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2018-07-30 11:57:00

Ranking schools in Switzerland for international students to get high level education abroad

Ranking schools in Switzerland for international students to get high level education abroad

Having read this article, you will get a complete idea of ​​the Swiss education system, you will get acquainted with the best Swiss boarding schools, ranking universities of hotel business and tourism. Your child will have a desire to study in Switzerland within the walls of the oldest educational institutions: schools, camps, colleges, universities.

Educational system of Switzerland

The popularity and prestige of the Swiss educational system is universally recognized and does not cause any doubts. It is inherent in universality, and when it was formed, the best characteristics of the French, German and Anglo-American best boarding schools were taken.

It is worth starting with the fact that, in accordance with Swiss law, the official state languages ​​are the following: French, German, Italian, and also Romansh. As an interesting fact, we note that the territory of Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons and provinces, which in turn have a sufficient degree of autonomy. Thus, in the canton subordination are the leading and best primary and secondary boarding schools in Switzerland. At the same time, Swiss universities are subordinate to the cantons and the federal government. As for the cost of education in Switzerland, it is not so high in comparison with American and British educational institutions.

It was the year 1460 that marked the opening of the first prestigious University of Switzerland in Basel. At present, 12 large elite state universities, several leading academies, and approximately 120 advanced colleges successfully operate in Switzerland. Agree that impressive is the scale of the prestigious system of higher education in Switzerland. The popularity and relevance of ranking and prestigious private boarding schools, colleges and elite universities has spread far beyond Switzerland, the reason for this phenomenon is due to the use of modern methods and technical teaching tools, which at the same time create an excellent combination with classical traditions in the field of education and life forms.

Special attention should be paid to the schools of hotel business in Switzerland, which will be discussed below in this article.

Prestigious boarding schools in Switzerland

Historically, it is in Switzerland, which is surrounded by the Alps, occupying a picturesque area, the locals speak 4 languages, as mentioned above, namely in French, German, Italian, very rarely the oldest language, Romansh, is currently used.

In addition, Switzerland is universally assigned the status of a center for world diplomacy. Staying in such an environment, a foreign teenager acquires such personal qualities as tolerance to other cultures, communication skills with representatives of different nationalities. As practice shows, on average the Swiss owns 2-3 foreign languages, in particular English and two state languages.

It should be noted that the most part of the leading private schools-boarding houses in Switzerland is located in the territory of the German-speaking and French-speaking cantons. The smallest number of prestigious boarding schools in Switzerland is located in the Italian canton of Ticino. As for international students, they show a preference for ranking boarding schools located in French-speaking cantons, due to the provision of the most comfortable living conditions. Considering the advanced German boarding schools, they are characterized by strict discipline with simple living conditions. 

It is worth noting that there is a division of Swiss prestigious schools into the following types, namely:

  • Schools-boarding houses of a separate format of education, that is, there are schools that accept either boys or girls.
  • Mixed-size boarding schools.

Usually the disposal of these best boarding schools in Switzerland is a vast area, which is built numerous educational buildings and residences, in the walls of which accommodate foreign students, and of course the most modern sports grounds and indoor sports facilities for intensive sports. Children have the opportunity to attend intensive classes in the preferred sports section, circle, or take part in a variety of exciting activities. In particular, they can have a format for conducting classes in scientific laboratories, playing chess, music, singing, creative children will be able to devote time to practicing dramatic art.

Traditionally, for many centuries, elite and ranking boarding schools and universities in Switzerland have focused on sports, which positively affects the physical development of students. Thus, in the walls of every prestigious Swiss boarding school, the students of the section on football, rugby, cricket, tennis, field hockey, and swimming are available to the attention.

A huge advantage is a unique location of Switzerland. In particular, on a regular basis for the students organized fascinating and educational excursions to Italy and France, because these countries are located a short distance from the Swiss border. During the summer, students make merry mountain hikes, and they acquire skills for swimming, yacht management on picturesque lakes, while during the winter children and adolescents actively go for snowboarding and skiing.

Modern infrastructure equipment for classrooms and residences

Among the various countries in the world, it is difficult to find many prestigious boarding schools, the level of equipment that surpasses or is almost equal to Swiss computer auditoriums, where Macintosh laptops and wireless Internet are available for foreign adolescents. In their free time, students can visit the stables and fitness centers located on the school grounds.

Students do not need worry about the comfort of living in the walls of the school residence. So, as a rule, it is planned to place students in separate cozy rooms, in rare cases teenagers can live in rooms designed for two children.

