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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School

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.

Language

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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Food

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

Year Exchange PROGRAM

Program Date: August 18, 2018 – July 6, 2019
Birth Date Range: March 17, 2000 – August 17, 2002

School is a very important part of the exchange program in Switzerland, as the Swiss school system is highly academic and competitive.  The exchange students attend a type of school which only – the academically speaking – the top 20% of the Swiss students attend.  It is very likely that your host family will live in a small town or in the suburbs of a bigger city. Thanks to a great public transport system cultural activities are never far away.

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!