While there are many reasons one would choose the bountiful and picturesque country of Switzerland for a long-awaited holiday, only a few know that Switzerland has really good options for higher studies. To make this systematic and easy to understand, let us take you through these reasons one by one.
Switzerland is one of the most developed nations in the world and has an infrastructure supportive for all streams including science, arts, and commerce.
Switzerland has a standardized fee structure for local students and international students alike. This makes studying here beneficial for the latter since the tuition fees of Swiz universities are much lower than their other European or American counterparts.
Crime is rare, making Switzerland a safe place to study.
While one may have to work hard to earn a job in Switzerland, if a student manages to grab one, he or she will be better paid than they might be in any other part of the world.
Switzerland is a well-connected, well-developed country which makes the living experience in Switzerland better than most of Europe and even the United States.
While culture and language are richly spread across the country, most outsiders who have chosen to settle in Switzerland feel that the locals never accept them as their own. This is one of the things that make Switzerland a questionable choice in an otherwise ideal scenario.
Swiss universities are known for their global standards and universities recognized across the world. Continuously trying to align itself with the Bologna Process, which attempts at coherence in quality of higher education across Europe, Switzerland is increasingly becoming a popular destination amongst international students.
If you are attempting a Master's degree, you need to have finished your Bachelors's before the beginning of your course, even if you choose to apply before finishing your final year. Your admission, of course, would be provisional to your result.
If you are attempting a Ph.D., a degree that Switzerland is most known for, you need to have finished your Masters. It takes about 3 - 5 years to attain a Ph.D. in Switzerland, and the degree involves rigorous research and expenses that arise from it.
Except for two federal universities, the other ten universities known for academic excellence are cantonal. While researching for the institution you choose to study in, you must also read about the cantonment your university belongs in, since the diversity of culture and language along with the research orientation deeply affects the way the course is executed.
- The University of Business and International Studies, Geneva
- University of Fribourg
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne
- ETH university for science and technology, Zurich
- University of Basel
- University of Neuchâtel
Popular Courses in Switzerland
Switzerland offers courses at the Research, Masters, and Bachelors levels. The broad subject areas include:
- Business Management
- Hotel & Hospitality Management
- Sustainability Management
- Quantitative & Systems Biology
- International Law
- Banking & Finance
- Applied Mathematics
- Interdisciplinary Sciences
For a chance to be a part of any good university in Switzerland or anywhere else in the world, it is important that you make a comprehensive, well-rounded application. There are many stages of this process, and on an average, it takes a year for any student to enroll themselves in a university of their choice. The steps are listed below in chronological order, for ease of comprehension.
1. Research and understand the education system and societal structure in Switzerland:
It is important to contextualize your reasons to study abroad with the real-life scenarios in any country. Read about life in general and the culture that the country offers. Try to find about expat encounters and experiences personally and academically. Switzerland has two in-takes; summer and winter and the courses are structured accordingly. See which time of the year is right for you to be ready with a solid application.
2. Spend time in shortlisting courses:
It is crucial that you spend significant time towards understanding the best permutation and combinations while picking the degree you are applying for. It should be a perfect mixture of the subjects you like, have a foundation in, and wish to pursue. It is also good to know the professional scope in a stream, both in India and in the rest of the world. Remember to give each of these aspects equal importance while researching, even if you choose to prioritize one over the other later on.
3.Find the right university to match:
Once you are sure about the subjects you want to graduate or master in; or in some cases do research on; it is essential to ensure that you find the right university that specializes in the stream. For example, the ETH Zürich might be a great university with an excellent world ranking to science and technology while the University of Geneva is an ideal option to pursue research-based courses.
4. Compare fee structures and evaluate scholarship options:
While courses and universities are important things to consider while finalizing upon what you want to pursue, it is also essential to find out if the course you have picked fits the financial bracket you are willing to spend on this part of your education. Defining your budget will help you chalk out the financial help you can take from your parents, the scholarships you might have to apply to, the loans that you might need to consider and the odd-jobs you might have to take up while studying. There are numerous good scholarships that Swiss universities offer, especially for research-related courses, and you must research and apply well in time to leverage from these.
5. Check compliance with eligibility criteria:
Once you have thoroughly run yourself through the above aspects of your decision to study abroad, it is time to carry out the practical steps towards your university applications. In general, students apply to roughly 4 to 5 universities, since this provides them with enough time to work on each application extensively and still creates a safety net of options that they might get into. Before you start writing your SOP’s, ensure that your past qualifications and work experience, if any, tick the eligibility criteria of your course. Some universities may not acknowledge part time education or night-schools. One surely sub-consciously looks through this while shortlisting a course; but it is good to carefully go over each point in the eligibility tab of a university website. Take the relevant language tests along with the needed attestations well in advance so that you know nothing is standing between you and your opportunity to study abroad in Switzerland.