The main part of the boarding schools in Switzerland is located in the mountainous country, and in most cases children feel like in a resort, as they are provided with 5 meals a day, personal approach and care of the teaching staff for each student is guaranteed. Each elite and prestigious school-boarding house of Switzerland offers attention of schoolchildren to intensive sports and carrying out of fascinating games. It is within the walls of the leading Swiss boarding schools that outdoor activities are provided, as well as sending schoolchildren to educational trips to other interesting cities and countries.

When physical education classes are held in the schools in Switzerland, a wide variety of sports are available for pupils, in particular, skiing, skating, biking, swimming in the pool, sailing, hiking. In addition, the emphasis is on drawing, music, modeling, which will be especially interesting for creative individuals.

Teaching manners in Swiss boarding schools

Special attention should be paid to elite boarding schools and colleges in Switzerland, which provide for the teaching of foreign teenagers manners. In particular, according to the stated position of the leaders of the ranking and advanced school Institut auf dem Rosenberg, it is within its walls that qualitative upbringing of future successful diplomats and government officials occurs.

Several centuries ago, elite and popular institutions of noble maidens successfully operated in Switzerland, which were in demand among girls of all countries without exception. However, their excessive popularity has been somewhat reduced, but such prestigious Swiss boarding schools continue to conduct effective teaching. As for the target audience, girls between the ages of 16 and 27 can enter, while the cost of tuition for the trimester will vary from 18,000-20,000 Swiss francs. In addition, the educational program provides for the teaching of art, correct behaviour in diplomatic and higher circles, the specifics of communication, possible topics for conversation, and his manner. Simultaneously, each girl acquires basic knowledge and skills, which in the future will help her to become a wonderful wife and a real assistant to her husband, as well as to effectively manage the household.

In addition, foreign girls are trained in such disciplines as foreign languages, the history of culture and art, office work, business basics, cooking, sewing, design and decoration of the home, parties and other events. Agree that any girl at the end of the program can become a real lady from high society.

Leading Federation of Private Schools in Switzerland

So, 32 elite Swiss boarding schools are part of the group "World Education in Switzerland", and they also received the prestigious status of members of the Swiss Federation of Private Schools. This organization combines the oldest and school-boarding houses in Switzerland. As the key task entrusted to the group "World Education in Switzerland", support for the highest level of quality of teaching in Swiss participating schools is highlighted. Below are the benefits of membership in this group:

  • To the attention of foreign teenagers, regardless of their age, not only national, but also international programs of professional education are offered.
  • The highest level of quality of teaching, on an ongoing basis, there are adjustments to changing methods, the latest technologies, as well as the requirements imposed by students and potential employers.
  • The widest scope of worldviews, which, in turn, contributes to the development of global perceptions and intercultural understanding.
  • At the end graduates own several foreign languages, simultaneously with this for several years of studying, students have an active language practice in a multilingual country.
  • Positive learning experiences are formed by practicing a global outlook on education and a high level of quality of life in Switzerland.
  • In the absence of classes, students are given free access to various city events, participation in mountain sports, as well as European cultural centers.
  • All foreign teenagers are mentioned at the end of their studies that staying in Switzerland gave them real happiness from communication and friendship with their peers, representatives of the most diverse countries of the world.

Educational programs in the Swiss boarding schools

  • Swiss Prestigious Elementary School

Exactly The primary school represents the first stage in the way of obtaining a ratnking education in Switzerland. The duration is 6 years, with the target audience being children and children aged 6 to 12 years. Some of the advanced Swiss private elementary schools are hosting kids who have reached four years of age. Within the educational program of Switzerland, close attention is paid to the comprehensive development of the student and intensive preparation in foreign languages. Directly in the leading elementary school, the process of adaptation of foreign children is much faster and easier because teachers pay much attention to each schoolchild without exception.

  • Luxury high school-board of Switzerland

Within the walls of almost every ranking boarding school in Switzerland, there are various departments that conduct teaching within the framework of various national education programs, in particular, the Anglo-American, French, German, Italian, and of course the Swiss branch.

  • The educational program of the prestigious Swiss secondary boarding school (Matura)

If we consider educational programs offered by the Swiss elite schools, then the greatest degree of saturation is inherent in the federal program of the Swiss educational school, whose name is Swiss Federal Maturite. With regard to the chosen direction of education, its subdivision is envisaged for 5 types, namely:

  • A - involves the study of ancient languages, namely Latin and Greek
  • B - the teaching of modern languages ​​in conjunction with Latin
  • With - teenagers intensively studied mathematics and natural sciences
  • D - the study of modern foreign languages
  • E - Teaching of economic disciplines is supposed.

