Study Abroad Switzerland


Program Description

Once you see the breath-taking beauty of the Alps, lakes, cities, and castles of Switzerland, you'll realize why Swiss culture revolves around nature and the outdoors. Have a YFU exchange experience in one of the most ecologically aware countries in the world!


Scholarships Available

  • 385 - Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Study Fund
  • 368 - YFU Community Grant
  • 384 - YFU Financial Aid Fund

Age Requirement

March 1, 2000 - September 1, 2002.

Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate from high school before the start of their program will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

  • Language: Romansch, Italian, German and French. 2 years of German and French language study is required. Students who have less than 2 years of French may not sign up for the French-speaking program. Students whose French skills are below level despite 2 years language study and students who do not meet the German language requirement will be required to take additional language lessons at their own expense.
  • Host Family Placement: Most host families are located in small cities or villages close to metropolitan areas. Swiss families usually eat dinner together. Dinnertime is the perfect opportunity to discuss what happened during the day, to share ideas, and make plans for the weekend or holidays.
  • School: August to mid-July, with holidays throughout the year. School is usually from 8:45 am - 3:00 pm. Lessons are usually about 45 minutes and are separated by short breaks.

Academic Programs

Study in Switzerland and choose whether you would like to live and attend school in a French-speaking or German-speaking area!

School: As an exchange student in Switzerland, you will be enrolled in a Gymnasium/collège, which is a high school for university-bound students. As Swiss schools tend to be academically challenging, be prepared to work hard! The Swiss school system is quite decentralized, which means that your school experience may vary depending on where you are located. Some Swiss schools offer extracurricular activities and events to their students, and exchange students may have the opportunity to join in on many extracurricular events that may be happening in your community.

Intensive Language Orientation: Students who have less than two years of language study for German-speaking Switzerland will be enrolled in an intensive four-week language training option available for an additional fee of approximately CHF1,100. Students are encouraged to start studying German immediately after they have been accepted to the program.

Students wishing to study abroad in French-speaking Switzerland must meet the two-year language requirement. Prior to departure, students will take a language test. Upon arrival, students may be required to take an intensive language course if they do not meet an A2 level of French.

German vs. Swiss German Language: If you really enjoy learning new languages, then you should definitely consider living in the German-speaking region of Switzerland! While all written language and school studies are taught in the standard German, this is not the spoken language of the people. Swiss German has some similarities but also varies considerably from standard German. YFU host families are asked to speak standard German with their student while at home, however, you will quickly become accustomed to the Swiss-German dialect in your area as everyone outside of school and your family will use the local dialect. This is a great way to learn more than one language during your time abroad!

Optional Excursions: Many additional events, such as family meetings and regional gatherings, might take place locally throughout the year. Students have also chosen to attend a four-to-five-day ski camp in a Swiss ski resort for an additional fee. This camp is partially subsidized by YFU Switzerland, so students are expected to pay about 200 CHF. This cost includes room and board, a ski pass, and travel for the student to the resort.

Additional Information

Orientations: All students applying for a semester or year program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation, which usually takes place in mid-July. This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas. All students will participate in a one-day local pre-departure orientation in May or June. There will be a one-week orientation camp a few weeks after your arrival. In January, you will participate in a mid-term orientation, which includes a four-day ski camp in the Alps. Before your return home, you will have a re-entry orientation with other year students in Switzerland. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.

Additional Application Requirements: In addition to all of the application documents, students applying for the French-speaking Swiss program must submit a host family letter written in French and a color copy of the first page of their passport. It is important to note that students who have previously studied abroad for a semester or year are ineligible for the French or German Switzerland program.

Tuition includes

  • Placement with a carefully selected host family
  • Enrollment in a local Swiss high school
  • Comprehensive health insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU Switzerland Area Representative while on program

Additional Costs: Additional costs to students that are not included in the tuition include travel costs to and from school (approximately 30 CHF per month), textbooks, and other school materials. Program tuition does not include personal spending money. YFU Switzerland recommends that students plan for about CHF250 for every month that they are on the program.

Application Deadlines: The application deadline for all winter and spring departure programs (January-March) is October 1. The deadline to apply for scholarships is December 1. The deadline for all summer or fall departure programs (June-September) is March 15. Programs can fill up before the deadline, so we encourage early submission!

Last updated Feb 2018

About the School

YFU’s distinctive brand of cultural exchange opens minds and hearts, enables learning that transforms lives, and ultimately helps to make us citizens of one world. While it is true that all travel bro ... Read More

YFU’s distinctive brand of cultural exchange opens minds and hearts, enables learning that transforms lives, and ultimately helps to make us citizens of one world. While it is true that all travel broadens perspective and exposes the traveler to new experiences, YFU’s programs transform who you are and permanently change the way you see. Read less