6. Don’t wait until the last day to send your application:
While deadline adherence may seem like the most obvious step, universities and portals witness late entries year after year. The reasons for delay in submissions are sometimes as silly as being so busy with compiling the application, that the deadline is forgotten about. A perfect analogy is studying so much for an exam that you don’t make it in time for it. No matter how much you know, you have lost time to reflect that in your paper. Not to forget the first impression you are leaving on selectors. Maintain a calendar with your personal deadlines, which are a few days before the actual deadline, so that you are in check of when to apply. It is critical to ensure
that your study portal or counsellor aligns with when you want your application to reach the university.
While these steps cover the basic stages, one has to go through while making a college application in Switzerland, the physical application needs –
- A Passport
- A duly filled and signed application form
- Cover letter
- Identity proof
- Passport size pictures
- Attested scanned copies of education certificates
Application to universities can be exhaustive. It is advisable to have enough time in your hand before you start the process, accounting for any visa contingencies as well. If you apply with a clear head, focused vision, and disciplined approach, the hard work will bear a sweet fruit.
Cost of Attendance
Education is one of the most enriching experiences of life. It not only enhances perspectives but also empowers an individual to strive for more in life than mere survival. As basic as this sounds, quality education is a privilege that only a chosen few are blessed with. Yes, you can take this opportunity to thank your stars to see this possibility and pat your back to indulge in this distinct vision. We are still miles away from realizing this for most of our population, but it is definitely heartening to see more government initiatives and financial facilities vesting in at least a facet of this overlooked issue.
As times become challenging and ever-competent, education has become more investment than expenditure. And our age-old wisdom tells us, investments are best planned. Especially so if your destination of choice is a first world, developed-country like Switzerland.
Most universities in Switzerland hand out average monthly-expenditure charts to students for them to anticipate the cost of studying and make arrangements accordingly. Data below (in Swiss francs) is an average and essentially depicted in a range, since all individuals are different and so are their preferences. Spends are often disbursed and accounted for in the following chunks:
- Application & Course Fees
- Accommodation & Food
- Recreation & Commute
1. Application & Course Fees
Almost all graduate-level courses taught in Switzerland are in their native languages, including French, Italian, German and Romansh. Foreign students mostly apply for Masters programmes or Research-based courses. Close to one-third of the students in post-graduate programmes are from abroad while half of the research students come from countries outside Switzerland. The tuition costs for a public university range from CHF 1200 to CHF 2500, per semester, depending on the course. The fees for private universities, however, are comparatively much higher and can easily reach an average of CHF 9500 or more, per semester. Depending on academic performance and recommendations, scholarships and exchange programs can be widely considered while making applications.
Application expenditure to universities includes portfolio courier charges, language qualifications tests like TOEFL or IELTS, eligibility tests like GMAT and charges for counselling to pick the right university. These easily come up to CHF 200 per university. It is highly advisable therefore to be well informed of the course structures and pre-requisites of each university and apply only to the ones that practically match your profile and agenda. Expert intervention is always a good idea, whether it is as personal as a friend or family member studying in the university, or even a professional career guide.
2. Accommodation & Food
There is no point in mincing words here. Living and surviving in Switzerland is expensive. The Swiss are paid well, hence spend well, and therefore their world is priced in the same proportion. While some may argue that smaller towns (example Bern, Basel) are more reasonable than the big urban cities (example: Zurich, Lausanne, Geneva), overall living is fairly expensive. There are housing bodies in most universities to help students find affordable accommodation, but one must account for an average of CHF 1800 for a decent living.
Food is no different. A decent meal ranges from CHF 15 to 20, and fine dining is a rare luxury barely affordable to students. Most of them depend on snack bars in college campuses or the university cafeteria, which price edibles on a cost reduced by 15% to 25%. One can also pick groceries out of reasonably priced local supermarkets and relish home-cooked native recipes.
3. Recreation & Commute
While the former two are inevitable sources of expenditure for students, this aspect can be controlled. Travel typically takes up close to CHF 150 per month, depending on personal preferences and distance between the university and where you are put up. Walking or a bicycle ride are common preferences amongst students of all streams. Standard ticket charges and visa fees for the journey to and back from Switzerland can be calculated based on the where the home-country is, but this is largely a luxury few can afford during their stay in Switzerland.
Recreation in terms of student theatre and co-curricular activities is readily available within campuses but students occasionally do step out. European sightseeing and road trips are popular amongst teenagers as the natural scenery is luring to all.