Within each educational plan, 12 compulsory disciplines are to be developed, with three subjects being basic, namely the mother tongue, the second state language, mathematics, and 7 compulsory disciplines, including history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, music or drawing , physical education. And also there are 2 special subjects corresponding to the chosen profile of the student, and that depends on the type of educational program that was chosen.

When a foreign teenager reaches the age of 13-14, he has a full idea of ​​his future profession, or at least the field of further work. It is at this age that the preparation for the successful passing of examinations for the purpose of obtaining a certificate and unhindered entry into the preferred faculty of the TOP university of Switzerland begins.

  • Foreign branches

In the walls of almost every prestigious school-boarding house in Switzerland, besides the national educational program Matura, 1-2 foreign departments are offered to adolescents' attention. In particular, children and adolescents will be able to receive preparation in the following courses:

Considering these educational programs, the key differences between them are due to the level of complexity and degree of saturation between different disciplines. Special attention should be paid to the truly universal international educational program International Baccalaureate (IB), which was developed in 1968 directly in Switzerland.

Foreign adolescents who intend to receive higher education in English-speaking countries in the future, choose their English or American diploma. By receiving a French Baccalaureat diploma, an international teenager is given the opportunity to continue studying at the best universities in Switzerland and France and, you will probably be surprised, in the French-speaking province of Canada in Quebec.

If the graduate received a German diploma, then he will be happy to receive prestigious universities and colleges in Germany, Austria and educational institutions located in the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland. Having a diploma of the universal program International Baccalaureate, the graduate will be able to enter any ranking and top university in any country in the world.

At present, this certificate on the completion of this program is quoted in over 100 countries, while with this selection of TOP universities is more preferable if compared with the national certificate of secondary education. The duration of education for this educational program is two years, with the target audience being adolescents aged 16-19.

This educational course is divided into two cycles. The first stage is aimed at adolescents aged 14 to 16 years, and education is carried out from 9 to 11 classes, the end of the course is marked by the passing exams. In the case of their successful delivery, the graduate is issued a certificate of secondary education, whose name is IGCSE, International Certificate of Secondary Education.

The second stage corresponds to education from 11 to 13 classes, after the completion of the program, a diploma is issued, which opens widely the doors of the best universities in different countries of the world. The name of the certificate is Academic International Certificate of Education, A-level or American High School Diploma.

  • Abitur - German educational program of the Swiss secondary school-boarding school

This education program resembles a Swiss course of study. At the age of 11-12 years, a foreign teenager chooses the future specialization. At the same time, the educational program is divided into three types, namely:

  • Humanities (teaching languages, literature and art is conducted)
  • Social Sciences
  • The technical course provides for the teaching of natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

Baccalaureate - the French educational program at Swiss secondary school

This course is divided into two stages. The first step is suitable for teenagers aged 11 to 16 years, with the education conducted from 6 to 10 classes, the passage of the educational course is marked by the passing of examinations, and in the case of successful surrender the graduate is issued a certificate of secondary education. With this certificate, the graduate has all the opportunities for unhindered entry to the top universities in Switzerland, France and other countries, the teaching of which is conducted in French.

Maturita - the leading Italian educational program of the secondary boarding school in Switzerland

Foreign adolescents aged 11 to 14 actively study general disciplines, and at the age of 14 years, a transition to an elite high school is envisaged. In this case, the student needs to make a choice of one of the four specializations, and do active preparations for entering the ranking university in Switzerland or Italy.

Academic year - how much to study?

It is worth noting that in Switzerland, the school year is from September to June, while dividing into three terms, namely:

  • Autumn -  from September to mid-December
  • Spring - start in the middle of January, and the end - on the middle of April
  • Summer - start in the end of April and the beginning of June.

Please note that in accordance with the curriculum in the middle of the autumn and spring term there is a short break from classes, the duration of which is 4-5 days. So, wait for a short vacation in late October and mid-February. As a rule, during this period, students are not provided with accommodation, in connection with which, a foreign teenager has a chance to return to his homeland or make an exciting trip with friends to European countries, or as an option to stay with a host family, but this will already be additional expenses.

Tuition fees in the Swiss boarding schools

On average, the cost of studying and living in a prestigious Swiss boarding school will vary from 60 to 110 thousand dollars a year. We draw attention to the fact that the cost of studying includes food, sports, participation in cognitive activities and trips, as well as insurance.

