Post-PhD travels

Nudged by my partner, I am taking the opportunity to take some time out after my PhD and travel (of course together with my partner ;-)). Whether I look for a job directly after my PhD or 6 months later doesn‘t matter that much (hopefully). So we came up with some areas of the world we’d like to visit, including the following countries: New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Before setting off, I gathered some basic numbers about these countries, and compared them to my home country Switzerland, or to Germany, where I have been living for the duration of my PhD. I do not attach particular significance to these indicators, but collected them to increase my sense of anticipation, and to know something more concrete than ‚I‘ll be travelling to a huge country very far away‘. Sharing these numbers with you hopefully rouses your curiosity too! So here we go, concentrating on the countries we visited first, and looking simply at the area and population size of each country.

– New Zealand is approximately 6.5 times larger than Switzerland, but has fewer inhabitants (and way more sheep).

– Singapore is even 372 times smaller than New Zealand but has more inhabitants.

– Australia is 186 (!) times larger than Switzerland (or 22 times larger than Germany) but has only 3 times as many inhabitants. Makes for quite a lot lower population density!

– Speaking of population density: Of the countries discussed here, it is of course highest in Singapore (7800 people per square kilometre), and lowest for Australia (3 people per square kilometre). New Zealand also has a pretty low population density (18); Switzerland (203) and Germany (230) are pretty similar.

In case you want to check for yourself, here are the numbers:



New Zealand



Area (km2)












Source: Wikipedia. All indicators calculated above are approximate.

Voilà. After visiting these countries, I‘d like to go beyond such basic figures and look at numbers that might tell us more about the people and how they live – but that is for a later post.

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