Study Abroad in Switzerland

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Switzerland, die Schwiez, La Suisse or Svizzzera; however you call it, snow-covered Alpine peaks, geopolitical neutrality, high-tech watches, gourmet chocolate, yodeling mountaineers, and sophisticated banking are the Switzerland you know. However, Swiss institutions offer exciting academic and extracurricular opportunities to immerse yourself in the dynamic, youthful, and high-tech Switzerland that you have yet to discover.

Photo Credit: Olivier Miche.

Zurich

German-speaking Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland, sitting directly on Lake Zürich, and with large and efficient public transportation systems to get you wherever you need to go. Along with Bern, Zurich is a leading global city and among the world’s largest financial centers, with a very high quality of life. Stroll down the famous Bahnhofstrasse, visit the Zurich Museum of Art, the Chinese Garden, or any number of Zürich's festivals and parades year-round. Picture yourself in Zurich!

University of Zürich – Study in one of the world's most prestigious institutions in fields such as economics, humanities, law and the sciences. The largest university in Switzerland offers its 24,000 students more than 100 different degree programs and over 3,000 combinations of disciplines in seven faculties. Two thousand lecturers in 140 institutes provide the broadest range of subjects and courses available at any Swiss institution of higher education. Nine museums and collections, covering subjects from anthropology to zoology, constitute another valuable academic resource.

Bern

Study economics, politics, and the humanities in the exciting Swiss capital of Bern, where many international businesses and companies have made their home! This fourth most populous city in Switzerland offers both modern advances and opportunities for growth, surrounded by the natural beauty that Switzerland is known for. In 1983 the historic old town in the center of Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Bern is ranked among the world’s top ten cities for the best quality of life. Come find out why!

University of Bern – The university enjoys excellent teaching quality and an intimate campus environment. It hosts two Centers of Competence in "Climate Science" and the National Center of Competence "North South" works on Governance and Conflict, Health and Sustainability. Bern's 14,000+ students can choose from 8 faculties and some 160 institutes. Research is also strong in Computer Science and Space Research. Theatre Studies are based in Bern uniquely. In 2008, the Humanities faculty founded the Center for Cultural Studies, Center for Global Studies and Center for the Study of Language and Society. Also enjoy modern sports facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, interior courts for volleyball, basketball, and other team sports.

Fribourg

Having official languages of both French and German, this central city is an exciting place to study pluralism and the effects of a bi-lingual society! Fribourg is nestled at the foot of the pre-Alps and like its sister city, Bern, Fribourg has preserved its medieval center. Students are invited to stroll the winding streets and visit any one of Fribourg's unique and diverse museums, theaters or its international film festival. Those interested in ice hockey or basketball will especially be attracted to the sports that the city has to offer!

Université de Fribourg - Fribourg is the only university in Western Europe that has instruction in both French and German. Total enrollment is 10,000 with about 1,500 international students. Fribourg is very strong in law, philosophy, and theology, emphasizing European law, comparative religions, and philosophies. Courses are often highly structured. Also of note are Fribourg’s Institute of Medieval Studies, the Institute of Eastern and Central Europe, the Federalism Institute, the Institute of Counseling in Family Matters, the Institute of Ethics and Human Rights, and the Institute of Sports.

When choosing a program, it's best to know what's out there (e.g. which programs offer courses in English, which programs take a hands-on approach to learning, etc.) Language, Academic Life, and Cultural Immersion are three areas with which any Swiss study abroad student should familiarize themselves.

Language: If asked what Switzerland's official language is, many would respond: French. However, they would only be partially correct. In fact, Sweden has four official languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansch. To accommodate such diversity, there are a variety of programs. Some focus strictly on intensive language study (ie: Learn French in Switzerland). Others offer general courses in one of the four official languages and in english; SIT's Global Health and Development program is one such program.

Academic Life: There are 12 recognized universities awarding doctorate degrees in Switzerland. Two of the 12 universities are Federal Institutes of Technology. About 100,000 students attend these academic institutions; 21% are international students (one of the highest percentages of foreign university students in the world for one country). Though a number of variations exist, most universities consist of the following faculties: theology, law and social sciences, arts, natural sciences, and medicine. In addition to the 12 universities mentioned above, there are also 9 universities of applied sciences, 14 universities of teacher education, and several university institutes receiving financial support from the Swiss Confederation.

Immersion and cultural activities: Although you might not live on campus, you will have opportunities to meet Swiss students as well as other international students. Almost all universities have sports grounds and sports associations. At each institution, you will find a number of different clubs and activity groups that provide a good opportunity for you to meet people and to do things that you enjoy. Even if you are not a "joiner" and clubs do not particularly appeal to you, you should nevertheless get involved in things that interest you. The Associations d'Étudiants, Fédérations des associations d'étudiants and Sociétés d'étudiants are organized according to the particular faculté under which you are studying.

Scholarships are great for overcoming the financial hurdle that sometimes accompanies study abroad adventures. Thankfully, there are government, independent program, and college scholarships from which to choose. Here are but a few of the options out there.

Contributed by Alissa Kramer

Showing 45 Programs

Switzerland

AIFS Study Abroad
If you can’t decide on one location to study in this summer, maybe you’d like to go to six or seven? Spend 4 weeks studying E...

Switzerland

AIFS Study Abroad
If you can’t decide on one location to study in this summer, maybe you’d like to go to seven! Spend 4 weeks studying European...

Switzerland

Eurocentres
Study French abroad this year in Lausanne, Switzerland with Eurocentres! Potential students can choose which option is best f...

Netherlands

Forum-nexus Study Abroad
Curriculum Highlights: Multi-country summer program in Europe: Earn 8 credits in the summer while studying in 9 amazing Europ...

United Kingdom

International Business Seminars
Visit 6 countries in 22 days! Summer Europe is perfect for undergraduate and graduate students who are looking to gain intern...

Spain

Voyager Europe
There’s an entire world out there filled with culture, art and once in a life time experiences. An entire world of learning a...

Switzerland

Pepperdine University Study Abroad
Study abroad with Pepperdine University's Florence summer program in Italy. Take a variety of courses (minimum of 10 units) w...

Switzerland

University of Fribourg
Study in Fribourg, Switzerland with this American College sponsored program at the University of Fribourg. Fribourg is a well...

Switzerland

NRCSA
Is it time to start brushing up on your French language skills? Have you ever wanted to study a language abroad in Europe? Th...

Switzerland

Geneva Summer Schools
As of this year, the Department of French language and literature of the University of Geneva will hold an annual summer scho...

Switzerland

Hotel Institute Montreux
At Hotel Institute Montreux, you will learn traditional Swiss hospitality values combined with American business management s...

Switzerland

Geneva Summer Schools
The course is designed for graduate students and future policy-makers interested in thinking more critically about issues of...

Switzerland

Berkeley Study Abroad
As corporations have grown in influence, concerns over their impact on people and the planet have also grown – pushing sustai...

Switzerland

Les Roches International School of Hotel Management
The Bachelor Degree in International Hotel Management prepares students to enter the world of hospitality as leaders and mana...

Switzerland

IHTTI School of Hotel Management
The Master of International Business in Hotel and Design Management is designed for graduates who aim to advance their career...