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Making sense of and comparing university degrees in Switzerland, the US and the UK

This well-written article, ‘BA? Liz? Or Diplôme’, by Kim Hays, an American living in Switzerland, was published in March 2001 in ‘Swiss News’ magazine. In a recent email exchange, she explains that very little has changed since then. “As far as I can tell, the only truly outdated bit is that Swiss universities no longer…

Swiss Apprentices Get New Futures

By Kim Hays In Switzerland, around two-thirds of the youngsters who finish their compulsory nine years of school become apprentices. But don’t let the medieval sound of that fool you. It’s true that the apprenticeship program in Switzerland dates back to the Middle Ages, but today it’s part of a complex vocation-education program involving everything…

Residence Permits

Swiss residence permits fall into a number of categories, as shown below. Limited Validity (L) Permits An ‘L’ permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung L, permis de sejour L), issued in a purple cover, is for a limited period (begrenzte Gultigkeitllimitierte Gultigkeit, duree limitee), usually up to 12 months but can be extended for another 12 months. It’s generally…

Work Permits

EU Citizens On 1st June 2002, a new permit system was introduced for most EU citizens under a bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the EU. This agreement applies to EU nationals from: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland (EEA), Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein (EEA), Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway (EEA), Portugal, Spain, Sweden…

Permits and Visas

Before making any plans to live or work in Switzerland, you must ensure that you have a valid passport (with a visa if necessary) and the appropriate documentation to obtain a residence permit. The laws regarding work and residence permits for European Union and European Free Trade Association nationals (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), which together comprise…

Other conditions

Education & Training Education and training (Schulung und Ausbildung, enseignement et formation) provided by your employer should be stated in his general terms. This may include training abroad, provided it’s essential to your job (although you may need to convince your employer). In addition to relevant education and training, employers must provide the essential tools…

Retirement and Pensions

Your employment conditions may be valid only until the official Swiss retirement age (Ruhestand, retraite), which is 64 for women and 65 for men. If you wish to continue working after you’ve reached retirement age, you may be required to negotiate a new employment contract. Company Pension Fund Membership of a company pension fund (Berufliche…

Insurance

Accident Insurance Accident insurance (Unfallversicherung, assurance accidents) is mandatory for all employees in Switzerland. Occupational accident insurance is paid by your employer and covers accidents or illness at work, and accidents that occur when travelling to and from work or when travelling on company business. Private accident insurance contributions vary according to your employer from…

Salary & Benefits

Your salary (Salär/Gehalt, salaire) is stated in your contract, where salary reviews, planned increases and cost of living rises may also be covered. Only general points, such as the payment of your salary into a bank account and the date of salary payments, are usually included in an employer’s general terms. If the salary payment…

Employment Contracts

Under Swiss law a contract exists as soon as you undertake a job for which you expect to be paid. For many Swiss, their word is their bond (in mountain areas, contracts are often oral and sealed by a handshake); however, even if you’re employed only part-time, you should insist on a written contract. You…

Employment Conditions

Employment conditions (Arbeitreglement, reglement de travail) in Switzerland are largely dependent on cantonal laws, an employee’s contract, and an employer’s general terms. In general, foreigners are employed under the same working conditions as Swiss citizens. This usually means that salaries, fringe benefits and working conditions are among the best in the world. Employees hired to…

Teaching Resources

Due to the growing interest in moving language teaching online, we’ve created a selection of resources to assist you make the transition.  There are a broad range of diverse links below relating to online teaching, e.g. free online courses to help you get started, information about ICTs for language teaching, resource repositories, webinars about online teaching and so much more.  We hope this information helps you to…

Education / Training

The two articles in this section provide an overview of the two basic pillars of the Swiss education system. One provides an insightful view of Switzerland’s very successful apprenticeship training, with explanations and examples of people who share their experience. The other illuminates the differences between the tertiary level training offered in Switzerland, the U.S….

Teaching EFL in CH

Qualifications In general, quality private language schools require a TEFL/ TESOL Certificate (see below). Some method schools do not require this qualification but may require that you follow their own training course, which sometimes means unpaid teaching hours. The pay rates may be below that offered by schools requiring a TEFL qualification. State schools require…

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