Programs to study abroad in Switzerland enable you to learn in some of the world’s top ranked universities, while experiencing life at the heart of Europe. With a solid reputation for promoting scientific research, a rich cultural history, and some of the most beautiful vistas in Europe, it’s no wonder Switzerland is such an attractive option. And that’s not all that makes Switzerland unique. They also have one of the most competitive economies in the world, particularly in the sciences and manufacturing This could make Switzerland a great choice if you want to learn from professionals with world class experience. Whether you’re looking for a short stay between semesters, or to stay for a whole year, your experience as you study abroad in Switzerland could be unforgettable.
Why Study Abroad in Switzerland?
There could be a ton of compelling reasons to study abroad in Switzerland. Whether you’re more motivated by your studies, language, or travel, Switzerland could have something to offer. Here are a few reasons to consider studying abroad in Switzerland.
- The Education: Despite being a relatively small country, Swiss universities have been known to rank among the best in the world. There could be a lot of reasons for this. But just one of them? The opportunities for research. One example: Switzerland is the home of CERN, the world’s largest particle physics research facility. Switzerland has also been the home of many Nobel Prize winning researchers. So if you want to learn from the best, universities in Switzerland could be a top contender. Look for programs with courses in your major. Or explore something completely new!
- The Location: Of course, one big reason to study abroad is the chance to travel. Switzerland is located at the heart of Western Europe. It's a fascinating travel destination in itself, with its beautiful cities and the Swiss Alps. But it’s also in a great spot to facilitate further exploration, sharing borders with Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and Lichtenstein.
- The Languages: Passionate about communication? Switzerland has not one but four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Of these, German is probably the most prominent. What’s more, a good portion of Swiss families say that they speak multiple languages at home. Because of the variety of languages spoken, Switzerland could be a solid choice for students of a variety of European languages.
- Quality of Life: Switzerland is known for its high quality of life among its citizens. Part of this is due to their economy, but other contributing factors include their healthcare, and cultural values of human development, civil liberties, and government transparency. Not to mention the chocolate.
Types of Study Abroad Programs in Switzerland
Different students have different needs when it comes to studying abroad. Influencing factors could be anything from how study abroad fits into your curriculum back home, to personal preferences, to the cost of your stay. Luckily, a variety of durations, seasons, and timing options to study abroad in Switzerland may be available.
Potential options include the following.
- Academic Year & Year Round Programs
- Spring Semester
- Fall Semester
- Summer Programs
- Maymester Intersession
- Winter Semester
- Spring Break
- Rolling Starts
Not sure which option is best for you? Follow up with your school back home to identify what might fit best into your education plan and required courses. You might even be able to attend a program whose credits could help you continue working toward your major! If you’re concerned about funding, ask your school or the programs you’re considering for guidance about any available grants or scholarships. Or check out our scholarship directory! Also, remember that each study abroad program may have unique options and restrictions in terms of scheduling or duration, so be sure to follow up with them with your questions.
Study Abroad in an Exciting Swiss City!
You might know you want to study abroad in Switzerland. But where? Some students may already have a clear picture of this. Maybe they want to study in a certain university, or see specific landmarks. But if you’re just getting started, it might seem like a big decision. Here are some Swiss cities you might find yourself living, working and studying in during your semester abroad.
- Geneva: Known to be an international city, Geneva is not only a center of arts and culture in Switzerland, but also international politics. More than 200 governmental, political, and social organizations make their home here. That includes organizations from the United Nations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
- Bern: Not only is this the capital of Switzerland—and thus a great place to see what Swiss politics are like—but it’s also a beautiful city. It stands along the shores of the Aare River, and boasts a fun night life for residents to enjoy.
- Fribourg: A uniquely multilingual locale, this university city is divided down the middle by the Sarine river. In the west, residents speak predominantly French, and in the East, German! Fribourg also boasts beautiful and well-preserved architecture, museums, and scenery.
- Interlaken: Live a more active life? Interlaken stands between two lakes and nearby the Bernese Alps. As such, it is a destination for outdoor and adventure sports, with opportunities to hike, go white water rafting, and more.
- Lausanne: If you’re the culinary type, Lausanne might be a safe bet. Located in Swiss wine country along Lake Geneva, Lausanne could be a great place to study if you want to spend your free time exploring Swiss cuisine, tasting local wine, and taking in the view of the Alps by the lake.
- Lugano: Located in the South, Lugano is a predominantly Italian-speaking city. Here, you might enjoy a Mediterranean climate, Italian-influenced culture, beautiful forests and mountains, and more.
- Luzern: Want to live someplace with history? Luzern (also spelled Lucerne) is a medieval city in the central region of Switzerland. With historic sights, the nearby mountains, not to mention its many festivals, you could find a ton to do here. If you’re there in the winter, you could explore the ethnic carnival Lozärner Fasnacht, and in the summer, a series of renowned music festivals.
- Montreux: If you’re a music fan, you probably know Montreux from their famous Jazz Festival, where you could catch world famous rock acts alongside famous jazz musicians. That’s only one reason to come here, though. There’s also great hiking, and accessible flight and rail service to enable travel to other regions.
- Zurich: The largest city in Switzerland, Zurich is also something of a tourist mecca. It’s a center of international banking, the home of a variety of international corporations, and an arts and culture hot spot. Whether you prefer opera, the theater, music, art, restaurants, or the night life, studying in Zurich, you won’t run out of things to do in your free time.
That may seem like a lot of options, but it’s only the start! You might find program in any number of locales not listed here. Some programs may even help you explore multiple regions before you leave, with short stays in a variety of cities. For more information about where you might live, study and work, and what you might find there, reach out to the program you’re thinking of attending.
Travel Tips to Study Abroad in Switzerland
Excited about your potential trip to study in Switzerland? Start preparing early to make that transition as seamless as possible and to eliminate any unnecessary difficulty once you get there. That way, you can spend more time and energy getting to know your temporary home! Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- How much will it cost?
The cost of living in Switzerland can be somewhat high. The tradeoff, of course is that so is the quality of life. As a student, though, you might be on a tight budget, especially if you want to travel. Make sure you’re familiar with what is and is not included in the cost of your program. For example, do they cover housing? Food? Excursions? They might be able to offer advice on how much money to set aside for spending during your stay.
- What do you want to study?
A big part of studying abroad is, of course, the studying. In some cases, your selected major might be a big influence on where you choose to study abroad in Switzerland. For example, it could impact the city you choose, which Switzerland universities you’d like to attend, and the kinds of opportunities you look for in your program of choice.
- What about the language?
Exploring a new country, communication is key. You might not need to speak another language to study abroad—you might be able to take classes in English and socialize with English-speaking student travelers, for example—but what about in your free time? Especially if you’re itching to work on your language skills, staying in a region that speaks the language you want to learn could be an asset in your Swiss study abroad experience.
- Where do you want to travel?
Of course, travel is the top reason to study abroad for many students—and a great reason to choose Switzerland to do it! Think about what you most want to see. Staying in a city that makes it easy to get where you want to go (for example, close to the border of another country you’d like to visit, like France or Germany) could be an advantage.
Find Programs to Study Abroad in Switzerland
Ready to seize your Study Abroad Switzerland opportunity? StudyAbroad.com has collected a number of programs to help you get the process started. If you already know what you’d like to study, how long you want to stay, or what city you’d like to live in, use the menu to choose those options. Then review the sponsored study abroad program listings and find the ones that sound good to you! Click on the program names to read more and get in touch.