Education for the higher educated
Published on: 8 November 2013
Author:


Why study in Switzerland?

Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is a small country sharing borders with neighbouring Germany, Austria, the Principality of Liechtenstein, Italy and France. Switzerland has an area of 41,285 square kilometers, of which more than 60% is occupied by the Alps, a great mountain range stretching circa one thousand kilometers from Austria to France. Approximately 8 million people live in Switzerland, speaking four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh.

Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is a small country sharing borders with neighbouring Germany, Austria, the Principality of Liechtenstein, Italy and France. Switzerland has an area of 41,285 square kilometers, of which more than 60% is occupied by the Alps, a great mountain range stretching circa one thousand kilometers from Austria to France. Approximately 8 million people live in Switzerland, speaking four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh.


About Switzerland

As a country whose main resources are knowledge and research, Switzerland acknowledges the vital role played by foreign citizens in the drive for innovation, research and business acumen. And as Switzerland is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for education, its attraction for studying and research is well-established. The high proportion of foreign university students (27.6%), Ph.D. students (50.2%), teaching and administrative staff (44.5%) attests to this. Domestic policy places a high value on higher education, and Swiss universities are, as a consequence, generously funded public institutions. Switzerland’s investment in education and research is among the highest of all OECD1 countries. As a result, Switzerland boasts both the highest number of registered patents in all European countries and one of the highest numbers of Nobel Prizes pro capita in the world.


Swiss educational system

The Swiss educational system is as varied and exciting as the Swiss landscape. Mirroring the diversity of languages, cultures and history in Switzerland, it is built on a complex interplay between the Confederation, the cantons and the communes. While the Swiss Constitution guarantees autonomy to the country’s 26 cantons in the area of education, the Federal Government and cantons share responsibilities on higher education and on the tertiary level. The Confederation is responsible both for advanced vocational training and for the universities of applied sciences. In addition, it has jurisdiction over the two Federal Institutes of Technology and regulates and promotes research through the Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS). Each of the 10 university cantons is responsible for its cantonal university. Cantonal universities receive financial support from the Confederation and from those cantons which do not have their own university.


A prosperous economy

According to the WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, Switzerland is the most competitive economy in the world: “Switzerland retains its 1st place position again this year as a result of its continuing strong performance across the board. The country’s most notable strengths are related to innovation and labour market efficiency, where it tops the GCI rankings, as well as the sophistication of its business sector, which is ranked 2nd. Large multinational corporations such as Nestlé, Novartis and ABB have their headquarters in Switzerland. The financial sector, including banking and insurance, also plays an important role.


Environment and quality of life

Switzerland’s competitive economy has had a limited impact on environment. The 2012 Environmental Performance Index ranks Switzerland in the first position, mainly due to its use of hydroelectric power and its highly efficient public transportation system. A wellpreserved environment easily accessible by public transport, safe cities, and excellent infrastructures make living in Switzerland very pleasant.


Cost of Living for students

The cost of life in Switzerland is similar to that of big European cities. In most areas of Switzerland, cost of life is cheaper than Paris or London, although some items, such as food, are on average more expensive than elsewhere in Europe. For an estimate, depending on the exact location of the stay and on the entity of personal demands, living in Switzerland entails a monthly expense comprised between CHF 1,500.- and 2,500.- (this budget calculation for students considers housing, health insurance, food, daily transportation, small daily expenses, and educational material).

 

Lucerne in the heart of Switzerland

With its location in the heart of Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and close to the Alps, the City of Lucerne offers an array of leisure time activities. In spring and summer, Lake Lucerne and its beautiful surroundings are perfect for hiking, swimming or sailing. In winter you can enjoy some skiing in the nearby mountain regions which are less than an hour away from Lucerne.

The city of Lucerne is located right in the centre of Switzerland, which means that all other Swiss cities and regions are very close by. You can travel to Ticino, the southern part of Switzerland, in 2.5 hours or visit Geneva in less than 3 hours by train. Other European cities are close by as well. Why not spend the weekend in Milan, Paris or Munich?

Lucerne is one of the cultural centres of Switzerland. The world famous Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne (KKL), built by the famous architect Jean Nouvel, hosts the renowned Lucerne Festival, which attracts lovers of classical music from all over the world. During the year there are performances from artists from all musical genres. Cheap or reduced tickets are available at the KKL box office (often at the last minute).
In July, the Blue Balls Festival, which takes place at indoor and outdoor venues all around the shores of Lake Lucerne, including the KKL, brings together the best international musicians from all genres such as pop, blues, jazz and reggae.
The famous Lucerne carnival (Fasnacht) takes place in February and turns the city into one big party. The university even closes its doors during the carnival because everybody is out on the streets dancing in their costumes and admiring the carnival parade.

In addition to these traditional and cultural events, Lucerne has countless restaurants, bars and clubs that attract many young people from all over Central Switzerland.


About the University of Lucerne

The University of Lucerne is the youngest university in Switzerland. Its roots stretch back as far as 1600, but it has only existed as a modern university since 2000. In the decade since it was founded, the number of students has grown from approximately 250 to around 2700 today.
The University of Lucerne comprises three faculties: Theology, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Law. It holds the leading position in tertiary education in Central Switzerland, and is a key player in the fields of scientific research, education and further education. It helps to shape the economic life of Central Switzerland and is a driving force in regional and cross-regional development.
The University of Lucerne is located in central Lucerne next to the central railway station, the Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) and Lake Lucerne. The campus is 23,000 square metres in size and has seven levels, of which two are underground. All lectures are held in the main campus building, and the Main and University Library (ZHB Lucerne) is also located on the campus.


Social Life on Campus

The University orchestra, the choir, the amateur dramatics society and University Sports are all good places to meet other students, as are the on-campus foyer, cafeteria and café bar, which form the social hub of the university. The departments and student organisations actively help in all student matters, either as representatives on university committees, of the university itself, or as organisers of the numerous semester parties.


Student organisation

The University of Lucerne Student Organisation (SOL) is the official student association of the University of Lucerne. It represents students both to the university and to the general public. The SOL endeavours to create a pleasant environment for all students and constantly deals with the latest issues. Events organised by SOL provide a good opportunity for meeting new people.


Sources

1Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development www.OECD.org

 

For more information about Switzerland or Lucerne: