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Germany or Switzerland for Masters?


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Hey y'all,


I just graduated from college and I am planning to get a masters degree in economics in Europe. I've been accepted to the masters program at the University of Zurich and Lausanne in Switzerland and University of Konstanz in Germany. I am still waiting for University of Boon In Germany. I applied to all these schools because they have very great reputations and professors, but now that most of them have accepted me, I really need some help in making the decision. I am interested in Behavioral economics and Nueroeconomics and I think I want to come back to the U.S for a Ph.D program after Europe. So far my top choice is Zurich because they have done a lot of great work in behavioral econ and nueroeconomics and the school is very international, but I don't think I can find more information about the master programs and compare them in terms of teaching quality, placement records, student lives and etc. Does anyone have any ideas or experiences with these schools and programs?. Any suggestions?



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I can't tell you anything about the programmes but in terms of living, both Lausanne and Zürich are great places. Zürich can be very expensive though. Do you speak any French? German? If you intend to go to Lausanne, you will need some French, we don't take to kindly to people who directly assume that everyone speaks English ^^ In Zürich you could probably get away without speaking any Swiss German but it's always better to at least try to learn it. 


Both cities are located at transport nodes within the Swiss railway system with easy access to the main cities or the Alps (which you have to go to if you end up in Switzerland). From Lausanne you can even take the train to Paris or a few other French cities, from Zürich to Vienna and Berlin. So if you want to explore a bit of Europe whilst you are there, Switzerland is the ideal choice :-)


I haven't visited the University of Zürich, but Lausanne has a beautiful campus, slightly away from the city centre but very well connected (Swiss cities are small anyway). There are plenty of opportunity to get involved with the campus life, from taking part in radio shows to organising cultural festivals. For Konstanz, I've only been there once and as far as I can remember it's a very pretty town, conveniently located between Germany and Switzerland.

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I can't tell you anything about the universities, but I have visited the cities of Zürich and Konstanz and can tell you a bit about them ;) . Both are beautiful places, so you can't go wrong! Konstanz is smaller and more of a college town, while Zürich has a more bustling, international feel to it. If money is an issue, be aware that Zürich is perhaps the most expensive city in all of Europe and keep that in mind. Neither place has amazing weather in my opinion (lots of drizzling and overcast skies/even fog on Lake Constance in summer, often heavy snow in Zürich through March or April), but both have nice architecture and a pleasant downtown. 


I speak fluent German (standard German) and have had no difficulties getting around in Switzerland, although I'd probably make an effort to learn some Schweizerdeutsch if I lived there for a long time. Zürich has some delicious but terrifyingly expensive restaurants which I enjoyed during my stay there. It's pretty quiet for a major city, with a very good tram system, and you can live right in the downtown and still be in a quiet, peaceful neighborhood.

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