The process of admission to the ranking boarding schools in Switzerland for international students.

Usually, as practice shows, with regard to foreign teenagers, a requirement is made to provide the characteristics of a schoolboy, which is written by teachers, and also about a score sheet for the last two years. And at the same time it is necessary to successfully pass a written test.

SMAPSE specialists advise you to take up the question of entering Swiss TOP boarding schools when a teenager reaches the age of 12-13. Having reached this age, foreign students do not face significant obstacles with adaptation to the new educational system and teaching methods in the Swiss boarding schools. An additional advantage will be the effective improvement of language skills.

In case of admission to the leading Swiss boarding school at a later age, it is possible to study for a longer period, in particular for a year, compared with peers.

As for the deadline for submitting applications, it is better to do this question 1-2 years before the expected start of studies, and it is not necessary to delay until June 1 if you enter in September, and before October 1 if the course starts in January. We draw your attention to the fact that the process of examining applicants' documents by Swiss leading boarding schools is carried out as applications are received. As a rule, vacant places very quickly end about a few months before the expected start of education on the educational program.

Advanced state-owned Swiss boarding schools

The educational system of Switzerland includes the national state general schools, which are financed from the state budget. It should be noted that the leading primary and secondary schools in Switzerland are subordinate to the cantons, which explains the lack of a unified educational program, the use of which is mandatory for all Swiss educational institutions. The territory of each of the 26 cantons has its own curriculum developed independently. Foreign students are offered a wide choice of effective educational programs, in particular, the Swiss federal program Matura is available. In all elite boarding schools in Switzerland, co-education is practiced, that is, both girls and boys are accepted.

If you intend to enter the leading public boarding schools in Switzerland, then the walls of such educational institutions are accepted by foreign adolescents who have been living in Switzerland for quite a long period of time. In particular, this is true for children whose parents are diplomats or employees of international organizations, whose central office is located in Switzerland. It is in public Swiss schools that there is no provision for the accommodation of students.

Getting prestigious education in leading colleges and universities in Switzerland

More than 120 ranking colleges are open in Switzerland. As a rule, education is conducted within the framework of a narrow specialization, thereby allowing teenagers to get a high-quality professional education.

Along with colleges in Switzerland, 12 state universities have been established. Below we list their number in the section of the cantons:

  • As for the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the top universities are in Basel, Bern, Zurich, St. Gallen and Lucerne
  • The French-speaking part of the country is known for its universities located in Geneva, Lausanne, Friborg, Neuchatel
  • In Italian-speaking Switzerland, which belongs to the canton of Ticino, in the city of Lugano is the famous university of Universita della Svizzera Italiana
  • Two federal technology institutes successfully function in Zurich and Lausanne.

In addition to the listed ranking universities in Switzerland, the St. Gallen Pedagogical College, the Institute for Advanced Studies for International Students in Geneva and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Public Administration in Lausanne are among the not less prestigious and popular universities. 

Tourist industry - MAster's degree and MBA programs

If you are considering alternative options for obtaining further higher education, then we advise you to pay attention to the magistracy. Master's programs will be of interest to both students and young people who are studying at a university, or by engaging in tourism and hospitality management. As a rule, obtaining a Master's degree will be especially important for those who are experiencing some lack of knowledge that are required for future work and building a successful career.

In addition, within the walls of the universities of the hotel business and tourism in Switzerland, postgraduate educational programs and MBA are developed and offered to foreign applicants for a period of 1 year. In this case, the main requirement for admission is the availability of a diploma of higher education.

In the framework of education programs, special attention is paid to the qualitative preparation of managers, who will continue to work successfully in the best hotels and clubs in the world. Let us note that the discipline of hotel management itself is of an applied nature. In connection with which, it is planned to conduct compulsory practical classes. Beginning with the first classes, students are given the skills to properly serve the table, slicing food, pouring drinks, in addition, students acquire excellent knowledge in wines, and they have obtained all the tricks necessary to work with VIP clients. Thus, at the end of the studying, a first-class professional who possesses all the subtleties of his specialization emerges from the walls of the elite university of Switzerland.

The obligatory educational program of the hotel business includes not only applied disciplines, but also such subjects as marketing and sales, financial management, strategic planning and other disciplines, knowledge of which is necessary for successful work in the business segment. Probably, you already could notice that in the walls of the top universities in Switzerland there is a full-fledged education of high-class managers.

