The country’s spectacular landscape includes snow-capped Alps and grassy hills spotted with grazing cows together with 1,500 sparkling, crystal-clear lakes.
School in Switzerland is very demanding. High school students therefore usually focus on their homework during the week. Many of them also engage in after-school sports, take music lessons or are part of extracurricular clubs. On weekends, many teenagers participate in various clubs or are involved in community activities such as village festivals, gymnastics meets or historic celebrations. Plan on lots of opportunities to go skiing, hiking or getting together in cafés.
People & Community
You’ll most likely live in a German-speaking region in a suburban town, but some students are also placed in rural or urban areas. Swiss families can be very diverse but most are hard-working and extravagance is frowned upon. Most families have only one or two children. It’s important for most Swiss families to spend time with their closest family members and do activities together. Many families in Switzerland have pets, a cat or a dog. On weekends, people often take trips to visit extended family or friends.
Swiss students are highly motivated and disciplined when it comes to academics and the school system is very competitive. You’ll most likely attend a baccalaureat school, a high school that prepares students for university. A typical day starts around 8 am and ends around 6 pm, with days ending earlier on one weekday around noon. There are seven compulsory core subjects which include national and foreign languages, maths, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, and visual arts and/or music.
With four official languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansch), Switzerland is an ideal place for international education.
A Swiss-German dialect is spoken in the German-speaking areas of Switzerland. French is spoken in the western part of the country and Italian in the south. Romansh is a language that derives directly from ancient Latin and has survived and developed in the isolation of Alpine valleys. No matter where you will be staying, previous knowledge of a language is very useful and highly appreciated. You will also have the chance to attend an intensive language course in the first weeks of your program, and AFS Switzerland will offer you an online Rosetta Stone language course.
Healthy meals are important to Swiss families Swiss cuisine is mainly a union of French and German alpine cuisine. One famous dish is fondue, in which Emmenthaler and Gruyèrecheese is melted with white wine and eaten with bread cubes. Rosti (a crispy, fried, shredded potato) is the Swiss-German national dish. Swiss chocolate is world-famous and beloved by all. Many host families take environmental protection very serious. It is therefore common not to eat meat every day.