WELCOME TO SWISS!
ALL ABOUT SWISS
Switzerland is a country which has been proudly famous for its quality of education, cuisine, tourism, and financial stability. The world-renowned icon of Alps Mountain which ranges across the country represents its high-class superiority of hospitality.
Switzerland is a landlocked country in the heart of European continent with size of land around 41,285 square kilometres. The country itself is completely surrounded by France in the west, Germany in the north, Italy in the south, and Austria & Liechtenstein in the east which is also very prominent for the tourism.
The capital city is Bern as the centre of federal administrative. The biggest cities are Zürich (Zurich), Genève (Geneva), Basel, Lausanne, and Luzern which are also favourite destinations for Swiss tourism. There are lots of smaller municipalities around the country with smaller-size family economies.
The nature of Switzerland has been fascinating for centuries with the appearance of the physiographic division of the Jura, the Central Plateau and the Alps. The southern side of Switzerland is densely filled by the Alps which extend from the French border in the west to the German and Austrian border in the east. Clean air, crystal blue lake, green hills are the most iconic scenery of Switzerland during the spring, which is within seasonal interval changed into wonderful white during the winter. The symbol of the Swiss Alps is the Matterhorn and Mount Rosa as the highest point of Switzerland. The country is also crossed by three great river valleys; they are Rhone, Rhine and Aar. Also The Rhine Fall water flows throughout the years as the biggest waterfall in Switzerland.
Switzerland is scientifically categorised in Köppen climate classification as both Maritime Temperate climate in lower region in which the summer is mild with cloud cover and winters are milder than expected due to latitude; and the Tundra climate in the mountainous Alps region which the temperatures and snow fall correlate to altitude.
In some several representing cities, the climate is mild in which the people can live without extremity of the weather. For example, the federal capital Bern has average maximum temperature in July approx. 23.5 Celsius degrees, meanwhile the minimum temperature in January is approx. minus 4 Celsius degrees. The famous “Downtown Switzerland” Zürich has average maximum temperature in July with approx. of 23.6 Celsius degrees and minus 4.6 Celsius degrees as average minimum temperature in January. Snow should be a must in Switzerland!
Switzerland is included in the area of time zone division GMT +0100 which differs six hours later with WIB (Jakarta) time during winter time (which takes place at the end of October to the end of March). Switzerland does observe the Daylight Saving Time (DST) which in effect forwards the time one hour earlier. Switzerland is included in the area of time zone division GMT +0200 which differs five hours later with WIB (Jakarta) time during summer time following the common European instruction.
The government form in Switzerland is federal democratic republic with multiple political parties. The head of government is not held by sole person, but the power is found in the Swiss Federal Council which consists of seven council members, federal chancellor, and federal administrators. The federal council is located at Federal Palace (Bundeshaus, Palais fédéral) in Bern. The parliament for legislative works, or called Federal Assembly in Switzerland, also resides in the same palace as the Federal Council.
The political structure in Switzerland is also notable for its closest form of direct democracy as the Swiss citizens always vote in all referenda as the challenges for the law legislation to be passed in Switzerland.
Throughout the country, there are 26 cantons which were formerly sovereign states in confederation of Swiss under the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which later on united and became modern federal Switzerland under treaty signed in 1848. Nowadays, the cantons are considered to be equivalents with provincial administration division in other countries’ term.
In foreign relationships with European countries, Switzerland does not join the European Union and does not use the Euro as common currency in European mainland. However, Switzerland has implemented the Schengen Agreement of free movement with open borders with neighbouring countries in European Union. So, with a single valid Schengen tourist visa regardless the country of issuer, everybody can enter Switzerland without having to apply the separate tourist visa!
Switzerland has four national languages spoken in as daily linguistics for the Swiss. They are German, French, Italian and native Romansh. Those different languages are spoken in different regions; as an example, in Zürich and Genève people usually don’t speak the same languages. In the northern and centre region of the country which shares the border with Germany, the society there speaks German. In the western region that borders with France, French is mainly spoken. Meanwhile in the southern region, Italian is spoken due to its close distance with Italy. Romansh is an indigenous language for the natives of Switzerland which is spoken in the Graübunden area where the Rhine starts flowing. In statistical data, German is the majority language in Switzerland with 65% of the country area is declared to use German as official language; followed by French with up to 24% of the Swiss population speaking French.
English is used as the main foreign language in Switzerland. International organisations, such as FIFA which is based in Zürich uses English and French as the main correspondence languages. International universities in all throughout the country use English as the main language.
