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Studies > Switzerland > Sankt Gallen > Universität St. Gallen > Review by Peter V 
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Universität St. Gallen (UNIVERSITY OF ST. GALLEN)

298 reviews
3.96 / 5 based on 298 reviews
Useful  |  1
Peter V
Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, United States
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Independent
Expenses
Main source of funding:
Family
Other sources of funding:
none
Work opportunities:
It was not legal for me to work
Personal spending habits
Why did I spend more than at home? It's freaking Switzerland. Example: in Germany, a Döner Kebab (food of the gods) costs €2.50, and in Switzerland what amounts to €6. Everything is overpriced, so get used to it.
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Overall, Telephone, Nightlife, Travel, Food, Housing:
was more expensive than at home.
Accessibility of student needs
Second-hand text books
Second-hand household items
Computers / Internet
Administrative
Money from home
Personal comments
Semester tuition is roughly 1,000 Francs. That's less than $750. Despite all its downfalls academically (OK, the quality is good, but the selection and bureaucracy makes it suck), the University of St. Gallen is quite a steal if you come from an American university.
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Useful  |  4
Peter V
Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, United States
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Independent
Academic
Course recommendations
Every "department" (accounting, banking, etc) can only offer two classes per semester, so there is a natural lack thereof. If you already know what you're interested in (accounting or finance, for example), you're pretty much screwed as far as course selection is concerned. Maybe one finance and one accounting course per semester for the undergraduates and then you're left to choose between filler and masters courses. Obviously there's no problem with the masters courses (in fact, they are more representative of what I can get at my home university in the States), it's just that that kind of selection should be mirrored in the undergraduate course catalog. Courses are all block-fashion, meaning you've got one lecture a week, sometimes for four hours straight. Dealing with TAs instead of the professors themselves is a pain in the ass, and the Swiss students show no interest in the international students, with few exceptions.
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My academic experiences
Quality of courses
Variety of courses
Access to resources
Interaction with teachers
Interaction with international students
Interaction with local students
Personal comments
Good God, yes! One exam and that's it??? I know not ALL courses operate this way, but the fact that at least 1/3 of them do is quite disturbing. You have no clue how well you know the stuff until you step foot into the final exam. No assessment in the middle of the semester. **YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP TO TAKE TESTS** What genius came up with this idea? I mean if you're gonna take a class, you are gonna take the test, or is this just an American thing? So yeah, I didn't get that memo, which means that I wasn't ALLOWED to take my tests. Fortunately, I took one of them with the exchange students right at the end of the semester, so I got SOME credit for the semester, but on the whole it was a waste of 3 months of my time and money. Will be a blast explaining that to my home university when they ask what I did for the whole semester since I got only 4 credits. The faculty also seems to be way out of touch with the student body. This, however, can be topped: the administration is on it's own level, somewhere circling Venus, as if not caring about what the faculty OR the students wanted was a cool thing. Example: the university REQUIRES many courses to have 2 semester hours of what amounts to homework. However, both students and professors hate it because nobody knows how to approach/formulate it. It's kind of a general rule that if something is mandatory/forced, it's gonna suck. For the US students out there, remember summer reading? For the most part good books, but if you got them on your summer reading list, they were the most painful waste time, and you read the same sentence about five times on page 532 because you fell asleep every time you got to the end of it. That's why I hate Charles Dickens. But both parties go along as if nothing about the system were broken and so nothing gets changed. How about actually giving the faculty control of their own curriculum instead of policing it? I thought that was the whole point of academics (or at least on the teaching side of it) at the college level. They say this is one of the top European business schools, and one of the top two in the German-speaking areas. This leads to the fact that the university is very poor at marketing itself towards its own students -- the administration doesn't seem to give a rat's ass what the students think, but the students go on as if that kind of stuff is normal. They should do an exchange at a smaller liberal arts university in America, and they'd see what they're missing. In short, you really can't compare University of St. Gallen to any American university, big or small, East coast or West. It is lacking in so many areas, but doesn't seem to acknowledge ...
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My opinion of the university assessment
Exams at end of course
Exams throughout the course
Essays and/or projects at the end of course
Essays and/or projects throughout the course
Overall
Useful  |  4
Peter V
Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, United States
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Independent
Overall
I wish I had known...
That everyone in the world knows American universities (Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford) for a reason. They're simply better than any others. And that you had to sign up for tests in order to be able to take them...
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In my opinion:
Most people loved it.
