Best Swiss Cities: A Bit Of Travel And Study

by Vanessa Santillan

Famous for its gourmet chocolate, cheeses, sophisticated financial institutions, and high-tech watches, Switzerland has a selection of cities to entice almost any study abroad student; hospitality majors may be especially attracted to the country, since Swiss Hospitality Schools are one of the most popular educational facilities in Switzerland. A nation of 7 million people boasts over 5600 hotels and provides accommodations to over 35 million guests each year.

Zurich at sunset.
Zurich at sunset. Photo courtesy of Patrick Nouhailler

Bern Old Town, The City of Superlatives

The City of Bern has managed to retain its historic features and well preserved medieval town structural characteristics so extensively that it is on the UNESCO’s World Heritage site list. Bern city is best described as a city of superlatives; Bern is the oldest town in Europe, known as the most beautiful flower city of Europe, the birthplace of Albert Einstein's relativity theory, and the crib of Toblerone chocolates. Bern draws in hundreds chocolate lovers and hard core science or history fanatics alike.

Bern is also an important place for international students because it is home to the The Up with People program, a special mobility program for university students. The program allows students to participate in various professional conventions helping to maximize their study abroad experience in Bern. Students can also set up supplemental learning through connections made at the conventions, like independent study or research, which allow them to secure additional academic credits. 

Basel, An Industrial City With Art Infusions

Basel also overflows with a diverse culture and multifaceted history, mixed with modern art and architecture. The city has become prominently involved in the art world since the start of the famous Art Basel show, an art show that is known globally for its’ display of contemporary works.  Within the confines of the shows 37 kilometer zone rests more than 40 art museums. Without a doubt, this city is the home base and colorful playground for handfuls of renowned artists.

Roche and Novartis, two large international pharmaceutical companies, have their headquarters in Basel as well. One of the main reasons why the city is known to be the center of the Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical production and industry. Research has become an important activity in various university institutes to consistently contribute to the development of new drugs for these companies and maintain the flourishing businesses. International students interested in studying pharmaceutical research and chemistry, and alternatively aspiring student artists, may find Basel to be a perfect city to visit or study abroad in.

Zurich, The City of Money 

Studying in Zurich can be ultra-pricey, but students can still explore Switzerland's city of money without losing all their own money in the process. Here, everyone from street artists to party-goers to business executives flock to the city to discover a unique mix of adventures. Alongside refreshingly natural green, jaw-dropping mountain vistas are galleries, restaurants, museums, spas, and wineries that make the city truly appealing in every aspect. Transportation affordability comes with the Zurich Card which provides cardholders with free rides on public transportation that span Zurich's Metropolitan area; the card also includes free admissions to all museums, as well as discounts at local restaurants and shops. 

Zurich is not only for tourists or locals looking for a variety of activities, the city is also a vibrant place for teaching, research, and known for academic excellence. A broad range of art focused study abroad programs, such as design, film, media, dance, theater, and music exist at local universities. But Zurich is also an ideal setting for international students interested in interdisciplinary study abroad programs or career oriented programs. The city has a great reputation for higher education considered one of the top ten best cities to study in, in the world, and they frequently aspire even greater academic excellence. 

Geneva, The Smallest Metropolis in The World

Geneva’s large foreign population characterizes it as the smallest metropolis in the world. The city’s international population is easily represented in the area’s demographic statistics, more than 30 percent of Geneva’s total population are foreigners. There are many reasons students become attracted to studying in Geneva, from cultural activities to humanitarian organizations. Two examples of such international organizations are the United Nations and the Red Cross, which has its’ headquarters Geneva. The city is also well known as being the Capital of Peace, mainly due to the latter organizations presence.

The Swiss claim their great natural resource is education. International students are rest assured when studying in Switzerland because the Swiss set their standard high when it comes to quality of education, and Geneva is no exception. With such world-renown, global organizations the city’s universities must set their standard of education high.

Lugano, The Mediterranean City

As the city’s nickname, the Mediterranean city, suggests a multitude of Lugano’s characteristics scream Mediterranean. One of the main reasons for the nickname is the mild climate, a place where students can spend time sunbathing under palm trees, something not commonly expected in Switzerland. Artists in the earlier centuries considered Lugano their creative haven, residing in the city when creating their masterpieces; apparently, the Mediterranean-like atmosphere mixed with a bit of Italian culture brings about creative imaginations in Lugano. Amazing natural scenery are scattered throughout the city. Swiss culture is reflected throughout the city’s architecture in stunning cathedrals or extensive art museums, where pieces of art by artists such as Renoir, Degas, and Klee are display.

Lugano serves as the perfect spot in Switzerland to learn Italian. Various universities introduce Italian through effective learning methods and make sure sure students take Italian related courses. These types of study abroad programs are more recently offered by the new, innovative  Italian Institute of Studies. 

Lucerne, The Prettiest Swiss City 

Lucerne has become one of the most favorite destinations of individuals traveling to Switzerland. The city is naturally photogenic, making it even more attractive to tourists. Many things attract people to the city, iconic Swiss watch shops, the beautiful lakeside setting, and the nearby available excursions to mountains, including trips to Rigi, Pilatus and Stanserhorn. 

Lucerne isn’t only a favorite of tourists, students also enjoy the beautiful setting for expanding their education. The city of Lucerne has established a reputation as the worldwide tourism hub, and therefore it serves as the perfect destination for international students studying Hospitality or Tourism Management.