6 Reasons To Study in Switzerland
If you think that this country is way out of your league, this article is for you. Here, we’ll tell you how much it costs to study in Switzerland, why you should make a career here, and what life in the “Milka world” really is.
Affordable Quality Education
Sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. Studying in Switzerland is only expensive if you pick a private school or university. For example, a year of studying in an English-speaking bachelor’s program at the Swiss School of Hospitality would cost you CHF 34,730 (€ 32,427), and a year at the International University in Geneva (IUG) in a bachelor’s or a master’s degree is CHF 34,500 (€ 32,280) and CHF 36,400 (€ 33,980) respectively.
Both local and international students can afford to study at public universities. They are federally funded, so the study costs are covered by the state for the most part.
The prices are more than “friendly”. For example, a semester at the University of Genova costs CHF 500 (€ 470) or CHF 800 (€ 747) at the University of Lausanne. A year of study at ETH Zurich is CHF 1,298 (€ 1,211).
In Switzerland, one can get a scholarship from the state, a canton, a university, a fund, or a charitable trust. There are also scholarships available to international students as part of bilateral agreements between governments or private Swiss institutions.
Here are the most popular scholarships in Switzerland:
- The Swiss Excellence Scholarship for Foreign Students;
- The Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme (ESOP) by ETH Zurich;
- The University of Lausanne Masters Grant;
- The EPFL Excellence Fellowship;
- The Graduate Institute of Geneva Scholarships;
- The IMD MBA Scholarship;
- The University of Geneva Excellence Fellowship.
Perfect Place To Start a Career
Switzerland is a great destination for those pursuing an international career. The country boasts economic stability, and the unemployment rate of 4,3% (as of March 2020) is one of the lowest in the world.
In 2011, an amendment to the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals came into force that allows international students to stay in the country and keep looking for a job for six months after graduation.
According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, the number of foreigners in the Swiss labor market increased by 1.7 million between the end of 2014 and the end of 2019. The number of international employees was over 9%, which is five times the growth rate of workers with Swiss citizenship. Overall, the study showed that 20 percent of Switzerland's 8.5 million inhabitants were foreigners.
This small country enjoys a large number of highly qualified employees in various fields, like micro- and biotechnology, for example. The industry is also very advanced here. Half of all export earnings come from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and the chemical industry. Besides, Switzerland is one of the world’s leading financial centers.
Qualified specialists can find jobs in engineering and technology, pharmaceuticals, consulting, banking, insurance, and IT. Financial, business, and systems analysts are highly demanded now.
Switzerland is home to the headquarters of fifteen major Fortune 500 companies. Among them are Nestlé, Adecco Group, Zurich Insurance Group, and Glencore International. This is the highest density of Fortune 500 headquarters in the world. About 25-30% of jobs in the country are provided by the companies on this list.
Hardly anyone will feel like an alien in Switzerland. As a global center of finance, technology, and innovation, the country attracts people from all over the world. In every major city, you hear different languages and observe different cultures. No wonder international students feel completely comfortable here.
There are four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The latter is spoken by less than 40,000 people. In reality, each of the 26 cantons speaks its own dialect. In international companies, universities, and major cities like Zurich, Geneva, and Bern, English is used for communication.
University programs are generally taught in French and German. However, most universities offer a wide variety of programs in English. Universities in Switzerland exhibit outstanding cultural diversity. At the University of Geneva, for example, foreigners make about 40% of 16,000 students.
High Standards of Living and Safety
Although Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, it’s one of the richest too. The wages and purchasing power are high here. The average gross monthly pay in the public sector is CHF 6,502 (€ 6,029). In the private sector, it is CHF 7,873 (€ 7,297).
People here have to pay the federal and the cantonal tax. The amount of the latter depends on the canton. For example, with an average salary, you will receive CHF 4,878 - 6,502 (€ 4,540 - 6,052) after tax in the canton of Basel-Stadt.
Switzerland is the cleanest country in the world after Denmark and Luxembourg. It has a very low crime rate and a great public transport network. For the second straight year, the country’s healthcare system ranks first in the World Index of Healthcare Innovation.
The work of the Swiss government is based on openness and transparency. Any citizen can challenge any new law by collecting 50,000 signatures within 10 days since it’s adopted. Then, a national vote can be organized. Eventually, the new law will be passed or rejected by a simple majority.
Stunning Nature and Good Environment
Alpine meadows, mountains, and lakes are the landmarks of Switzerland. Locals love to spend time outdoors. Hiking, biking, and canoeing in summer and skiing and snowboarding in winter are very popular here. Lake Geneva, the Rhine Falls (the most powerful waterfall in Europe), the Matterhorn mountain with a height of 4,478 meters, or prehistoric glaciers — no matter where you stay in Switzerland, you can visit any of these places on a weekend.
The Swiss care about the environment. It is the first country in the world that presented a climate plan to the UN aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030. The country is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
The country regularly raises the carbon tax and funds renewable energy projects and other environmental initiatives. The government's proactive work in this field galvanizes “green” education and entrepreneurship. For example, the Swiss company Climeworks develops and builds machines that suck the carbon out of the air.