Studying Abroad in Switzerland? A Guide for Canadian Students

University Of Bern
University of Bern

Studying abroad in Switzerland can be an enriching experience for Canadian students. It offers a unique opportunity to immerse in Swiss culture, language, and academic life.

For Canadian students in search of an exceptional study abroad experience, Switzerland beckons with a captivating blend of academic excellence, multiculturalism, and breathtaking natural beauty. Known for its high-quality education system and reputation as a global hub for research and innovation, Switzerland provides a welcoming and enriching environment for international students. Join us as we delve into the reasons why Switzerland is an excellent destination for Canadian students seeking a transformative and unforgettable study abroad journey.

Cost of studying in Switzerland as a Canadian student

Studying in Switzerland as a Canadian student can be an enriching experience, but it's essential to consider the associated costs. Switzerland is known for its high standard of living, which also reflects in the expenses related to education. Here are some factors to consider regarding the cost of studying in Switzerland:

Tuition fees: Tuition fees vary depending on the university and the level of study. Public universities in Switzerland generally have lower tuition fees compared to private institutions. It's important to research and check the specific fees for your chosen program and university.

Living expenses: Switzerland is renowned for its high cost of living, with significant expenses for accommodation, transportation, food, and other daily necessities. The cost of accommodation varies depending on the city and the type of housing, with major cities like Zurich, Geneva, and Basel being more expensive.  

Health insurance: Health insurance is mandatory for all students in Switzerland. The cost of health insurance can vary.

Additional costs: It's important to consider additional expenses such as study materials, textbooks, extracurricular activities, and personal expenses. These costs can vary depending on individual preferences and lifestyle choices.

Scholarships and financial aid: Swiss universities and various organizations offer scholarships and financial aid opportunities for international students. It's advisable to explore scholarship options specifically available for Canadian students studying in Switzerland.

How do Canadian students apply to a university in Switzerland?

To apply to a university in Switzerland as a Canadian student, follow these steps:

Research universities and programs: Conduct comprehensive research by identifying institutions that align with your academic interests and goals. Consider factors such as program offerings, reputation, location, language of instruction, and admission requirements.

Review admission requirements: Review the admission requirements for your chosen university and program. These requirements can vary, so ensure you understand the specific criteria, including academic qualifications, language proficiency, entrance exams, and any additional documents needed.

Language proficiency: Determine if your chosen program is taught in English or another language. If the program is in a language other than English, you may need to demonstrate proficiency by providing language test scores such as TOEFL or IELTS. Alternatively, if the program is in one of Switzerland's national languages (German, French, Italian, or Romansh), you may need to provide evidence of language proficiency.

Prepare application documents: Collect the necessary application documents, which typically include academic transcripts, diplomas, letters of recommendation, a motivation letter, and a CV/resume. Make sure your documents are translated into the required language if necessary and meet the university's specifications.

Apply online: Most Swiss universities have online application portals. Complete the online application form, providing accurate and up-to-date information. Upload the required documents, paying attention to any specific file formats or size limitations.

Application fee: Some universities may require an application fee, so be prepared to pay the specified amount if applicable. The payment method and details will be provided during the application process.

Student visas and residence permits: If your application is accepted, you will need to apply for a student visa and residence permit. Contact the Swiss embassy or consulate in Canada to learn about the visa application process and requirements. Initiate this process well in advance to ensure you have all the necessary documentation before your planned departure.

Why should Canadian students study in Switzerland?

Studying in Switzerland offers a multitude of compelling reasons for international students. Here are some key reasons why studying in Switzerland can be an excellent choice:

High-quality education: Switzerland is globally recognized for its high standard of education, with its universities consistently ranked among the top in international university rankings. The country is known for its rigorous academic programs, cutting-edge research, and emphasis on practical skills development. By studying in Switzerland, you can benefit from an excellent education that is highly regarded worldwide.

Multilingual environment: Switzerland is a multilingual country with four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Studying in Switzerland provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in a multicultural and multilingual environment. This exposure can enhance your language skills, broaden your cultural understanding, and increase your adaptability in a globalized world.

