Switzerland is Europe’s cultural melting pot; foreigners make up 21 percent of its population, and it has four national languages (German, Italian, French and Roman). While the cultural mix may seem intimidating, an exchange program to Switzerland is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Read on to learn more about student life in the country:
See Also: How to Immigrate to Switzerland
1. Cost of Living
Brace yourself for the expensive Swiss life; as an international tourist destination, life in Switzerland is more expensive than in other European countries. You average student expenses in the country are as follows:
- University Housing:Neuchâtel’ yearly prices are currently at 3,500 CHF ($2,030), 7,800 CHF and 11,000 CHF ($6,380) for a room, a studio and a private studio respectively.
- Movie tickets:9-14 CHF ($5.20-$8.10).
- Transport per ticket:20-3.60 CHF ($1.20-$2).
- A meal at the University:7-8.7 CHF ($4.50-$5)
- A soft drink in a restaurant):50 CHF ($2.61)
- A Mug of beer:50 CHF ($2.61)
2. Experience The Life
Switzerland is big on both winter and summer sports with a variety of extreme sporting activities for the adrenaline junkie. If you prefer the city life, marvel at the cleanliness in some of it most beautiful cities namely Geneva, Bern, Lausanne and Zurich. While in the city treat yourself to a shopping expedition or sample its bars, restaurants, spas and nights for the ultimate city life experience.
If you are a history lover, visit traditional touristic sports where you can marvel at the making of Swiss chocolate and cheese or traditional Swiss watchmaking. Alternatively, visit any of the numerous museums for a glimpse into the past. You also get an opportunity to experience cultural, political and sporting events and festivals all year round.
3. Health Insurance
Switzerland offers health insurance to every person living in the country for more than three months, with no exemption to international students, guaranteeing you access to quality health care and medical services when necessary. However, the system exempts students with international health insurance from their countries or equivalent. If you are in the country for less than three months, get travel or international insurance from your home country.
4. Housing Options
Majority of international students receive accommodation opportunities from their host institutions. You can contact the institution you are visiting before your arrival to make arrangements for your accommodation. Alternatively, you can either rent a room in the student residences, a house or an apartment. When looking for housing, consult your host on city-specific housing options.
5. Learn a New Language (or Two)
Switzerland embraces and appreciates multilingualism. While a large part of the population is multilingual, you will enjoy your stay more in the country if you can speak two or more languages. Learning a couple of languages will also help you when you encounter tourists and other international students.
Switzerland is the ultimate destination for fun and academics. Students in the country put as much effort in their schoolwork as they do outside class. Find the right balance between your academic life and your social life and you will sail through.