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master Zuzana Soudná, CTU Prague, ročník 4

Faculty Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering
Field of study Solid State Engineering
Field of internship Material Science and Engineering
Specialization of InternshipMaterials Science
Internship period (from - to) 20.9.2022 - 9.12.2022
Internship duration (weeks) 12
Transport (means, price) Return flight Prague to Zurich for 6500 CZK
Insurance/Insurance company travel insurance by my debit card provider (CSOB bank)
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) no
Price of Visa /
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Switzerland, Villigen
Internship reference number CH/2022-000030

About the country

Location of the place

Villigen is a village in canton Aargau. In the village itself are not many other opportunities except of the PSI. I have never been to the village, most of the employees commute from other places as well. Zurich is reachable within an hour.


I stayed in Brugg-Windisch, about 15 minutes by bus from Villigen. There is Windisch Roman Amphitheatre located right in the town as Romans left some traces in the area in the past. If you go to the local "Gemeinde" to register after arrival, you will get leaflets and maps with all the information about significant places in the surrounding.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

Thanks to the well functioning public transport, you can go easily anywhere for a trip, the limit is only the money. Swiss go for hikes all the time, we went to Fronalpstock. In Siggenthal is sport arena Goeasy with bowling. In Leuggern is a restaurant called Landgasthof Weisses Kreuz which serves exotic meats.



Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) is a research institute with more than 2000 employees with an awsome scientific infrastructure. The institute is located on both banks of the river Aarau, therefore it is divided into two campuses, East and West.

Work description

My task was find out parameters for evaporation of thin GeTe films. Since my lab was located in the Swiss Light Source, the work varied according to assigned beam-time. During our beam-time, I prepared substrate, evaporated GeTe, did LEED and XPS, my supervisor did STM. Then we changed some parameters, repeated the cycle and observed the changes to optimize the process. During external beam-time, I did some AFM, wrote reports and prepared presentation with the current results. The work was exactly what was stated in the description.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

Gross salary was 2100 CHF/month. It was fully sufficient. Lunch in the canteen is between 10 and 17 CHF. The most expensive is public transport, however, people under 25 years have it cheaper and older can buy half-fare ticket for about 180 CHF which is valid for a year and allows you to travel for half-price.

Language requirements

At the institute was English completely sufficient except of canteen menu in German, with the common life it is more demanding. I speak German so I didn´t struggle, foreigners without knowledge of German have it more diffucult, but they cope as well.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

PSI provided me with a list of options where I could look for an accommodation. I found a room through for 540 CHF/month. However, you need to take into account a deposit, in my case it was just one month rent, but it can be up to three. Also, it is more difficult to find a room for a short-time stay, many times a 5-month contract is minimum. PSI has a guest-house as well, however, it costs about 30 CHF/night and that is already a reduced price for employees.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organized events...)

There are plenty of events organized by local IAESTE, I joined only BBQ party with other interns and employers which was awesome.

Meeting other foreign students

I met basically only PhD students at the institute and my flatmates.

Sport and culture

There is a gym right in the institute, for cultural life is more suitable Baden as it is a larger town.

Food, local specialties

Traditional and very popular especially in winter is cheese fondue (with white wine included).

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

Any apps I use commonly in Europe.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

Start searching early enough for the accommodation and have enough money for the first month to survive until you get your first payment. Foreign bank account is tolerated by the institute only for short-time internships, otherwise you will have to get a Swiss one.

What not to forget with you

Several adapters for all your chargers and birth certificate for the registration with local authorities. Proper hiking shoes.

Benefits of the internship

Learning new scientific techniques, meeting new colleagues, finding out the likes and dislikes of scientific work.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

Information booklet for trainees is very helpful. I would alway double-check any information provided by any IAESTE members though as they are not always correct. Especially regarding local insurance, contact a Swiss insurance company and ask them.

Overall experience with IAESTE

I am fully satisfied.

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