25 Things You Did Not Know About Studying In Switzerland
Switzerland is a landlocked mountainous European country best known for its tourist attractions and luxury goods. However, what’s lesser known is the prestigious position the Swiss university system holds in the world. With several top-ranked universities, the Swiss higher education system offers students the opportunity to take their education and future careers further.
If you are looking to further your studies in the calm and serene European nation, this post is for you. Here are the 25 things you probably did not know about studying in Switzerland.
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- Switzerland is a beautiful country
Switzerland is without a doubt a beautiful country and one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Every year thousands of tourists visit this country from around the world. You will get the best of education at one of the world’s best study abroad destination while you also get to live in one of the most astonishing countries in Europe.
- Top class universities
Switzerland has 12 universities in total out of which 11 are in the top 500 universities globally; a remarkable feat for such a small country. The highest-ranking university in Switzerland is ETH Zurich, which is ranked at number 13 in the world.
- Tuition fees are comparatively low
Whether you choose a public or private university, your tuition fees will be around the same amount. Switzerland has one of the cheapest tuition fees in the developed world due to government subsidies on education. On average expect to pay around $990-$1800 on tuition in Switzerland. Tuition fees at the country’s best university, ETH Zurich cost an average of $1700 per academic year. Disciplines like Medicine may have higher fees, where students can be charged up to $17,600/year
- Experience incredible diversity
Switzerland maybe one of the smallest countries in Europe, but it is also one of the most diverse locally. Consisting of 26 federal states with four national languages, the Swiss population is both diverse and rich in culture. International students can experience Switzerland in the way that suits them best.
- Accommodation costs are almost five times your tuition fee
Welcome to Switzerland! Government doesn’t subsidize this part, so expect to pay quite a lot on housing. Of the total expenses by international students in Switzerland, accommodation costs alone account for about 33% of expenditure. It all boils down to which city you reside in, but on average accommodation costs about $7,000 a year.
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- Cost of living is relatively high
Accommodation may make a huge impact on your budget, but it doesn’t end their. Food, transportation and other utility costs in Switzerland will set you back by around $1,600-$2,800 a month.
- Health insurance in required
Health insurance is compulsory for all students intending to stay in Switzerland for more than three months. But for EU students, basic medical care is available using the European Health Insurance Card.
- Switzerland’s best university has produced over 20 Nobel Laureates
ETH Zurich was established in 1855 as the Federal Polytechnic School and has since become one of the world’s most prestigious science and technology universities. The university has produced over 20 Nobel Prize Laureates, including Albert Einstein – one of the most influential and well-known scientists of modern times.
- The Swiss lead the way in innovation
Switzerland is consistently ranked as one of the most innovative and competitive economies in the world. This is made possible thanks to the universities’ cutting-edge research and considerable investments by the public and private sectors. Swiss researchers continue to produce a high number of scientific papers with considerable impact in their respective disciplines.
- Courses in English are mostly at postgraduate level
Switzerland may not be the ideal place to study for an undergraduate degree in English as there are few universities offering that. Most courses are taught in German or French. This is different at postgraduate level where a good number of courses are taught in English.
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- Scholarships are available to help with costs
In Switzerland, international students can get scholarships offered by the Swiss government, based on partnerships established with the students home countries. Most of these scholarships are granted to postgraduate candidates and researchers. Swiss universities also offer scholarships students. Swiss Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Students, ETH Excellence Scholarships are just some of them. See link in the description for scholarships in Switzerland.
- There are restrictions on work-study options
International students are allowed to work part time in Switzerland but only for a maximum of 15 hours per week. This however changes during semester holidays as students are allowed to work full time.
- High quality of life
Swiss cities continuously get ranked among the best cities in the world for quality of life. Although it can be a very expensive place to live, the wages are high and the crime rate is low, making the major cities some of the happiest cities in Europe. Switzerland has an excellent transportation network, beautiful lakes and Alps and other delights the country has to offer.
- Swiss cities are ghost towns on Sundays
Swiss cities can be like ghost towns on Sundays. With minimal activities, it’s far better to live like the Swiss and escape to the mountains and lakes to hike (which is the Swiss national sport), swim and soak up the glorious scenery. Do not complain of boredom if you decide to stay home on Sundays.
- There are two intakes in a year
There are no definite intakes to study in Switzerland. However, Universities in Switzerland follow mostly two intakes: Autumn or Fall Intake, and Spring Intake. The Fall intake is for September to February while The Spring intake to Study in Switzerland is for February to June.
- International students make up 21% of total students population
International students in Switzerland account for 21% of the total student’s population at 38,000 students. Most students come from neighboring countries like Germany and France.
- Switzerland is dotted with beautiful landscapes
For such a small country, Switzerland is spoiled by its spectacular natural scenery. In almost any part of the country, you’ll be treated to views that will take your breath away, and leave a lasting memory. All around the country, there are Alps, lakes, forests and resorts to make any international student feel at ease with nature.
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- Laws are strictly enforced
The Swiss are very principled and live by their rules. Breaking simple rules like crossing the road on a red light or littering the streets can get you vicious reprimands or fines. Do well to live within the rules.
- Swiss Universities are in three categories
There are three types of universities in Switzerland. The Universities, which offer degree programmes in humanities, science and some engineering fields. Universities of Applied Sciences and the Arts which provide courses in landscape architecture, health sciences, music, art, theatre, film and design. The Universities of Teacher Education, which offer practical training in pre-primary, primary, secondary and special needs education.
- Your student visa gives you an opportunity to explore Europe
Although Switzerland has enough landscapes and places to keep you busy for the duration of your study, you may want to explore Europe if you can. As signatory to the Schengen agreement, a Swiss passport allows you travel and stay for up to three months in 25 European countries.
- The Swiss are welcoming
There would be language barriers if you cannot speak any of the local languages but generally, the Swiss are welcoming and help in any way they can.
- Many international organizations are based in Switzerland
Organizations like the WHO, Red Cross, International Bureau of Education, International Electrotechnical Commission, UNHCR are just some of the organization based in the country.
- Switzerland has four national languages
German, French, Italian and Romansh. All but Romansh maintain equal status as official languages at the national level within the Federal Administration of the Swiss Confederation. You don’t have to learn all four, just learn the basics of the one spoken in your city of study to help you get around easily.
- The Swiss love chocolate
Switzerland was the leading country in chocolate consumption per capita in 2017, with citizens eating nearly nine kilos of the sweet stuff in that year. World renowned for the chocolate they produce, it seems the Swiss themselves can’t get enough of the candy. You will love it too, but watch your bank account as you do.
- The weather is not too friendly
The weather in Switzerland largely depends on when you arrive and where you go. The weather varies due to altitude differences. If you will be studying in the mountainous regions of the countries expect to experience frigid temperatures for most of the year. Other areas of the country are less cold but have blankets of snow all the same. So bring along all the sweaters and cardigans you can get.
There you have it. 25 things you needed to know about studying in Switzerland. Would you like to study in Switzerland? Or do you have experience studying in this country? Tell us about it in the comments section below. If you are yet to subscribe to After School Africa channel, now is a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!