In addition, special emphasis is put on students studying foreign languages, international law, and information technologies. Traditionally, the Swiss own 2-3 foreign languages. Thus, owning only one foreign language, a teenager can feel dumb. Therefore, it will take a lot of time to learn and develop language skills.

It should be noted that the educational program of the leading universities of tourism and hotel business in Switzerland provides for the passage of students an annual paid internship, the duration of which is 4-6 months. The university special distribution service is responsible for selecting a practical place for the student. After graduation, the graduate has excellent opportunities for employment not only in Switzerland, but also in other countries.

So, a student can formalize a work permit, and he has an excellent opportunity to receive a salary of 2000-2500 francs per month. Probably, you will agree that not every student is so lucky with earnings, especially during studying. It should be noted that within a month, as our observations show, the expenses related to accommodation and meals in Switzerland do not exceed 1000 francs. In addition, through an internship, substantial reimbursement of the costs is possible.


Below there is a table in the context of the student's chosen educational program, duration and the degree awarded.

Educational program

Duration of the course

Assigned Degree

Undergraduate (basic)

3 to 4 years

Bachelor, diploma

Master (main)

1-2 years

Master or licentiate


2 to 3 years

Doctorate Degree

The duration of study in prestigious universities in Switzerland varies from 4 to 6 years, which is due to the chosen faculty and specialty. SMAPSE experts draw your attention to the fact that the majority of foreign students decide on combining education with work, which, in turn, lengthens the period of study by 1 or 2 years. So, extremely high requirements are imposed on the progress of students, which leads to a situation where, at the end of the first year, about 50% of all students are expelled.

Considering the majority of faculties, we note that the receipt of a diploma, the availability of which allows you to find a job in the chosen specialty, is possible after 2-3 years of intensive studies. However, an additional year of study will be required in order to obtain a Bachelor's degree.

As for the academic year at the leading Swiss state university, its duration is from September to June, with its subdivision for three semesters. Simultaneously, at the elite university of tourism in Switzerland, the beginning of the academic year begins 3-4 times during the year, namely in August-October, January-February, and is also divided into semesters from two to three.

Admission to the best universities in Switzerland

It is worth starting with the fact that the rules of admission are mainly determined by the canton and the prestige of the University of Switzerland. 

To enter TOP universities in Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel, you will need to fulfill the following requirements, namely:

  • Provide a secondary school certificate, while there should be good grades, at least four points in all disciplines.
  • Passing an exam, focused only on foreign adolescents, within the specialized admission committee, which is based in Friborg.

In addition to the above requirements, top universities located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland require the passage of at least four semesters of study in a foreign university.

Directly in September-October, the passing of a single exam by foreign applicants is envisaged, this test is conducted in Friborg. So, the exam includes questions on 5 disciplines. Three compulsory subjects are a foreign language, mathematics, history. Two disciplines are chosen by the student from the following list, which includes physics, chemistry, biology, geography, and also a second foreign language. If you are unsure of the successful passing of this exam without preparation, then practically specially for you in the territory of Friborg, effective courses have been created, aimed at foreign applicants who want to become students of the best universities in Switzerland. During the period from October to June, it is planned to conduct classes.

In Switzerland, every foreign student who is interested in learning has a very good academic background, however, without mastering German or French at an excellent level, he will be able to pass quality language courses. The effective language programs start at the end of October, and end at the end of June. In addition, summer programs successfully operate, the target audience of which are adolescents and students with a beginner or intermediate level of knowledge of a foreign language.

Thus, the beginning of language courses falls on the middle of June, and usually ends in mid-September. Thus, you can spend an exciting and effective summer vacation, while simultaneously significantly improving the language proficiency.

To become a student of the ranking university of tourism and hotel management in Switzerland, the presentation of a certificate is required, at the same time it is necessary to send an academic statement to the admission committee first, after which a test is submitted that proves a good level of English.

Important information for international applicants: international certificates TOEFL or IELTS are accepted, an alternative is to pass an internal test of a Swiss university. In particular, when enrolling in advanced business schools in Switzerland, a foreign entrant can receive an invitation to an interview.

Let us please you that due to the territorial range of countries, foreign teenagers are given the opportunity to be interviewed by phone or Skype. Thus, you have already realized that when you get there it is better to have a good command of French or English.

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Yuki Takeuchi
Dear, My name is Yuki from Ten Group Japan. I’m writing this email on behalf of our client. Our client would like to send her daughter to Switzerland to study after middle school in Japan. Please let us know where is a good school to study. Thank you, Yuki
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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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