Apart from these, one must account for miscellaneous expenses including health insurance and monthly utility bills. An average of CHF 20000 to CHF 25000 can be considered the basic cost of survival in Switzerland, excluding the course fees. However, each case is individualistic and it is always more to speak with experienced counsellors and seniors in order to find the university and lifestyle best suited to your goals.
What can significantly improve the experience is proper research and planning before taking the big step, and proactiveness after making a move. Education is the biggest stepping stone in anyone’s life and Switzerland offers a decent return on investment.
Best student cities
Switzerland as a country is highly developed which makes the distinction between urban and rural fairly faint. The Major hubs of Switzerland include Zürich, Geneva, and Montreux while the governmental and official center is at Bern. Lausanne and Neuchâtel are also good options to consider when choosing to study in Switzerland.
So you are an Indian student who is looking to study in the land of the Alps!
Switzerland in recent years has gotten recognition with regards to the quality education it offers as well as its vast employment opportunities. Many students from around the world dream to make the most of these opportunities in order to carve out a good future. The thing is, while this is certainly not an unattainable aspiration, the process may take quite a while to complete. Hence, before you set about to initiate the visa application process make sure you have enough time to see it through to the end.
How long will it take to get your visa?
The very first thing that you ought to know is the visa type that is applicable to you – National Visa D. Generally, the waiting period ranges within three months. Hence, you must plan adroitly. After having enrolled for the course that you want to study in the varsity of your choice, you must not procrastinate to set in motion the visa procedure. Remember to apply for the National Visa D three months before the course commences.
What is the procedure to apply for the National Visa D?
To get a student visa, the following steps need to be followed in order.
1. On receiving a letter of acceptance from the Swiss University you had applied to, you need to send a mail to email@example.com for the New Delhi Consulate with a reference of 'Student Application' along with a scanned copy of the acceptance letter of the university, the details of the course and 3 preferred dates for an appointment.
2. Thereafter you will need to fill a Visa Application Form and submit it in person along with the supporting documents at a scheduled appointment at the Swiss Visa Application Center, located in New Delhi.
3. Once the appointment is scheduled and confirmed, you need to pay a visit to the embassy. All relevant documents to be carried along are mentioned below.You may be asked to provide your biometric details for the process to start. Hence, collect your biometric details, which mean your fingerprints and photos. These details are sought due to security purposes.
4. On arrival at the Swiss Visa Application Centre, you are required to take a token and wait in the seating area.Thereafter you will be called to the submission counter, where your application and documents will be examined, you may also be required to sit for an interview to clear the visa application process. A receipt is issued hereafter for the fees and service charge paid as an acknowledgement.
Normally the visa fee charged is 60 euros and an additional 300 rupees is charged for postal fees. The entire application process takes around 8-12 weeks.
What is the validity of your visa?
You can certainly stay for the entire duration of the course. But in order to do that, you need to renew the visa yearly. In fact, many people choose to perpetuate their stay post-completion of the course, either to continue studying further or to get employed in Switzerland. If you make any decision that is similar to any of these, then you will have to apply for the renewal of the visa every year or apply for a different visa that will be suitable to your requirements.
What are the required documents?
The documents that you must furnish in order to get the student visa to study in any college or university in Switzerland are mentioned below -
1. Photocopy of the first and last pages of your passport. Your passport needs to have been issued within exactly 10 years, and the date of expiry must also come within a minimum validity period of three months from the time of your scheduled return; finally, the passport book must have at least two blank pages
2. Your passport photos are required and they must not be any more than six months old
3. Proof of confirmation from the University or College of having accepted and enrolled you to study.
4. Your academic degrees and education certificates.
5. Proof of your employment certificates in case applicable in the course eligibility criteria
6. Certificates of proof with respect to your skill in speaking the English language, for instance, the IELTS or the TOEFL
7. Supporting documents as proof to your financial status. This is required in order to ensure that you are well-funded to stay for the entire duration.
8. Solvency, as well as an identity proof of your sponsor for at least two assessment years, needs to be submitted. Aside from this, you also require to furnish bank account details of the last three months of your sponsor. A copy of her/his passport page is also mandatory for submission.
9. The sponsor also needs to share through you a written approval of the fact that all your expenses will be borne by her/him.
How much does one need to pay while applying for a student visa?
A student visa application costs INR 4,500.
The Switzerland visa fee for Indian students, who are going for research, is free. However, this is valid for cases that are not receiving any other kind of financial benefit, for instance, a fellowship, etc. This amount, in case applicable, must be paid in cash. Students can enjoy a waiver of the application fee also if they earn a government scholarship to study.
Switzerland certainly promises to open innumerable and significant opportunities for students. As a result of this, today, crores of Indian students are willing to study there instead of continuing education here in India. Hence, it is important to comprehend the entire visa application process well, so that no stone is unturned, and the process meets success in time.
