Switzerland's independence and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and Switzerland was not involved in either of the two World Wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations, but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.
You may well ask yourself as a student, 'what can Switzerland offer me?' Well, there are many advantages to studying in Switzerland. The high quality of education is relatively accessible and a large percentage of the student population is foreign students. You will meet and associate with people from all over the world, giving you a very global outlook and politically neutral understanding of life. Switzerland is a small country in the centre of Europe and exploration of surrounding regions can easily be undertaken with the minimum amount of travel. Switzerland is an ideal location if you enjoy outdoor pursuits. The Swiss Alps provide a picture-perfect backdrop and you will find a wealth of activities available throughout the four seasons that will interest even the most lethargic of personalities.
After a grueling day of lectures, what can students do to relax? All universities and colleges offer a variety of recreational activities for their students. There are several inter-university sports tournaments and you are likely to find tennis courts, sports centers and a café-bar where students can socialize Away from campus, students are entitled to discounts at exhibitions, theatres, art galleries, and museums. A student would only need, between 100-150 Swiss Francs per week in order to sample everything that Switzerland has to offer. In addition, as many colleges are situated in and around the Alps, many students enjoy the opportunity to learn to ski or snowboard. Although the cost of hiring the equipment can be expensive, a student can buy a ski pass for approx. SFr 450. The pass would be valid for a year and allows access to various pistes and slopes giving the novice plenty of time to perfect their technique.
Most Swiss universities structure their academic year in three term periods that run from early September to December, late January to early May, and late May to July respectively. Courses are generally modular with students having to attain the required number of credits in order to pass their chosen course. Students are asked to complete a set number of courses per term and, in this, learn to adapt to a variety of teaching methods. Most classes will involve lectures followed by group seminars; designed to discuss the issues raised in the lectures. The teacher/student ratio in these discussion groups is relatively low, with an average of ten students assigned to one professor. Essays and exams are common yet there is also room for individual case studies and audio-visual projects. Library facilities are extremely good.
Tuition fees for universities and colleges in Switzerland vary from institution to institution. However, if you know which college you wish to attend, you will be able to get a prospectus (by ringing or writing to the Swiss Embassy in your country) that will list the relevant costs. On average, a student's annual budget would need to cover approximately SFr 16,000 to SFr 24,000 depending on where you study and your standard of living. Don't be put off if these costs are out of your price range, most universities offer forms of financial assistance and, in some cases, scholarships.
As a European business hub, several courses have links with locally based businesses that cannot be beaten. Special strengths are in banking, machine tool and precision engineering. Other strengths include chemical and pharmaceutical engineering, not to mention great hotel and tourist educational departments. The country has been very successful in attracting the investment of foreign multi-nationals and businesses, also one of the reasons for its huge banking sector. The knock-on effect of the wealth results in attracting some of the most respected academics in European universities attracted by the high wages and the comfortable lifestyle.
The most popular of the educational facilities for foreign students, are the Swiss Hospitality Schools. Located in various towns and cities across Switzerland, these schools are renowned worldwide for their high standards and are almost a pre-requisite for hospitality students looking for a first class education. Famous schools such as the Caesar Ritz Colleges, the Ecole Hôteliére in Lausanne, International Hotel Management Institute in Lucerne, the Hotel Institute in Montreux and many others provide highly competitive qualifications in all aspects of international hospitality and tourism management. The entry requirements for these schools can vary according to your personal area of interest. Merit based scholarships are also available but you would need to enquire with the institution of your choice.
Would need to enquire with the institution of your choice. If you are looking to study in a country that is renowned for its educational system, with a totally diverse culture and adventurous activities just waiting to be experienced, all in breathtaking surroundings. After all, this is the country where Albert Einstein gained his technical qualifications and found the inspiration to create his theory of relativity. Take the decision, be positive, and pave your career path with solid foundations. Study in Switzerland