Q&A about education and training in Switzerland
FAQ - Studying at Universities and Federal Institutes of Technology
Can I enrol on a degree course at an university or federal institute of technology with just my foreign Matura or are there special entrance requirements in my case?
Basically, only with a Swiss Matura can you enrol on a degree course at a university or federal institute of technology.
With your foreign educational qualifications, you must submit an application for admission to your chosen university or federal institute of technology. The individual universities and federal institutes of technology are responsible for answering questions relating to matriculation eligibility. They will clarify their entrance requirements.
Provisory acceptance will be given on condition that you pass the 'Fribourg Examinations' (entrance examinations for students with foreign educational qualifications).
If your educational qualifications are not recognised, you must take the full Swiss (or cantonal) Matura examination. Moreover, proof is sometimes requested that you would be accepted onto your intended degree course in your country of origin and that the entry requirements for that course in that country are not more stringent than those in Switzerland.
Is it possible to study medicine in Switzerland with a foreign Matura?
As a Swiss abroad, you do have a chance of being accepted to study medicine in Switzerland as long as you have fulfilled the entrance requirements of your chosen university and have passed the compulsory aptitude test for medical degree courses in Switzerland. The individual universities and federal polytechnics are responsible for answering questions relating to matriculation eligibility. As a Swiss candidate with a foreign Matura, you are also required to have an equivalence qualification for the federal medical examinations, which can be obtained from the Federal Matura Commission. Relevant information is available from the State Secretariat of Education and Research, Hallwylstrasse 4, CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland, www.sbf.admin.ch
If I have already done some semesters at a university abroad, can I finish my studies at a university in Switzerland? If so, will these semesters be taken into account?
In most cases, the answer is yes but individual cases must be clarified with the relevant faculty. Often only a small part of the completed study time abroad is taken into account.
FAQ - Studying at Universities of Applied Sciences
Can I study at a University of Applied Sciences with a foreign Matura qualification? What are the entrance requirements?
The main way to enter, the so-called 'king's way', is with a Professional Baccalaureate, which consists of doing an apprenticeship, attending a vocational middle school and passing the Professional Baccalaureate examinations. This then gives examination-free entry to Universities of Applied Sciences. It is also possible to gain admission to a university of applied sciences with a Gymnasial Matura plus proof of a minimum of one year's relevant work experience. If you, as a Swiss abroad, have a diploma which is not comparable with the Matura or Professional Baccalaureate, you must clarify the entrance requirements with the university of your choice. There may be additional entrance requirements, tests or aptitude assessments before acceptance onto courses in music, sport, design etc at some colleges of further education (see www.bbt.admin.ch).
FAQ - Diploma Recognition
After studying abroad, I would like to return to Switzerland to work. How do I find out whether and in what form my foreign diploma will be recognised?
For foreign academic qualifications the best advice is to contact the Swiss Information Service for Recognition Questions (Swiss ENIC):
Conference of Rectors of Swiss Universities (CRUS)
The Federal Department of Professional Education and Training and Technology (OPET) can answer your questions concerning your training qualifications.
Federal Department of Professional Education and Training and Technology (OPET)
More information on the page "Diploma recognition"
Will the education or training I do in Switzerland be recognised when I return abroad?
You must clarify the issue of professional recognition of education or training undertaken in Switzerland with the authorities of the overseas country, not with the Swiss authorities.
FAQ - Grants
Is it possible for me, as a Swiss abroad, to get a grant for my education or training in Switzerland? If so, what are the conditions?
The home canton is primarily responsible for grants for young Swiss abroad. You can order the contact addresses from AJAS. The most important prerequisites are that the grant is for a normal first education and that you have already enrolled on the education or training course. More information is given on the Grant page.
Can I, as a Swiss abroad, get a grant from Switzerland for my education or training abroad?
It is possible to submit such a grant application to your home canton. However, most cantons do not award grants studies or training abroad.
As a Swiss abroad, I have been given a grant from my home canton but it isn't enough to live on. Is it possible to get a supplementary grant?
Yes. Home communities and private institutions award supplementary grants in certain cases but this is only in addition to the cantonal grant. It is worth enquiring about possible grants in your parents' country of residence. AJAS can also give supplementary grants or loans.
More information is given on the Grant page.
If I, as a young Swiss abroad, do my education or training in Switzerland, how can AJAS help me financially?
AJAS can help with the grant application process to your home canton. You can obtain the relevant cantonal application forms from AJAS. AJAS itself also gives supplementary grants and loans if your cantonal grant is not enough.
FAQ - Apprenticeships and Work Experience
Who can give me information if I don't quite know which education or training route I would like to take?
Switzerland's public careers advisory services will help not only Swiss but also Swiss abroad to find answers to choice of career and further education questions. You should make contact with your home canton's careers advisory service in writing, by phone, by fax or by e-mail. You can get the addresses from the (AJAS Address list ?Cantonal careers advisory services?)
Who can help me find an apprenticeship?
There is no official apprenticeship agency in Switzerland. Finding an appropriate apprenticeship is your own responsibility. You must actively seek out suitable offers and do so in good time, at least twelve to eighteen months before you plan to begin. You can find apprenticeship information for the whole of Switzerland on the internet (www.berufsberatung.ch/dyn/1235.aspx). Many big companies advertise their apprenticeship vacancies on their internet sites. More information is given on the Apprenticeship page.
How do I find work experience?
It's basically the same as with apprenticeships - there is no agency in Switzerland, rather it is your own responsibility and it's not particularly easy to do from abroad. In our brochure "Work" (see Downloads) you will find further information, addresses, and links which may help you with your search.
FAQ - Accommodation
How do I find affordable accommodation in Switzerland?
Affordable accommodation in Switzerland is rare. We therefore strongly recommend that you begin your search in good time. Offers can be found on the internet, in newspapers and on the noticeboards of colleges and universities. Some individual educational institutions offer on-site accommodation. More information is available on the websites of some universities. You will find a compilation of hostels and halls of residence in the main towns and cities of Switzerland and a collection of links in our brochure "Accommodation" (see Downloads).
FAQ - Living and Working
What costs should I reckon with if I would like to study or train in Switzerland?
The costs depend very much on what kind of education or training you do and on your personal requirements. Although semester fees are usually relatively low, the cost of living in Switzerland is quite high. Experience shows that for a university, federal polytechnic or college of higher education course, SFr 16'000.- to SFr 24'000.- per annum is what you should expect to need. Costs for an apprenticeship are lower because the apprentice receives a modest salary from the first year of the apprenticeship.
As a Swiss abroad, am I allowed to work alongside my education or training course? How do I find a job?
As a Swiss abroad you do not need any permits to take a job and work. This also applies to side jobs. Finding a job is your own responsibility. You will find vacancies in regional newspapers, at job centres or on the internet. You will find vacancy notices in newspapers, at job centres and on the Internet. For addresses and hints about job searches in Switzerland, please refer to our brochure "Work" (see Downloads).
FAQ - Language Courses
Do I need a good knowledge of the Swiss national languages if I want to study or train in Switzerland or is it enough that I speak very good English?
Good knowledge of at least one national language is mostly imperative for all kinds of education and training in Switzerland. Although good knowledge of English is an advantage, it is in no way sufficient, except in the case of some higher level studies (e.g. for some masters courses or courses in Universities of Applied Sciences). Many educational institutions require applicants with another mother tongue to take a language examination in order to be certain that the students have a good enough knowledge to be able to follow the teaching.
Can I get a grant for a language course in Switzerland?
Only a few cantons award grants for language courses. Therefore, you generally must bear the costs of language learning yourself.