Visa Application Procedure -
You can initiate the application process once you have a letter of acceptance from the university you wish to study in. However you need to apply in advance by atleast 12 - 14 weeks before your departure, so that the procedure can smoothly go on. The minimum time requirement is at least 10 weeks.
Students pursuing courses that involve a stay in Switzerland for more than three months need to submit their applications personally at the embassy of Switzerland. One can schedule an interview with the embassy directly, or route it through VFS global services (the agency that is the single route for all short term Shenzhen Visas.) For the latter, you can use this link to initiate the interview process. Long stay visas take about eight to ten weeks of processing time, and once you get in touch with the embassy, you will be guided at every stage.
No scholarships to show
The high standard of living and luscious natural bounty can draw anyone to Switzerland. If you a 90’s kid, and have grown up on Shahrukh Khan romancing in the flowy yellow fields, your ambition might have a fire one can totally understand. However, before you let the blinding attraction drag you there, you must know a few details about its work culture, company structure and the scope of your industry.
The following are the few things you must consider before you make a decision.
1. Job Opportunities in Switzerland
If you are a native of a country outside the European Union, your application will be considered on a variety of factors. Before issuing a work permit the officials will ensure that the job that you are being offered is something only you can do and no Swiss Native or European citizen could be hired for it. They will then check if there are remaining vacancies in their quota and issue the work permits only if the quota has a remaining quota.
Employers mostly go for foreign jobs only in case of highly skilled labour who have differentiating talent, strong industry foundation or excellent educational qualifications. If you can distinctly place yourself in any of these brackets, you must select a recruitment agency to help you out at the earliest.
2. The City of Residence
Like all major countries, Switzerland is divided into metropolitan and urban (well rural in a developed nation is fairly urban). The proportion of pay scale and expenditure is commonly direct in most of the country. While this might standardize lifestyle in most of the cities, the industries commonly spread in each geography defines where you choose to put up. You must research well on the cultural aspects of a city before making a choice since you don’t just have to bag a job in a city, you actually have to stay there. With blogging and social media so pertinent, it is easy to take first-hand information from residents themselves, which will give you insights you might need to make a choice.
One has to learn at least one of the languages from French, German and Italian to be able to fit in and communicate easily with peers and colleagues. While translation, tourism and other such fields might need English as a base language, most of Switzerland operates on the native tongues. Only the ones staying in Switzerland will know that the German spoken by the Swiss is different than the Swiss. If Zurich or Bern is where you are located, you will have a frequent encounter with this variety. Lausanne and Geneva meanwhile, are the French-speaking parts. You should equip yourself with at least a basic knowledge of these languages alongside other preparations to work in Switzerland.
Working as a student in Switzerland.
If you are a student looking for part-time opportunities, you must note that immigrants on student visas are not allowed to work for the first half a year of their stay. It is easier to start off by finding employment opportunities in the university or college where you are studying or are about to study. Professors and employment bodies can be of immense help during the search. It is always beneficial to be an active learner and be at the forefront of class happenings to leverage from these opportunities.
Finding Work Opportunities in Switzerland
1. Via Government Agencies:
While the internet is vast and unending, there are a lot of other ways to find work opportunities in Switzerland. One can start off by visiting the local government Embassy. The Swiss Chamber of commerce has centres in a lot of countries across the world and reaching out to them is a good start.
2. Via Recruitment centres:
It is not coincidental that the rates of unemployment are seemingly low in the country. There are various private matchmaking companies that strive towards helping Switzerland’s rich industrial spread find efficient young talent. Tracing such agencies and getting in touch with them won’t just help you find a job, but will help you find an opportunity that matches both your aspirations and restrictions at the same time, and complements your growth.
Despite its limiting immigration policies, finding jobs in Switzerland is not that difficult if you chose to be patient and determined. It is, in fact, easier than what the internet and the Swiss websites make you believe. Considering that Switzerland has the lowest unemployment rates in most of Europe and salaries that touch the sky, it is definitely worth giving your Yash Raj bred dreams, a solid try.
Can international students apply for both semesters?
International students (including Indian students) can apply only for the autumn semester.
Are students allowed to work in Switzerland?
EU students are permitted to work 15 hours a week, without a work permit. After completion of their degrees, students are allowed to stay back for 6 months and search for a job and on securing one get a work visa.
What is the minimum wage students can earn in Switzerland?
There is no minimum wage limit. Normally as per voluntary collective bargaining agreements, unskilled workers earn upto 2,200 to 4,200 francs per month and skilled workers earn upto 2,800 to 5,300 francs per month