ETH Zürich (Samuel)



Aug '09 - Dec '09

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    classes start, moving, hiking [week 4ish]

    Samuel Mortimer
    Sep 19, '09 7:01 AM EST

    Not a lot of posts lately. "Things" have been getting increasingly busier. I hate it when people start out blogs like that, but hey-- it'll be okay.

    Studio started on Wednesday. Officially we are in class from something like 8am-6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. This is obviously a bit different that my UT studio model and quite a bit different that any other undergraduate class I can imagine. So it should be interesting to see how the studio dynamic is of off and on instruction, class meetings, pinups, critiques, etc for the entire day. I'm excited.

    Professor Mateo seems great and the assistants are all young and enthusiastic-- which is of course nice. I think there are...3 or 4 primary assistants. Then several more that will come in for specialized things? Rendering and digital stuff, CAD/CAM workshop, etc.

    We are designing a factory for the Henniez mineral water company in Western Switzerland. I will post more details about the program and such soon. We have an entire book with information about the project-- I'll try to find the PDF when I figure out server access stuff.

    Thursday I went to a building materials course that was entirely in german. eek. I didn't really catch much of what he was talking about, but since I have had a similar course already I could make some educated guesses based on the tables, diagrams, etc. That is not a good way to learn anything new though-- just assume they are talking about something I *kind of* could tell you something about. Not going back to that class.

    I am in a video course that is promising to be interesting if I can make it in the course that is. (very limited space) More details on that later-- but here is a website in the meantime.

    I am moving to my new flat today. ick. I will be much closer to campus, but I sure hate moving. This is like 5 times in 12 months now.

    And I will leave you with this. Yes, this is a real place. I can confirm because I was there. I didn't believe it either.




      how many other native english speakers are there, and are you avoiding them to better your german?

      Sep 20, 09 12:58 pm

      There are not very many NATIVE english speakers at all. (At least, that is my impression after 3 days of classes in a fairly large program.) I have only met one other person from the US (IIT student) and one person from the UK.

      This is in the architecture program to clarify, but I have probably only met 3-4 other native English speakers who are attending either ETH or University of Zurich and studying other things. (UK, Canada, Singapore)

      My studio and most of my classes are in English, but certainly in between everyone is speaking German. (Or to be more specific, usually Swiss-German-- which quite similar, but very much not the same.)

      I am attempting to use the little bit of German I know to conversate/ get by day-to-day, but my language skills really are quite limited. The fact that everyone here speaks English so well doesn't make it easier to force me to use it either, because as soon as they see I am struggling the immediately switch to English. That and there is also something to say for the international presence at the two universities: in a group of Swedes, Dutch, Germans, Americans, Norwegians, and Italians-- the common language is English.

      It's kind of funny in these groups though, because the non-native English speakers often refuse to speak English except with people that ARE native English speakers-- because they think that it makes their own English worse to talk with someone who hasn't mastered the language themselves.

      Sep 20, 09 4:01 pm

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