About Switzerland

If   you’re   looking   to   study   abroad   in   a   true   education   powerhouse,   then   you   may   well decide to study in Switzerland. Switzerland   was    born    in    1291,    as    the    Swiss    Confederacy,    fist    consisted    of    only    three canosns   (Uri,   Schwyz   and   Unterwalden)   of   what   is   now   central   Switzerland.   It   is   one   of today’s longest standing democracies.   By    1815    the    confederacy    had    expanded    until    it    encompassed    what    is    present-day Switzerland. Since   1848,   the   Swiss   Confederation   has   been   a   federal   state   of   relatively   autonomous cantons,   some   of   which   have   a   history   of   confederacy   that   goes   back   more   than   700 years.   Switzerland has thus a long history of neutrality, direct democracy, and federalism. Switzerland   is   also   home   to   many   of   the world’s   largest   family   fortunes   and   celebrities.   It’s politically   stability   makes   it   a   very   safe   and   attractive   country   particularly   also   due   to   its excellent and highly acclaimed legal system. Switzerland   has   8   million   inhabitants   spread   between   four   official   languages.      Most   of   the population   speaks   German,   followed   by   French,   Italian,   and   Romansh   (an   ancient   derivate of Latin). Switzerland   is   peaceful   and   orderly:      trains   run   on   time,   the   locals   tend   to   be   rather reserved but friendly, and schools provide quality education. Switzerland is one  of  the wealthiest  and  most  productive  countries  in  the  world.

Swiss Excellence

Switzerland    is    politically    neutral    and    most    renowned    worldwide    for    its    high    quality standards   in   many   sectors,   such   as   education,   science   &   technology,   pharmaceuticals, and international finance. Switzerland    acknowledges    the    importance    of    sustainable    growth    in    education    and research.   In   order   to   keep   its   competitive   edge   in   the   ever-evolving   global   economy, Switzerland   places   great   emphasis   on   maintaining   its   recognition   as   a   world   class   centre of   excellence   in   education,   research   and   innovation.   Fostering   competition,   furthering quality,   and   encouraging   open-mindedness   in   all   fields   of   studies   is   Switzerland’s   way   of staying ahead of the curve. At   the   same   time,   Switzerland   is   part   of   the   global   community   and   maintains   a   worldwide network   of   co-operations   and   partnerships   in   education   and   science,   providing   ample opportunity to its newly graduated students. No   country   in   Europe   registers   as   many   patents   nor   wins   as   many   Nobel   Prizes   pro   capita as   Switzerland.   Ranking   among   the   world’s   top   15   largest   economies,   and   host   to   more than   20   fortune   500   companies,   Switzerland   has   all   the   key   factors   needed   to   boast   its excellence.

Situation

Surrounded   by   other   great   continental   cultures   (Austria,   France,   Germany   and   Italy),   its central   position   and   control   of   the   Alpine   passes   have   made   Switzerland   a   classic   transit region. Switzerland   is within   driving   distance   from   some very   famous   European   capital   cities   such as Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Stockholm and Vienna to name a few. Located in the Alps, Switzerland is situated in the heart of Europe, but not part of Europe.

Schengen Agreement

Although    Switzerland    is    not    a    member    state    of    the    European    Union,    it    signed    the Schengen   Agreement,   which   provides   you   with   the   opportunity   to   travel   around   Europe without the need for additional visas.

International Organisations

Switzerland   is   a   member   of   many   international   organisations,   including   the   United   Nations (UN),   the   World   Trade   Organization   (WTO),   Organisation   for   Economic   Cooperation   and Development   (OECD),   European   Free   Trade   Association   (EFTA),   Council   of   Europe   (CE), Organization   for   Security   and   Cooperation   in   Europe   (OSCE),   International   Atomic   Energy Agency   (IAEA),   the   International   Monetary   Fund   (IMF),   the World   Bank   (WB),   and   INTELSAT. Its   central   bank   is   a   member   of   the   Bank   for   International   Settlements   (BIS),   based   in Basel. Although   Switzerland   is   surrounded   by   nations   which   are   all   members   of   the   European Union   (EU),   the   swiss   rejected   membership   and   structured   their   economic   participation within the EU through other free trade agreements.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)

According    to    different    sources    there    are    between    170    and    300    NGOs    with    their headquarters   or   local   offices   in   Switzerland.   Since   they   are   subject   to   common   law   and   do not   have   to   be   included   in   the   commercial   register,   it   is   in   practice   impossible   to   draw   up a complete list. Some   NGOs   are   very   large   and   are   often   active   in   a   great   variety   of   industries.   These   non- governmental organizations also serve as advisers to the United Nations. Since   they   are   subject   to   common   law   and   do   not   have   to   be   included   in   the   commercial register, it is in practice impossible to draw up a complete list.

