While languages like Spanish and English are commonly associated with multiple countries, it's easy to forget that there are countries other than Germany that speak German. When considering where to learn German, add Switzerland to your list.

The majority, but not all, of Switzerland speaks German among other languages. Especially in the big cities, you'll find cultural and linguistic diversity that's unique to Switzerland. Most locals are bilingual, many speak three languages, and some speak four. So not only will you be exposed to German, but also English, French, Italian, and other local dialects.

You can expect to meet an eclectic mix of locals, expats, tourists, and a large population of international students too. Other striking features of Switzerland include the mountains, the cleanliness, the art, architecture, and of course the chocolate.

Course Types

The areas of Switzerland that speak German offer a variety of classes to help expats, visitors, and all types of students learn German. For students interested in a slower pace over a longer period of time, there are part-time or evening classes. These can range in level and intensity, but most websites do a good job of indicating how demanding the course will be.

Many of the intensive options will last two weeks and are fairly direct. In other words, the main purpose of those two weeks is two learn German rather than sightseeing. Although, when you are learning a language abroad, the two are generally intertwined.

You might find courses that are specific to your profession or interests. Business is a popular example but there are also German language classes with a focus on cooking or skiing.

There are summer camps for elementary through college-age students. There will also be classes throughout the year for students of any age. You'll be able to choose whether you want to learn as part of one of these larger groups, in a small group, or with a private tutor.

Some courses allow you to enhance your studies online by getting an early start or continuing after the in-person program ends. Of course, this could be done from anywhere in the world.

Although Switzerland is not the most popular European study abroad location for U.S. citizens, there are plenty of organizations who offer summer, semester, and year-long study abroad options at some of the continent's best universities. If you prefer a longer stay, you can take your pick of any Swiss university and enroll directly.

Why Learn German Abroad

Learning a new language is no easy task. And while apps and online classes are great ways to get started or to keep your vocabulary fresh, there's no substitute for immersing yourself in the language by learning it abroad. Even if you are only able to go for a couple of weeks, your language skills will improve and your motivation to learn will rise.

Several countries speak German as their primary language. You can read more about them all in this Go Overseas guide to learning German abroad. However, if you are looking for the most unique option, Switzerland is a great choice. Not only will you hear multiple languages, you will also hear multiple dialects. This might seem more difficult at first, but it will help you understand German no matter who is speaking it.

Choosing to learn German in Switzerland also means you'll be in good hands. There is a high level of importance placed on education in Switzerland, specifically on international studies.

Qualifications

For an introductory German class in Switzerland, the qualifications will be minimal. Some programs offer a pre-test so you can be placed in the appropriate level. There will be an application process of some sort and possibly a short essay question. Short, intensive classes will also probably have a minimum age requirement of 16 years.

If you are enrolling in college-level classes, whether through study abroad, or direct enrollment, you will need to meet the requirements set by the Swiss university. These will be language and/or educational standards.

Popular Locations to Learn German in Switzerland

As Switzerland's biggest city, Zurich is the most popular Swiss location to learn German. A city of finance, science, and culture, Zurich is centrally located for easy access to surrounding cities and countries. The mix of traditional and modern shows up in the food, the people, and the entertainment.

Other options for learning German in Switzerland include Bern, Basel, and Lucerne. After that, the classes will still be available but course types become more limited. Bern is a thriving university city with students and citizens from around the world. Be sure to check out the Bern bears!

Basel known for its museums, classical music, green parks, and honey cakes. It's located right on the border of France and Germany.

From old churches to car-free areas, Lucerne is filled with medieval charm. Located in central Switzerland, you'll be in a good spot for visiting neighboring Swiss cities. No matter where you choose to stay, public transportation in Switzerland is top notch, giving you opportunities to travel as much as you like.

Choosing a German Learning Program in Switzerland

There are several questions you can ask yourself that will help you narrow down your options. What's my budget? How much time can I spend in Switzerland? How important is one-on-one instruction to me?

The least expensive way to learn any language abroad is usually to do so in a larger group for a shorter period of time. The most expensive way is to learn from a private tutor. Staying with a host family will help save money and gives you the opportunity to practice German all day.

Other factors to consider are the extras that are included in the cost of the program. Many will have planned activities or outings that can bond the group and let you put your skills to the test.

If you're already in Switzerland for any reason, and are now looking at taking German language courses, you might ask about sitting in on a class that's already in progress to see if it's a good fit for you.

If you don't have the luxury of testing out a class, reading reviews is a great way to get a feel for the type of instruction and the overall feel of the program.

Cultural Immersion in Switzerland

The political, artistic, culinary, and scientific history of Switzerland has produced an eclectic culture that has so much to offer its visitors.

The mountainous landscape provides fantastic and one of a kind outdoor activities including skiing, hiking, and water sports.

If you are more comfortable indoors, you won't be disappointed. There are ample options for historical and artistic museums, tasting and touring, and entertainment. And you won't have to enjoy these outings on your own as the locals are kind and welcoming to international students.

Popular Locations to Learn German in Switzerland

As Switzerland's biggest city, Zurich is the most popular Swiss location to learn German. A city of finance, science, and culture, Zurich is centrally located for easy access to surrounding cities and countries. The mix of traditional and modern shows up in the food, the people, and the entertainment.

Other options for learning German in Switzerland include Bern, Basel, and Lucerne. After that, the classes will still be available but course types become more limited. Bern is a thriving university city with students and citizens from around the world. Be sure to check out the Bern bears!

Basel known for its museums, classical music, green parks, and honey cakes. It's located right on the border of France and Germany.

From old churches to car-free areas, Lucerne is filled with medieval charm. Located in central Switzerland, you'll be in a good spot for visiting neighboring Swiss cities. No matter where you choose to stay, public transportation in Switzerland is top notch, giving you opportunities to travel as much as you like.

Choosing a German Learning Program in Switzerland

There are several questions you can ask yourself that will help you narrow down your options. What's my budget? How much time can I spend in Switzerland? How important is one-on-one instruction to me?

The least expensive way to learn any language abroad is usually to do so in a larger group for a shorter period of time. The most expensive way is to learn from a private tutor. Staying with a host family will help save money and gives you the opportunity to practice German all day.

Other factors to consider are the extras that are included in the cost of the program. Many will have planned activities or outings that can bond the group and let you put your skills to the test.

If you're already in Switzerland for any reason, and are now looking at taking German language courses, you might ask about sitting in on a class that's already in progress to see if it's a good fit for you.

If you don't have the luxury of testing out a class, reading reviews is a great way to get a feel for the type of instruction and the overall feel of the program.

Cultural Immersion in Switzerland

The political, artistic, culinary, and scientific history of Switzerland has produced an eclectic culture that has so much to offer its visitors.

The mountainous landscape provides fantastic and one of a kind outdoor activities including skiing, hiking, and water sports.

If you are more comfortable indoors, you won't be disappointed. There are ample options for historical and artistic museums, tasting and touring, and entertainment. And you won't have to enjoy these outings on your own as the locals are kind and welcoming to international students.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3
LSI - Language Studies International
0 reviews
Switzerland

The Location
Zurich is ideally situated at the heart of Europe. The city’s picturesque historic...