The ultimate guide to study abroad in Switzerland

Welcome to Switzerland, one of the most beautiful and prosperous countries in the world. As an international student, you are about to embark on an exciting journey of learning and discovery, as you explore this fascinating country and immerse yourself in its unique culture and academic traditions. This study guide is designed to help you make the most of your time in Switzerland, by providing you with practical information, tips, and resources to help you navigate the challenges and opportunities of studying abroad. From finding accommodation and learning the local language to making friends and exploring the country’s many cultural and natural attractions, we will provide you with everything you need to know to make your study abroad experience in Switzerland a success. So, get ready to expand your horizons, challenge your assumptions, and embrace the adventure of a lifetime!

Why study abroad in Switzerland?

Switzerland has consistently ranked among the top 10 study abroad destinations in the world. The country prides over an advanced education system where students get all the chances they need to further their education and their future career. Along with several top-ranked universities globally, choosing to study in Switzerland may be just the next best idea you can come up with. Here are some of the main reasons why you should study abroad in Switzerland.

High quality education

The quality of the education system is one of the first factors to consider when choosing where to study. Switzerland’s reputation and its emphasis on quality for its higher education is well-known all over the world. The country therefore hosts some of the top universities in the world. It also turns out to be one of the best places to study business, medicine and hospitality abroad, among other specialties.

Along with these subjects, Switzerland also offers a wide range of study fields for you to choose. And along with the academic and professional skills you’ll acquire, you’ll also get an internationally recognized degree. That will open you the door to many career options anywhere in the world.

Exceptional standard of living

Next the quality of education comes the standard of living. Safe, clean, peaceful, and economically-developed, and forward-thinking are just some of the adjectives describing Switzerland. The country holds a level of efficiency in some of the key sectors of its economy. This includes the transportation system, making the country and the rest of Europe easily accessible.

The same goes to the healthcare system, which is well-developed enough for the majority of the people to have good health and sustain the economy. Unemployment, poverty and crime rates are also among the lowest in the world. This makes Switzerland not only a good study destination but also a great place to build a career after graduation.

The cultural diversity and international environment

Switzerland has 4 official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Being multilingual and diverse, international students make up around 25% of the student population of the country. Studying in Switzerland will expose you to different other cultures, traditions and languages. And it will also pave the road to grow your own social and professional network even during your studies.

You can read here how you can learn German in Switzerland.

General steps to follow to study abroad in Switzerland

Once you’ve made the decision to start your study abroad adventure in Switzerland, here are the steps to follow, from planning your study to get settled: 

1. Research universities

The first step is always to find a university that offers the degree program you are interested in. When researching, look at the admission criteria, the location of the university, the tuition fees, any available financial support among other important details.

Among the top universities in Switzerland that also rank among the best in the world, there are:

You can check these institutions’ details in our ranking of the best universities in Switzerland. We also have lists of the best Swiss business schools, medical schools and hospitality schools you can check out. 

2. Meet the admission requirements

The next step, once you’ve identified the universities you’re interested in, is to inquire about the admission criteria. This will help you make sure you meet the requirements for application and admission. Usually, it includes transcripts of your academic record, language proficiency test scores, letters of recommendation among others.

If you apply for a master’s degree program in Switzerland, you usually need to provide an undergraduate degree or equivalent. For a PhD in Switzerland, along with your master’s degree, the entry requirements include your academic CV, your references. You might as well provide a personal statement related to the research you plan to conduct. 

3. Apply to the university

For the application procedure to Swiss universities, you can check our guide on university application in Switzerland. Usually, it is pretty straightforward: you gather the documents, pay the application fee and upload everything before the deadline. To increase your chance of acceptance, it is advised to apply to more than universities: between 4 and 6 on average.

Of course, there’s no precise quota, but the number depends on your study goals. Also, check out how high is your chance to get acceptance. It usually depends on your GPA and the institution’s acceptation rate. Next is of course the cost of the program at each university. Last is to meet the deadline which can fall in the end of September, with early acceptance decisions falling in December. 

4. Apply for a student visa

Non-EU/EFTA students need to apply for a visa to study in Switzerland. They should do so at the Swiss embassy or consulate in their home country. Following the visa, the student needs to apply for a residence permit at the canton of their residence once they set foot in Switzerland. The general requirements for a student visa application include:

  • A letter of acceptance from a university in Switzerland
  • Proof of payment of the university fees
  • Evidence of financial means to support the student for the duration of their studies
  • A written commitment from the student stating they’ll leave Switzerland once they complete their studies

In some cases, the student may need to provide an academic CV. Also, Swiss authorities may also organize a language test to estimate the student’s proficiency and ability to follow their program’s lessons. 

5. Find accommodation

Once you get admission at a university in Switzerland, the next step to check off your list is to find a housing. Your options include: a room in a youth residence, renting a studio, staying with a Swiss family, flat-sharing and renting a private apartment.

Check all the benefits and the costs of each solution by checking our guide on student accommodation in Switzerland.

Keep just in mind that the availability as well as the rent depend on the type of housing, the city and the proximity of the place from the university.

6. Plan your finances

The last step while preparing to study abroad in Switzerland is to plan your finances carefully. As a matter of fact, studying abroad can be expensive and Switzerland is no exception. To help you create your budget, you can check out our overview of the living and study cost in Switzerland. The general rule is to include tuition fees, living expenses along with other important costs.

To fund your studies, look for scholarships and any opportunity to work and study.

7. Prepare for your trip

Before you embark on your flight to Switzerland, make sure to have all the necessary documents: passport, visa, health insurance, etc. As you plan your travel, make sure to arrive in time to attend orientation and the start of classes.  Once you arrive in Switzerland, attend orientation and get settled in. Explore the campus and the city, take time to meet other students. It’s also the right time to start immersing yourself in the Swiss culture and traditions.

About Herilalao

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