Founding Member of

Switzerland   is   also   a   founding   member   of   the   Organization   for   Economic   Cooperation   and     Development (OECD) and of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Switzerland    has    been    accepted    as    a    founding    member    of    the    Asian    Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It is one of the first European countries to be admitted.

Currency

The   currency   used   in   Switzerland   is   the   Swiss   Franc   (CHF),   which   is   unique   to   Switzerland and    Liechtenstein.    Usually,    in    bigger    cities    or    large    international    stores,    Euros    are accepted   too.   However,   the   change   will   be   returned   in   CHF.   Credit   cards   are   accepted   in most shops and restaurants.

Cost of Living

The   cost   of   living   in   Switzerland   is   comparable   to   other   big   European   cities.   In   most   areas of    Switzerland,    the    average    cost    of    living    is    less    expensive    than    Paris    or    London,    for example,   although   certain   products,   specifically   food,   is,   on   average,   more   expensive   than elsewhere in Europe. On   a   very   rough   estimate,   the   monthly   living   expenses   are   situated   between   CHF2800.00 and   CHF5000.00    (rent,   groceries,   electricity,   internet,   compulsory   insurances,   and   public transport costs). These estimates can vary depending on location and lifestyle.  Housing: between CHF800.00 and CHF2900.00 per month, depending essentially on the size of the apartment and whether it is furnished or not. Electricity and Internet / TV: between CHF60.00 and CHF250.00 per month, depending on electricity consumption and Internet / TV contract. Insurance costs (Health & Accident (compulsory in Switzerland) / Third-party liability insurance / Household insurance / Insurance against the effects caused by fire and / or natural disaster): between CHF1200.00 and CHF4000.00 per year, depending on where you live within Switzerland, your age, your gender, your status (student or other), the member’s portion, whether you opt for basic insurance plans or more comprehensive ones, and finally the insurance company. TV and radio reception tax (payable per household, and as soon as you have at least one computer (portable or desktop) in the household: at least CHF170.00 per month, maximum CHF280.00. Food: approx. CHF1000.00 per month, if you cook yourself. Toiletry items and some recreational / entertainment costs: approx. CHF500.00 per month Transport costs (public transport, locally): rough estimate CHF150.00 per month. The above works out at between CHF2780.00 and CHF5415.00 per month.

Housing

In   some   cases,   Educational   Institutions   provide   housing   to   their   students.   But   in   most cases students are expected to find their own housing  or accommodation. The   saturated   Swiss   rental   market   in   major   cities   means   competition   for   Swiss   rental properties   is   fierce   and   that   you   need   to   act   fast   if   you   wish   to   not   only   find   an   apartment, but also obtain it. Entering   a   rental   agreement   in   Switzerland   usually   requires   a   3   months   in   advance   paid deposit   equal   to   the   amount   required   for   3   months   of   rent.   Additionally,   the   rent   for   the first   month   of   occupancy   is   payable   in   advance. A   furnished   studio   apartment with   kitchen and bathroom facilities typically rents start from CHF1000.- per month.

Health Insurance

Switzerland   takes   health   care very   seriously. As   soon   as you   are   in   Switzerland   for   a   period exceeding three months, health and accident insurance become compulsory. The    upside    to    this    is    that    such    insurance    guarantees    access    to    quality    medical    care services and treatments. Students   from   countries   that   provide   international   health   coverage   may   be   exempt   from taking out health and accident insurance in Switzerland. Other    students    may    be    exempt    if    they    have    such    insurance    coverage    in    their    home country, provided the Swiss authorities accept the international or foreign insurance.   In   either   of   the   above   two   cases,   proof   of   insurance   will   have   to   be   provided   to   the   Swiss health   &   accident   insurance   control   body,   where   the   case   will   be   examined   and   decided upon Students   coming   from   outside   Switzerland   may   check with   the   Swiss   Embassy/Consulate closest   to   their   place   of   residence   as   to whether   their   local   health   and   accident   insurance cover, which they might already have, is accepted in Switzerland.