Important factors in my choice
(1) Unimportant – (4) Very important
Academic reasons
3
Culture
2
Costs
1
Activities
1
Campus life
1
Party / people
1
Weather / location
4
Personal recommendation
I said most people loved it because most people did. I guess ignorance is bliss, because these kids don't know what they're missing in the USA. My first semester was quite an eye-opener. Not because of the normal occurrence of culture-shock (I've lived in Switzerland once before, for a year) or that I got to know so many people from different countries, but because I learned how DIFFERENT universities in Europe are than in America. Essentially, if you're a European student, you can ignore most of what I've said in this whole review; you'll probably love this place. However, if you're an American student, I'd think twice (and twice more, and twice more...) about choosing the University of St. Gallen.
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During my experience abroad, I ...
(1) Never – (4) A lot
Became familiar with another culture
3
Traveled
3
Improved language skills
3
Met people from other countries
4
Became more independent
1
Partied a lot
3
Experienced a change in life
4
Advanced my studies & career
1
Final comments
Hard to sum up. It's hard to believe that the university is much different than how I've protrayed it, since I don't think I was just unlucky about a thousand times. As I said, the quality of the courses at the university is good, and the area is pretty beautiful as well, but the whole time you'll be battling arrogance (whether it's the people themselves or the university), which is not conducive to a good academic experience. If you want to go to a place which will undoubtedly make you rethink your plans of living and working in Europe/Switzerland after college, go here.
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Useful  |  1
Peter V
Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, United States
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Independent
Languages
Language of instruction: German
Was learning German a key decision factor?
No, it wasn't.
How much did you improve your German?
My level before:
My level after:
Language difficulties
Social
Educational
Administrative / Institutional
Overall
Personal comments
I can speak fluent German and Swiss German, but I've got to say, the dialect in St. Gallen is by far the most laughable dialect in all of Switzerland. They just all sound goofy. No problems with the language though, but I'd recommend being able to actually formulate decent German sentences if you want to go here .
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Useful  |  0
Peter V
Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, United States
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Independent
Housing
Type of housing: Apartment/House
Arranged by: Host university
If returning, I would choose: Apartment/House
Why?
Great idea, just need to have luck with the flatmates.
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Personal assessment
Cost
Facilities
Location
Cleanliness
Space
Personal comments
I requested to live with students, but I ended up living with a hothead, arrogant nincompoop (ie- he thought he was smart, and he rides around in a SMART company car), his gorilla girlfriend (I swear, she resembled a gorilla), and a cool guy from Italy. Had no problems with the guy from Italy, obviously, but everything else was miserable. Just a complete and utter conflict of personalities. The rent was too high, didn't get anything in return, and decided to move apartments for the second semester (I'm writing this assessment for my first semester only, as it was quite simply an unforgettable experience). Now obviously this doesn't happen all the time, and I must say that the university's apartment search service is quite good; I guess I just got unlucky.
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Useful  |  6
Peter V
Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA, United States
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Independent
Student life
Describe host city:
Students interact with the local community without much university involvement
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Activities, Travel: Takes place mostly within the university/student environment
Nightlife: Takes place both within and outside of the university/student environment
Personal social experience
Activities
Nightlife
Travel
Overall
Personal comments
The fact that St. Gallen is the 5th or 6th largest city in Switzerland is somewhat misleading. 70,000 people doesn't constitute a large city. Nightclubs were expensive, played nothing progressive, and were filled mostly with high school students. Most college students seemed to go home for the weekends, which explains why the town was relatively empty for the weekends. Obviously the exchange students didn't have places to go, so the scene wasn't THAT bad. In fact, the apartment parties thrown by exchange students are pretty decent (I DO come from the #2 party school in the USA), and will more than likely serve your needs as long as you don't NEED to go clubbing. I'm used to frat parties and free alcohol, so maybe my view is somewhat skewed. The location was great, one hour east of Zurich, 1.5hrs from the Alps, with some smaller ski areas even closer. Swiss trains are very efficient (on time, whether that is in your favor or not is up to you). Best places: Brühlhof (cheap drinks, good atmosphere, cool owner), Alhambra (chill-out bar), Bierreria (Wednesdays all beers are CHF5.00), Limette (thursdays great happy hour -- CHF5.00 mixed drinks) Places to avoid: Elephant (overrated club, despite being the biggest in St. Gallen -- CHF12.00 entrance fee, no free drinks, nothing. Drinks are too expensive, small dance floor, filled with sketchy people. Sometimes you'll get a laugh out of what some pepole wear to clubs though...The mullet is making a comeback...in Europe. There truly IS a reason for the term 'eurotrash')
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