Welcome package for international PhDs/scholars

Well-designed, clearly structured and regularly updated bilingual PDF document that serves for orientation and support of international PhD students and staff.

It is also useful to have the Welcome Pack downloadable from the website which international PhDs/visiting scholars use to get informed about their stay and activities at your university.

The package should contain:

  • Guide on the organisation administrative procedures,

  • Cultural guide/information leaflet about the city,

  • Contact details for the services offered by the hosting institution to the international researchers prior to or on the day of their arrival.

By providing such a pack the institution ensures that the incoming researcher/PhD student will be able to:

  • understand better the hosting organisation's culture,

  • understand better the local culture,

  • avoid potential misunderstandings.


Improved access to information Better communication and cooperation Improved quality of service

Basic information
Categories Social Integration & Daily Life Language Support, Language Policy Family Matters Profesional & Academic Development Networking Social security, Health Insurance, Taxation
Mobility stages Upon arrival
Delivery schedule Once an academic year
Importance Essential to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups PhD student/Early career researcher R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)
Types of contracts of researchers Full degree student Permanent employee Visiting scholar Employee in training (interns, research fellows, postdocs)
Career stages of researchers Less than 6 months 6-12-months of experience 1-3-years of experience 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience
Lengths of stays of researchers 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months
Practice setup

  • Appoint the persons responsible for designing the Welcome Pack.

  • Make sure the Welcome Pack is written and it contains all relevant data like addresses of departments and or external institutions, phone numbers, etc.

  • Plan how you are going to distribute it (i.e. via email, as a document downloadable from a dedicated website, or as a printed brochure).

  • Appoint people in your organisation who can provide administrative and academic support to international PhDs/visiting scholars. Make sure these people are well acquainted with the relevant procedures and processes. For instance, administrative staff members need to know in detail all steps for visa supporting issues, internal administrative steps for accepting a foreign PhD student or researcher, etc. An academic mentor needs to know all academic procedures to support faster integration of the foreign researcher, the steps of the mentoring process, etc.

  • Establish contact with external partners and plan what kind of support they will provide. These partners might be tax office, immigration office, local school or kindergartens (for children), HR agencies (for spouse job support), etc.

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • HR Department
Partners involved in practice setup
  • Language centre
  • Real estate agent
  • Immigration office
  • Tax office
  • Medical centre
  • EURAXESS centre
  • Eures office
  • Job platform
  • Employer (with high demand of international staff)
  • Employers association
  • Local school/pre-school facility
  • Official sworn translators
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • Process organization developed

@All External partners could provide you with relevant and up-to-date information to be added to the Welcome Pack. It is also practical to use the opportunity and set up with them good communication and cooperation for further support for foreign PhD students, academics and researchers.

Practice delivery

  • Collect needed data, documents, and links

  • Describe procedures and processes like administrative steps (filling in and submission of forms), mentorship steps, application for kindergarten, etc.

  • Create easy-to-follow instructions and advice to illustrate the above (short video tutorials might be useful).

  • Design and format all in one document.

  • Translate in English.

  • Update regularly.

  • Have the document ready for distribution according to the chosen format.

Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Legal department
  • Centre of language/studies preparation
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • Language centre
  • Real estate agent
  • Tax office
  • Medical centre
  • EURAXESS centre
  • Immigration office
  • Eures office
  • Job platform
  • Employer (with high demand of international staff)
  • Employers association
  • Local school/pre-school facility
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Percentage of all relevant documents translated to English
  • Procedures or bylaws are defined or updated

External partners will be asked to

  • provide data, documents and links

  • check the created Welcome Pack for mistakes or missing information

  • contribute to the existing Welcome Pack with the updates (at least once a year).

Examples of practice

The practical guide for international doctoral students - prepare for your stay and get settled

The guide provides an overview of all the steps to go through from the moment of getting into ar research unit through to completing your administrative enrollment at the Doctoral College, which will officially confirm the beginning of PhD study.


Welcome Guide for International PhD students and researchers

The guide on the procedures to be followed before your arrival, during your stay and at the end of your stay, explained in a simple and practical way, suggestions and advices to facilitate your integration in France and at the University, information about the PhD and research activities at the University of Paris-Saclay, which will help you understand this new and rich environment.


Welcome Package

The welcome package contains a summary of the most important information for new employees at UZH and introduces the University of Zurich as an employer.