in Switzerland ). I bought one from Migros. I do not remember the price, but if you can find it in country, you would probably save some euros. If for example you want to carry your laptop from home, then you will for sure need a converter to charge it. An idea would be the next one who goes there to borrow mine two converters. Then, when he/she/they arrive they should give them back to me, so that I can give them to the next ones. Of course this requires good cooperation. If you are selected and you interested in this idea, just contact me.

    Jack used in Switzerland, you will need a converter to plug-in your devices

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    Spring semester


    We were in Switzerland on the winter semester. Before us, other students from our university were there for the spring semester.They created a blog for their experience. For general comments on academic issues and courses click here. For comments about life in Switzerland click here .

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    When did you go?
    17 Sept. – start of Feb. for the winter semester and 13 Februrary until 27 july for the
    Spring Semester.
    How much does a student spend per month?
    At least 650-750 euros, assuming that you stay at USI house or relevant. See Housing above.

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    Think twice before asking something. Search thoroughly this page and the blog at Spring Sem. section for info. Think about how many clone questions the following people have received. If everybody was a little more careful, I would provide for every person bellow the email. The purpose of this page and the other blog is to minimize the emails people are receiving for trivial questions. On the other hand, I do not imply that nobody should ask. We should make use of the moderate number of emails to be send. Πάν μέτρον άριστον!


    • Georgios Samaras : contact
    • Georgios Kokosioulis : webpage
    • Persefoni Liarostathi
    • Ioannis Lamprou
    • Thomas Karampelas
    • Panagiotis-Alexios Giannopoulos

    Supervisors ( in Greece )

    • Ioannis Emiris
    • Aphrodite Tsalgatidou
    • A. Kalamaki

    Representatives ( in Switzerland )

    Viva homeless
    for reading all this, .. or scrolling down to the bottom 😀

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Special thanks to V. Triglianos, G. Kokosioulis and V. Papapanagiotou for their precious advices.
Page created by G. (George) Samaras (DIT)


6 thoughts on “ERASMUS > SWITZERLAND

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