The country’s spectacular landscape includes snow-capped Alps and grassy hills spotted with grazing cows together with 1,500 sparkling, crystal-clear lakes.

During the week, high school students usually focus on homework and after-school sports, music lessons and extracurricular clubs. During the weekends, teens participate in various clubs or are involved in community activities such as village festivals, gymnastics meets or historic celebrations. Plan on lots of opportunities to go skiing, hiking or getting together in cafés and going out dancing with your friends.

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.

A photo posted by Lucia Bonazzi (@lucia_bonazzi) on Sep 29, 2016 at 11:00am PDT

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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A photo posted by Irene Grossetto (@gin90611) on Sep 12, 2016 at 12:38pm PDT

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

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.
TEEN PROGRAMS (UNDER 18 YEARS OLD)

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.

ADULT PROGRAMS (18 YEARS OR OLDER)

The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.   

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