Third-Party Liability Insurance

Although   these   insurances   are   not   compulsory   in   the   true   sense   of   the   word,   most   Real Estate   agencies   will   not   allocate   housing   to   any   party   without   third-party   liability   and household coverage. The   Third-Party   Liability   Insurance   covers   the   cost   resulting   from   accidental   damage   to third   party’s   goods   (excluding   car   accidents).   It   also   covers   financial   liabilities which   might result   from   accidental   bodily   harm   (accidental   injury   to   a   third   party   –   excluding   bodily harm caused in a car accident). Household   insurance   covers   loss   of   or   damage   to   personal   belongings   as   a   result   of   theft or burglary.

16 Facts About Switzerland

1 . Switzerland's   climate   is   not   all   about   snowy   mountains   -   there's   no   excessive   heat, cold    or    humidity,    and    varies    according    to    region.    In    the    north,    the    climate    is moderate,    with     cold    winters     and    warm     summers;     temperatures     drop     in     the mountainous   east;   the   west   has   a   mild   climate;   while   in   the   south   it's   so   warm   that palm   trees   line   the   shore   of   Lake   Lugano.   As   a   guide,   expect   daytime   temperatures from    18–28°C    (65–85°F)    during    July    and    August,    in    January    and    February    -2–7°C (28–45°F) and in spring and autumn/fall 8–15°C (46–59°F). 2 . Switzerland   has   one   of   the   lowest   crime   rates   of   all   industrialised   countries   -   despite having   liberal   gun   laws   (2.3–4.5   million   guns   in   a   population   of   8   million).   In   2010, there   were   only   0.5   gun   murders   per   100,000   people   compared   to   5   per   100,000   in the US. 3 . Foreigners   account   for   around   23   percent   of   the   population   -   however,   in   February 2014,     Swiss     voters     narrowly     passed     through     a     controversial     anti-immigration initiative.    It    aims    to    impose    limits    on    the    number    of    foreigners    allowed    into Switzerland   and   may   signal   an   end   to   the   country’s   free   movement   accord   with   the European   Union.   However,   international   criticism   means   it   may   have   difficulties   in implementation. 4 . People   marry   relatively   late   in   Switzerland   -   men   at   31.8   years   and   women   at   29.5 years. The divorce rate is around 43 percent. 5 . The average number of children per woman is around 1.5. 6 . In 2013, around 79 percent of the population aged 15 to 64 had a paid job. 7 . The   Swiss   are   an   educated   population   -   in   2013,   86   per   cent   of   adults   aged   25–64 had the equivalent of a high school diploma. 8 . Once   married,   many   women   do   not   work   -   childcare   is   not   readily   available,   children come   home   from   school   for   lunch,   shops   close   at   6pm,   and   in   2013,   voters   rejected an amendment which would make it easier for parents to combine work and family. 9 . Living   space   per   person   is   generous   -   the   2000   census   showed   the   average   figure   to be 44 sqm (474 sq ft). 1 0 . The   Swiss   enjoy   a   leisurely   drink   -   in   2012,   the   Swiss   downed   56.5   litres   of   beer   and 36   litres   of wine   per   person. A   lot   of   the   latter   is   homegrown   –   only   about   2   percent   of Swiss wine leaves the country. 1 1 . Switzerland    is    widely    recognised    as    an    international    research    centre    -    with    the private and public sector strongly promoting science and technology. 1 2 . Switzerland's   economy   is   based   on   highly   skilled workers   -   in   specialist   areas   such   as microtechnology,   hi-tech,   biotechnology,   pharmaceuticals,   as   well   as   banking   and insurance. 1 3 . Switzerland   is   the   best   place   in   the   world   to   be   born   -   according   to   the   Economist Intelligence   Unit's   (EIU)   2013   Quality   of   Life   Index,   a   survey which   takes   11   statistically significant   factors   into   account,   e.g.   how   happy   people   say   they   are,   crime   levels, trust   in   public   institutions,   climate,   employment,   gender   equality,   quality   of   family life and material well-being. 1 4 . Chocolate   is   a   major   Swiss   export   -   just   18   Swiss   chocolate   companies   made   172,376 tonnes of chocolate in 2012. 1 5 . More   than   half   of   Swiss   domestic   electricity   is   produced   by   556   hydroelectric   power plants   -   some   19   million   gigawatt   hours   a   year.   Hydropower   is   the   country's   most important renewable energy. 1 6 . CERN    (the    European    Organisation    for    Nuclear    Research)    is    the    world's    largest particle    physics    laboratory    -    based    in    Geneva    and    straddling    the    Swiss/French border.   Physicists   won   the   2013   Nobel   prize   in   physics   for   their   work   on   the   theory   of the    Higgs    boson,    one    of    the    building    blocks    of    the    universe,    which    was    finally discovered at CERN's Large Hadron Collider in 2012.
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