It is okay to only use English as a language of study in Switzerland, but it is advised to get acquainted with the language(s) of the region where you study in order to be able to integrate with the society better. The Swiss are very welcoming to all foreigners regardless their spoken languages.
Switzerland’s keyboard layout is same with the keyboard layout in Germany which the layout is QWERTZ instead of global QWERTY. No difficulties are needed to be feared in typing with German keyboard layout.
Switzerland as a typical European country, it must have well-managed transportation for mobility for sure. Being located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland has dense networks of railways, urban rails, mountain rails, motorways (expressways), and major international airports.
Swiss Federal Railways (SBB-CFF-FFS, Schweizerische Bundesbahnen-Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses-Ferrovie federali svizzere) operates the intensive railways networks that ease the mobility of the Swiss around the country. Switzerland is also very famous of incredible long, deep tunnels projects that connect the railways networks through the mountain without rerouting the railways around the mountain. With several good connections with international railways, such as German Deutsche Bahn (DB) or French NSCF, you can easily connect the train journey to Germany and France and also the journey to Austria, Italy, and further connections to other European countries.
Urban rails are mostly available and easy to use in major cities and municipalities. Trams and trolley buses are good choices to go anywhere in the Swiss cities. Metro (or Subway) is available in Lausanne in French-spoken area.
In order to reach the height of the mountains, Switzerland has very good mountain rails to get up people up there on the mountains. It’s a must to reach the Swiss’ best skiing areas.
Swiss airspace is very notable to have very well-managed ground services of major international airports. Zürich Airport and Genève Cointrin Airport both serve major international routes to Europe and other continents with very good transfer system. A lot of airlines have opened the fascinating routes to Switzerland through Zürich or Genève.
Swiss also has an international airport which is very famous for sharing the airport land area with three countries. It’s Euro Airport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg which is located in the border area between Switzerland, France and Germany.
Statistics released by the European Union in 2002 showed that Switzerland was the third most expensive country in Europe, after Norway and Iceland. The Swiss pay particularly high prices for meat, cooking oil, fish and vegetables.
Nevertheless, Swiss wages take the cost of living into account. A survey of 71 cities round the world carried out by the Swiss bank UBS in 2006 showed that it takes less time for workers in Switzerland to earn enough to buy a loaf and a hamburger than it does in many other countries.
Taxation in Switzerland is relatively low in comparison with the neighbouring countries.
Despite of the high cost of daily living in Switzerland, through smart calculation of careful spending, the expenditure in Switzerland would be less expensive or same to compare to other European countries. Students of hospitality will usually have periodical internship in quality hotels and they will get paid for that which can help to cover most of the expenditures.
A student’s monthly budget amounts to approximately SFR 1,800 for following expenses: food and upkeep from SFR 800 to SFR 850, lodging SFR 400 to SFR 600, tuition fees and supplies, transportation, insurance (approximately SFR 250).
The obligatory school system usually includes primary education (Primarschule in German, école primaire in French and scuola primaria / elementare in Italian) and secondary education I (Sekundarstufe I in German, secondaire I in French and scuola secondaria / media in Italian). Before that, children usually go to kindergarten, but it is not required.
Pupils are separated depending on whether they speak French, German or Italian.
At the end of primary school (or at the beginning of secondary school), pupils are separated according to their capacities and career-intentions in several (often three) sections. Students who aspire to an academic career enter high schools (named Gymnasium or Kantonsschule) to be prepared for further studies and the matura (normally obtained after 12 or 13 years of school at the age of 18/19) Students intending to pursue a trade or vocation complete only three additional years before entering Vocational Educations which are regulated by federal law and are based on a cooperation of private business offering educational job-positions and public schools offering obligatory school-lessons complimentary to the on the job-education. This so called “dual system” splitting academic and vocational training has its continuation in the higher education system.
Pupils are allocated to institutionally separate school types, according to their performance levels. Generally, each school type has its own adapted curricula, teaching material, teachers and, in some cases, its own range of subjects. In general, there are 2 to 3 school types (4 in a minority of cantons). In the structure with 2 school types, a distinction is made between the performance-based group at basic level (with the least demanding requirements), and the performance-based group at advanced level. In the structure with 3 school types, there is a performance-based group at basic level, a performance-based group at intermediate level and a performance-based group at advanced level. The requirements of the performance-based group at advanced level are the most demanding and this school type generally prepares pupils for transfer to the matura schools.
The cooperative model is based on core classes with different performance requirements. Each pupil is assigned to a core class according to his or her performance level. The pupils attend lessons in certain subjects in differentiated requirement-based groups (whereby the core classes are mixed).
