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University of Basel

Good to know

The following aspects are outlined in loose order, aiming to provide orientation and to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Most important: Please contact us on time, i.e. two-three months before your first day at work!
If arriving short-term, you seriously risk not only a stressful start of work/studies, but also higher expenditures, limited choice and waiting time (ad hoc room-/flat-hunting, missing documents, administrative procedures etc.).

Public holidays and vacation days

Basel is one of the cantons with the fewest public holidays in Switzerland. On public holidays in Basel, the university as well as businesses, schools, companies and offices are usually closed (or they close early).

Please also note the variety of public holidays and vacation days in your canton of residence and the neighboring border area.


Emergency numbers (CH)

112

Emergencies

117

Police

118

Fire department

144

Emergency medical services, emergency transport and helicopter

+41 61 261 15 15

Medical emergency switchboard (doctors, dentists, pharmacies)

+41 61 311 50 66

Veterinary emergencies

+41 61 686 96 00

Home care, assistance and in-home nursing care

1414

Rega Swiss Air-Ambulance

0800 400 800

IWB service disruptions (power, gas, water)

+41 61 265 25 25

University Hospital Basel, switchboard

+41 61 265 87 87

Eye clinic emergencies


Recycling

In Switzerland, great value is attached to recycling. Recycling recommendations exist for practically everything and every product. A large portion of household waste is sorted: there are specific collection days for paper, cardboard, bulky waste, metal and green waste. Those who follow the recommendations will be acting in an environmentally friendly way and will save money too! A special app helps and sets reminder.

Each neighborhood has recycling stations (older ones with large containers; newer ones with underground containers) for the proper disposal of glass bottles (sorted by color), aluminum and batteries. Please note the hours of operation for these. There are also collection points for special waste (paint, energy-saving light bulbs) as well as two recycling parks around the city. Each supermarket also has an area where you can dispose of PET (plastic) bottles, batteries and CDs. Finally, there are “repair bars”, second-hand shops, flea markets, bazaars, etc., to help deal with material things in the most sustainable way possible.

The same rules for households apply in the workplace and at the University of Basel. There are refilling systems for water bottles, reusable coffee cups and containers for disposing of PET bottles. For more information on the various environmental policies in place at the university and how you can do your part, visit the Sustainability Office website.


“Bebbi” bags

Each canton has its own system for waste management, including its own cost structure. The Canton of Basel-Stadt uses blue plastic bags called Bebbi bags, named after the citizens of Basel. The bags are available in various sizes (17/35/60 liter for CHF 1.20/2.30/3.30 each) in rolls of 10 or 20. These can be purchased in all supermarkets at the customer service desk or at the checkout. The waste disposal fee is included in the purchase price. The Bebbi bag works according to the principle of causation: those who produce less waste have to purchase fewer bags and can use smaller sizes. This outcome is also achieved by making use of the free recycling services provided by the city.

Bebbi bags are collected twice a week on certain days; the waste collection schedule indicates the days waste is collected in specific neighborhoods. The waste collection calendar is available at the local government administration office (normally where you complete your residence registration). It is usually also available online with information on waste disposal in multiple languages.

Important information for avoiding problems with neighbors, landlords or public authorities: Bebbi bags must be placed visibly at the curbside no earlier than 7:00 pm the night before and no later than 7:00 am on the collection day.

A different waste disposal scheme is in place for Allschwil, Münchenstein, Muttenz, etc., because they are suburbs of Basel and therefore belong to the Canton of Baselland. Please inquire with the local administrative office in your municipality.


Cultural customs

Switzerland is a highly organized country, and many procedures such as public administration, public transport and the political system work very efficiently and enjoy the trust of the citizens. This makes things such as registration formalities or the bureaucratic procedures for renting an apartment surprisingly quick and relatively easy.

Great value is attached to rules and abiding by them in Switzerland. Individuals are expected to conform to these rules and make an effort to fit in. Disrespecting the rules will be frowned upon by your fellow citizens, which will sometimes be expressed quite openly. You therefore should not be surprised if you are reprimanded, for example, if you use the recycling stations after hours and make noise (for example, in the evening or on Sunday). Knowing the underlying system of values and respecting this system can therefore be helpful.

Tip: for new residents, the city of Basel and Foreign Consultant Agency GGG Migration hold various welcome events in different languages to provide information about many things including cultural customs.


Trinational region of Basel

The Basel region is prominently shaped by its location in the three-country region where Switzerland, Germany and France meet. The numerous cross-border links and opportunities to work, study, live and enjoy leisure activities on this or that side of the national and linguistic borders are what make the Basel region especially appealing. While the borders in day-to-day life may only become apparent at second glance, the administrative differences can be complex and challenging for individuals.

Many questions often arise particularly with regard to work and the associated legal questions (living in Germany, working in Switzerland; living in France, working in Germany, etc.). For cross-border issues, Infobest Palmrain provides a free information and help service in the form of comprehensive web content, info days and one-on-one advice by phone, email and in person.


Vademecum

The University of Basel Student Union (Skuba), in cooperation with the Assistant's Association (Avuba), has put together an interesting and enlightening guide, or vademecum, covering everything about life at the university as well as the many minor aspects of daily life. The guide is cherished as a useful piece of reading by both students and staff alike.

The guide is based on insider knowledge from students and other university insiders going back many generations, making it an indispensable resource. It is written in simple language with brief chapters covering important information and lesser known facts from A to Z (in German and English).


Scholarship & Financial aspects

Living costs in Switzerland are some of the highest internationally compared. It is therefore strongly recommended to set-up a budget before your move to Switzerland in order to estimate the future costs realistically. Especially budget items for obligatory insurances should be taken into account! The Social Counseling Service for students (Sozialberatung) offers for this purpose budget samples, which provide good orientation when creating your own budget. Check also the Uni Guide for precious information in this respect. The Sozialberatung of the University of Basel supports students on-site in terms of questions related to budget planning and saving potential.

There are many foundations and trusts in Switzerland supporting students, however they are mostly accessible to Swiss nationals or students with a Swiss school education only. Thus, for those focusing on a scholarship for studying in Switzerland it is strongly recommended to screen already in the home country any potential national and international scholarship opportunities. Also, the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS) awards scholarships to international students. Do not rely on finding hopefully a scholarship once installed in Switzerland; immigration authorities request in many cases a proof of (substantial) financial means before issuing visa for education/study purposes.

Besides comprehensive budget planning and scholarship research a side job is a vital aspect for many students – might it be for the own subsistence or for gaining practical experience. It is therefor important to know, that the access to the Swiss labour market is regulated and can be even for students of a Swiss university challenged by admission restrictions. Depending on the citizenship there are working restrictions for nationals of non-EU/non-EFTA countries or waiting times of a few months, until work is permitted. Hence, it is recommended to clarify this item at an early stage. If there are no obstacles (any longer), you could find e.g. with the vacancies on the Uni Marketplace a side job as student.

Once all aspects are clarified and settled – budget planning, scholarship screening and work restrictions (side job)  – and the University counseling services identified, you can be sure of not getting bothered by financial surprises > enjoy your studies instead!


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