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Language & Culture in Switzerland

Switzerland is a country with cultural diversity thanks to its geographical location between countries like Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. This diversity has contributed to shaping a unique culture! Switzerland has an extensive tradition in music, craftsmanship and museums.

If you ever visit the country, you will see ‘’CH’’ in a lot of instances. But what does it stand for? ‘’CH’’ refers to tribes that inhabited the country 2,000 years ago. One of these large tribes was the Helvetians, a Celtic tribe and ‘’CH’’ stands for ‘’Confoederatio Helvetica’’, the formal name of the Swiss Confederation. 

Did you know that Switzerland has a significant folk music tradition? Swiss folk music includes yodeling, alphorn music and ländler music. The most known musical instruments are the alphorn (a typical Swiss musical instrument), schwyzerörgeli ( an accordion), the violin, bass violin and the clarinet. 

If you are a museum or arts enthusiast, then Switzerland will definitely charm you. Switzerland ranks among the top countries with the most museums per capita, meaning that you can find more than 1,000 museums!

The Swiss culture is also well known for its crafts and especially watchmaking. The luxury watches industry in Switzerland holds an excellent reputation of craftsmanship with watch brands like Patek Phillippe, Rolex, Tissot, TAG Heuer, Vacheron Constantin and Chopard.

What about famous Swiss nationals? Roger Federer, the legendary tennis player, Johanna Spyri, writer of ‘’Heidi’’ fiction book or the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung are among the most famous Swiss people. Small tip: If you want to become friends with a Swiss person and take in the Swiss culture then you should value three characteristics: Honesty, punctuality and politeness!

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Swiss Cuisine

Swiss cuisine has a place in the hearts of many gourmands, and once you try it, it is difficult to let go. It is a culinary gourmet heaven with influences from various countries like Italy and France. Where to begin, the top quality chocolates or the super tasty cheese? 

Some of the most characteristic Swiss cuisine dishes include cheese fondue (melted cheese with bread cubes), raclette, älplermagronen and rösti. Delicious cheeses are found everywhere in the country and when studying in Switzerland you could try special cheese like vacherin, appenzeller, emmentaler or sbrinz!

How often do you eat muesli in your breakfast? Well, you should know that muesli is of Swiss origin and it was developed around about 1900 by the Swiss doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Brenner. 

Chocolate production in Switzerland started during the 17th century and quickly gained an audience around the world, thanks to its quality. Nowadays, tons of chocolate are produced every year with top Swiss chocolate brands like Lindt, Cailler, Frey, Nestle and Toblerone being among the leading chocolate providers in the world.

Languages of Switzerland 

If you are a language lover, then there is no better place than Switzerland to unravel your linguistic competency. Is there an official language in Switzerland? The answer is a little complex. The languages of Switzerland are not one or two, but four in number! 

The four official languages in Switzerland include German (spoken in North, Central and Eastern Switzerland), French (spoken in Western Switzerland), Italian (spoken in Southern Switzerland) and Romansh (spoken in South-Eastern Switzerland). Swiss people are most of the time multilingual, depending on the region they grew up in.

The German-speaking community is the largest, with 17 cantons having German as their official language. Despite that, you will not have any problem communicating in English in Switzerland, as Swiss people maintain a high level of English language proficiency. In addition to that, you can find a variety of English-taught Master’s and PhD programs.

Study in Switzerland - Overview

Over 20,000 international students choose Switzerland as their study abroad destination every year. Click here to learn why.

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Student Visas

Despite its location in the heart of continental Europe, Switzerland is not an official part of the European Union and every international student will require a student visa to study. Find out documentation you need and the processes you should follow depending on your country of origin.

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Housing & Living Costs

Finding budget friendly housing in Switzerland can take a bit of careful planning but look through your options to find the best accommodation for you and your piggy bank!

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees in Switzerland vary greatly, depending on if you’re planning to attend a public or private institution, your program of study, and your level of study. There are several different scholarships available from specific institutions and from the Swiss government.

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Education System

Switzerland is world renowned for its education system, promoting high academic standards and innovative teaching methods. Public and private institutions offer a wide range of programs in English at all levels, for Swiss and international students alike.

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Application Process

There is no centralized system for admissions to Swiss universities. Application processes can differ from institution to institution, get started early to leave time for ironing out those all-important details.

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Programs

Ready to look at education in Switzerland? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in Switzerland.

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Last update: 16 Jul 2021

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