Switzerland is famous for its natural beauty.  The country’s spectacular landscape includes snow-capped Alps and grassy hills spotted with grazing cows together with 1,500 sparkling, crystal-clear lakes.

Swiss families often evolve around the core family (parents, children). Usually, every family member chips in when it comes to housework and it is common for both parents to work.  Many Swiss people are members of a club, or are involved in community activities such as village festivals, gymnastics meets or historic celebrations.

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 thrifty, with only one or two children. Most families in Switzerland have pets, a cat or a dog. On weekends, people often take trips to visit extended family or friends.

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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 Matura school, a high school that prepares students for the University. A typical day starts around 8 am and ends around 6 pm, with days ending earlier on Wednesdays 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, you should have some prior knowledge of the language – at least B1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages for German, French or Italian. 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.

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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 andGruyère cheese 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.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.
Year Exchange PROGRAM

Program Date: August/September, 2020 – June/July, 2021
Birth Date Range: 14 March 2002 to 14 August 2004

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to your home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.

Program dates may vary and are meant to help with general scheduling only.
All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and programs are filled first-come, first-serve.

Apply Now!