The integrated model does not use different school types or core classes. Pupils with different performance levels attend the same class and mixing is maintained. In certain subjects, teaching occurs on differentiated requirement-based levels.
Tertiary education depends on the education chosen in secondary education. For students with a matura, university is the most common one. Apprentices who did a vocational high school will often add a Fachhochschule or a Höhere Fachschule to their curriculum.
Switzerland has the second highest rate of foreign students in tertiary education, after Australia.
There are 14 public and generic universities in Switzerland, 10 of which are maintained at cantonal level and usually offer a range of non-technical subjects. Of the remaining 4 institutions, 2 are run by the Swiss Confederation and are known as “Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology”.
Switzerland is well-known for its quality of private education system.
Switzerland has a high quality system of education that is relatively accessible to foreign students. The student population of some universities, for example, consists of over 40% foreign students, and this trend is on the upswing. At colleges or universities you will meet and associate with people from all over the world, giving you a very global outlook and politically neutral understanding of life.
The cost of tuition is comparable to US and there is a wide variety of programs to choose from. The quality of education is renowned and the environment is conducive to research. The student here has a wide variety of programs to choose from. These programs are in English. The Ph. D candidates are a paid work force.
The classrooms have few students in order to give individual attention to all. There are excellent facilities and the environment is safe. International students are welcome in Switzerland.
The most popular of the educational facilities for foreign students, are the Swiss Hospitality Schools. Located in various towns and cities across Switzerland, these schools are renowned worldwide for their high standards and are almost a pre-requisite for hospitality students looking for a first class education.
Since Switzerland has no raw materials, it must import, process and resell them as products. The service industries are arguably the most important part of the economy. These include banking, insurance and tourism. For what Switzerland lacks in raw materials, it makes up for in highly skilled manpower with superior technological expertise.
Having free time to relax and be on vacation in Switzerland can be pretty excellent in term of Swiss standards. Being rich in nature scenery, history, cuisine, et cetera, Switzerland does offer you varied range of things to do there.
For nature and history lover, there are numbers of places to visit to enjoy the fascinating Swiss nature:
The seven wonders
• The Castle of Chillon: near Montreux
• The Lavaux vineyards: on the shore of Lake Geneva
• The Castles of Bellinzona: in the southern canton of Ticino
• The Abbey of St. Gallen
• The Top of Europe and the Sphinx observatory: a “village” with a post office on the 3,500 metres high Jungfraujoch above Wengen
• The Grande Dixence: a 285 metres high dam, south of Sion
• The Landwasser viaduct: on the railway between Chur and St. Moritz
• The northern walls of the Jungfrau and Eiger: two of the most celebrated mountains in the Alps, they can be seen from the valley of Lauterbrunnen or from one of the many summits that can be reached by train or cable car
• The Aletsch Glacier: the longest in Europe, the Aletsch wild Forest is located above the glacier, best seen from above Bettmeralp
• The lakes of the Upper Engadine: one of the highest inhabited valley in the Alps at the foot of Piz Bernina, they can be all seen from Muottas Muragl
• The Lake Lucerne: from the Pilatus above Lucerne
• The Oeschinensee: a mountain lake with no rivals above Kandersteg
• The Rhine Falls: the largest in Europe, take a boat to the rock in the middle of the falls
Shops and luxuries are ubiquitous in major cities in Switzerland with comparable retail prices. Cuisine is a must try in Switzerland to have the authentic handmade chocolate works and cheese fondues in the mouth.
- Switzerland is ranked 2nd highest living expectancy in the world after Sweden.
- Switzerland has the 4th highest nominal GDP per capita in the world (after Luxembourg, Norway and Iceland).
- The Swiss flag is one of only two square sovereign-state flags, the other being the flag of the Vatican City.
- Some of the world’s most famous companies are Swiss, such as Adecco (human resources), Credit Suisse (banking), Lindt & Sprüngli (chocolate), Logitech (electronics), Mövenpick (hotels), Nestlé (food), Novartis (pharmaceuticals), Richemont (luxury goods), Schindler (lifts/elevators), Swatch (watches), UBS (banking), or Winterthur (insurance).
- Switzerland has more than 1,500 lakes.
- Switzerland has the highest consumption of soft drinks in the world!
- 60% of Switzerland’s electricity is produced by hydroelectric power.
- Be punctual. That means no more than one minute late, if that! Not surprisingly for a country that is known for making clocks, the Swiss have a near-obsession with being on time.
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