Strong reputation in research and innovation: Switzerland is renowned for its innovation and research capabilities. The country has a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and it also encourages collaboration between academia, industry, and research institutions. By studying in Switzerland, you can access state-of-the-art facilities, work alongside leading experts, and be part of groundbreaking research initiatives.

Internationally recognized degrees: A degree from a Swiss university holds international recognition and can greatly enhance your career prospects. Swiss institutions offer a wide range of academic programs at various levels, including bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The global reputation and quality associated with a Swiss education are highly valued by employers worldwide.

Best places in Switzerland to study as a Canadian

Switzerland is home to several renowned cities and educational institutions that provide excellent environments for studying. Here are some of the best places to study in Switzerland:

Zurich: It is home to the prestigious ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), consistently ranked among the top universities globally. Zurich provides a wide range of study options across various disciplines and offers a rich mix of international and local student communities.

Geneva: Geneva is known as a global hub for diplomacy, international organizations, and research institutions. It hosts the United Nations, World Health Organization, and numerous other influential organizations. The city offers opportunities for studying social sciences, international relations, law, and related fields. The University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies are prominent institutions in the city.

Lausanne: Situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is a picturesque city known for its focus on sports, hospitality, and management education. It is home to the prestigious École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), which specializes in science, engineering, and technology fields. Lausanne is also the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, making it an attractive destination for sports-related studies.

Basel: Located at the border of Switzerland, Germany, and France, Basel is a culturally rich and dynamic city. It is home to the University of Basel, which is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Basel offers a range of academic disciplines, including humanities, natural sciences, medicine, and social sciences. The city's strategic location provides opportunities for cross-border collaborations and a multicultural experience.

Top educational institutions in Switzerland

Here are some of the top-ranking universities in Switzerland:

  • ETH Zurich
  • University of Zurich
  • Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
  • University of Bern
  • University of Geneva
  • University of Basel
  • University of Lausanne
  • University of Fribourg
  • Universita della Svizzera Italiana
  • University of Neuchatel

Paying for your overseas education with the best exchange rates

If you're living and studying in Switzerland for a considerable time, finding affordable ways to transfer money internationally is well worth it. For instance, if you want to avoid the above-average fees that your bank will charge, all you have to do is register with MTFX to get the best rates.

The MTFX platform is accessible 24/7 and allows secure, automated payments. You can also enjoy competitive exchange rates of 3-5% lower than the banks. This translates to savings of $1,500 for each $30,000 you move across borders.  

Planning to study in Switzerland? 

MTFX offers the best exchange rates

In case you are interested in pursuing your studies in Switzerland, it is important to note that only the Swiss Franc currency is accepted there. While banks offer traditional exchange rates, MTFX, on the other hand, offers better exchange rates that come with lower fees and transparent pricing, without any hidden charges.

Register with MTFX to get the best rates. Start sending money to Switzerland and enjoy competitive exchange rates, low transfer fees, and quick international money transfers.   

Study in Switzerland as a Canadian – FAQs

What aspects of Switzerland often surprise overseas students?

International students studying in Switzerland often encounter several aspects that surprise them. Here are some things that international students are often surprised to learn about Switzerland:

Multilingualism: Switzerland is a multilingual country with four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Students are often surprised by the extent of language diversity and the opportunity to practice different languages within the country.

Punctuality and Efficiency: Swiss culture places a strong emphasis on punctuality and efficiency. International students may be surprised by the precision and timeliness observed in various aspects of Swiss life, such as public transportation, meetings, and academic schedules.

Quality of Life: Switzerland consistently ranks highly in global quality of life indexes. Students are often amazed by the country's clean and well-maintained cities, efficient public transport, safety, and access to beautiful natural landscapes, including mountains, lakes, and hiking trails.

How can I manage the cost of living in Switzerland?

  • Use a foreign exchange service like MTFX to send money from Canada to Switzerland and avoid expensive exchange rates and transfer fees.
  • You can work while studying and earn extra money on the side.
  • Explore various scholarship opportunities.

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