University of Technology, Sydney

Staff directory | Webmail | Maps | Newsroom | What's on

MAJ09441 Switzerland

Located in the centre of Europe, Switzerland shares borders with France, Germany, Italy and Austria. The nation has four official languages (French, German, Italian and Romansh) with each one spoken in a different region.

Switzerland is known for spectacular natural landscapes, great skiing, festivals, fine chocolates, wine and cheese. Beyond these stereotypes, the country is also a major player in banking, politics, diplomacy and other areas of global cooperation, hosting the United Nations and the International Red Cross, among other organisations. Culturally diverse, the country is organised on a federal system (cantons) with a unique form of participatory democracy.

Language strands in the Switzerland major

There are no restrictions on entry to the Switzerland major and there are three individual language strands to choose from:

  • Switzerland (German)
  • Switzerland (French)
  • Switzerland (Italian)

No previous knowledge of the German, French or Italian language is required. However, students who have already studied one of these languages can enter the degree and continue with their language study at a higher level at UTS before going to study in Switzerland.

The major also has a fourth option known as the Switzerland (bilingual) strand. If a student is already proficient in one of Switzerland's languages (French, German or Italian) before commencing their International Studies degree at UTS, this strand allows them to study an additional language. This is a popular option for students who have grown up speaking French, German or Italian and/or have studied one of these languages in high school (or equivalent), and who wish to pick up an additional language at university. Students can choose any bilingual combination, for example: French and German; Italian and German; or Italian and French.

Note: the bilingual option is not available to students who are starting their degree as beginners or with only limited proficiency in French, German or Italian. Those students should choose one of the three individual language strands listed above.

In-country study locations

Depending on the language(s) chosen, students in the Switzerland major spend two consecutive semesters studying at one of the following UTS partner universities during their in-country study year:

  • Université de Lausanne
  • Universität Bern
  • Universität Zürich
  • Université de Fribourg
  • Université de Neuchâtel
  • Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano)

Students in the Switzerland (bilingual) strand may study at two different universities during their in-country study year.

Students are assessed on each semester separately. Assessment is based on the subjects studied at the host university, as well as project work administered by UTS: International Studies.

The costs of living in Switzerland are generally slightly higher than in Australia. On the whole, accommodation is cheaper than in Sydney but eating in restaurants is considerably more expensive. It is, however, possible to spend a year there on an amount roughly comparable to living away from home in Sydney.

Neuchâtel

Neuchâtel is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland on the north-western shore of the Lake of Neuchâtel. The city is located between the Jura mountains and the Alps and is surrounded by countryside and vineyards. It is also in the heart of the Swiss watchmaking region.

The Academy of Neuchâtel was founded in 1838 and the full university was established in 1909. Approximately 4000 students attend the university. Eighty per cent are Swiss nationals and 20 per cent are international students. The university is a public university and is also part of the 'BeNeFri' Network (linking the Universities of Bern, Neuchâtel and Fribourg, allowing students to study at all three campuses in the nearby cities). The university has five faculties: Humanities; Science; Law; Economics; and Theology.

Semester dates are mid-February to early June for the summer semester and mid-September to end December for the winter semester.

www.unine.ch

Lausanne

Lausanne, in French-speaking Switzerland, is built on a series of steep hills with views of Lake Geneva and the snow-capped mountains of the Alps in the distance. The Université de Lausanne (UNIL) has around 10,000 students and seven schools (Law; Arts; Social and Political Sciences; Business; Science; Medicine; and Religious Studies) mainly located at Dorigny, a 10-minute metro ride from the city centre.

Semester dates are mid-February to early June for the summer semester and mid-September to end December for the winter semester.

www.unil.ch

Bern

The capital of Switzerland, Bern was founded in the 11th century and its old city ('Altstadt') has UN World Heritage listing. The city lies in the centre of Switzerland about 20km north of the Alps.

The University of Bern was founded in 1834 and has seven faculties comprising: Humanities; Social Sciences; Law; Theology; Economics; Medicine (including Veterinary Medicine); and Natural Sciences. The university is located in the city's traditional student quarter, 'Länggasse', and is very close to the main railway station. The university is also part of the 'BeNeFri' Network (linking the Universities of Bern, Neuchâtel and Fribourg, allowing students to study at all three campuses in the nearby cities).

Semester dates are mid-February to early June for the summer semester and mid-September to end December for the winter semester.

www.unibe.ch

Zürich

Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland, with an international atmosphere and a vibrant cultural life. It is located on the shores of Lake Zürich about 30km north of the Alps.

The University of Zürich was founded in 1833 and is one of the highest ranked universities in Europe. Its seven faculties are: Theology; Arts (including Social Sciences); Mathematics and Sciences; Law; Economics; Medicine; and Veterinary Medicine. With around 2000 academic staff and over 20,000 students, the University of Zürich is the largest institution of higher education in Switzerland, offering the widest range of courses.

Semester dates are mid-February to early June for the summer semester and mid-September to end December for the winter semester.

www.unizh.ch

Fribourg

Fribourg was founded in 1157 and its old part of town, with a Gothic cathedral, narrow streets, wooden and stone bridges, museums and cafes, constitutes one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval cities in Europe. While the majority of the population is French-speaking, the city is on the border with the German-speaking part of Switzerland and the university offers classes in German as well as French. The healthy population of students that live in the town contribute to the vibrant rhythm of life in Fribourg and are an integral part of its unique atmosphere.

The university developed from the initial Academy of Law established in 1763. The current buildings are located around the city (thus a 'city' university rather than a 'campus' one). The university is also part of the 'BeNeFri' Network (linking the Universities of Bern, Neuchâtel and Fribourg, allowing students to study at all three campuses in the nearby cities).

The university currently teaches approximately 10,000 students: 82 per cent are Swiss nationals and 18 per cent international students. Semester dates are mid-February to early June for the summer semester and mid-September to end December for the winter semester.

www.unifr.ch

Lugano

Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking province of Ticino in the south of Switzerland. The city lies on the shores of Lake Lugano and is approximately 10km from the border with Italy. The surrounding mountains and lakes, and the fact that Lugano lies south of the Alps, gives it a milder climate than most of Switzerland.

The Università della Svizzera italiana (the 'University of Italian Switzerland') in Lugano is the only Italian-speaking university outside Italy. It therefore serves as a bridge between the northern Italian region Lombardy and the rest of Switzerland, with the goal of preserving the language and culture of Italian-speaking Switzerland. The university comprises four faculties and has a student population of around 3000. Semester dates are mid-February to early June for the summer semester and mid-September to end December for the winter semester.

www.usi.ch

Completion requirements

976001  Foundations in International Studies  8cp
976404  Contemporary Switzerland  8cp
977460  In-country Study and Fieldwork Project 1: Switzerland  24cp
978460  In-country Study and Fieldwork Project 2: Switzerland  24cp
CBK90417  Switzerland Language and Culture  32cp
Total  96cp