The use of English is on the rise in Switzerland. Many of us use it in our daily lives, and many native English speakers live here too. That is why we at the Volkshochschule have decided to offer a small number of courses in English. Of course there is no proper translation for the word Volkshochschule – but «Open University» comes pretty close. Come and think in English!


Dr. Lucy R. Peter

Thomas Hardy „The Mayor of Casterbridge“

  • Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 – April 2, 2019, 16:00 – 17:30, Haus Bärengasse.

We are going to read, interpret and discuss a fascinating, gripping novel of great English literature. This great novelist tells a sombre tale, unfolding relentlessly, no less universal and thunderous than the classic Greek dramas.



Michael Roth

„Philosophy in English. An Introduction to Ethics“

  • Tuesday, Oct. 23 – Nov. 20, 2018, 19:00 – 20:30, Haus Bärengasse.

Portrait: John Locke (1632–1704)

Ethics helps us to decide rationally about right and wrong, both on a personal and a social level. After looking at how the ancient world approached ethical issues, we will focus on how English language philosophers have contributed to more recent debates.

Participants do not need to be fluent in spoken English, but an ability to read short texts in English is expected.


John Potts

„Two novels by Graham Greene“

  • Tuesday, Oct. 30 – Dec. 11, 2018, 19:00 – 20:30, University of Zurich, main building


Graham Greene has been described as „in a class by himself…the ultimate chronicler of twentieth century consciousness and anxiety“ while also writing funny and satirical lighter fiction that he once described as „entertainments“ as opposed to serious „novels“. We shall read one of each: „Our Man in Havana“ and „The End of the Affair“. If time permits, we shall watch the film version of the latter.



Prof. Dr. Davide Scaramuzza

„Autonomous Flying: Artificial Intelligence Takes off“

  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, 19:30 – 20:45, University of Zurich, central building

The talk provides an insight into the fundamental building blocks of mobile robots and in the discussion about the open research challenges, especially on autonomous drones and the role they will play one day in search-and-rescue and remote-inspection missions where a fast response is crucial. Indeed, agile navigation through unknown, indoor environments poses a number of challenges for robotics research in terms of localization, mapping, obstacle detection, navigation and control.