Switzerland, famous for its financial centers, political and social stability, also prides itself on a long-standing tradition in education. Reflecting the multicultural characteristics of the Helvetic Confederation, the Swiss system offers an open and dynamic international learning environment. The country's four language regions (German, French, Italian, and Romantsch) spread over 26 cantons and semi-cantons form a unique intersection of different cultures, religions, and traditions, leading to a great wealth and diversity of the applied learning opportunities.
The inherent diversity of Swiss culture originally led to complex educational regulations. As the regulatory environment is reformed in the coming decade, though, a unified, streamlined educational system is expected to emerge. The integration of the Bologna Declaration and uniform Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral degrees are expected to result from this effort, yielding the consistency of standards necessary for the global acceptance of Swiss training.
This multicultural and open international environment has fostered the growth of a broad range of private educational institutions and a system of respected public universities across the country's different language regions. Traditionally, these institutions have provided a challenging and enriching learning experience. These strong factors have made and continue to distinguish Switzerland as a valuable, dynamic, and prominent contributor to global education.
The advantages of Swiss education can be found in the singular focus on personal attention and detail, as exemplified by the country's culture. Unlike many other countries, Switzerland has built a strong service-oriented educational offering, emphasizing scientific research, economics, and business, based on industry relevance and practical application.
Over the years, several universities such as the Universities of Zurich, Bern, Basel, the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have been recognized as global leaders in research within their respective fields, famous for the cultivation of innovative thinking and successful delivery.
In the field of business education, the International Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, the University of St. Gallen, and Swiss Management Center (SMC) have developed leading global business programs, distinguishing themselves through innovative delivery and teaching methodologies. Other institutions, such as Webster University and the University of Massachusetts blend American-style education with Swiss tradition, targeting a young international student body.
The International University in Geneva, which celebrated its 10th Anniversary in May 2007, has re-aligned its Bachelor programs into a three-year curriculum in order to be compatible with the Treaty of Bologna Agreement in Europe. In addition, a new specialization in luxury management will be offered from September 2007. The University proposes Bachelor and Master Programs in Business Administration and Media and Communication, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. "The International University is a dynamic institution founded with the aim of providing an international business education in a multicultural environment" commented Mr. Eric Willumsen, President of the University.
Hospitality management also participates in the robust Swiss educational tradition. Renowned institutions are the Hotel School of Lausanne, the Glion Hotel Management Group, and Cezar Ritz. These have built programs standing out through offering a strong combination of theory and practical application, exposing students to a real world environment through their in-house hotel businesses.
Private high schools in Switzerland enjoy particular distinction. Programs at Le Roset, College du Leman, International School of Geneva, and Leysin American School are among the most well-known and reputed establishments in the field. Combining unparalleled educational experiences and attractive leisure activities, Swiss high schools provide a comprehensive learning environment for international youth in a safe social setting.
Substantiating its reputation for innovation, Switzerland has gained a recent edge in distance learning. Reaching out via technologically-advanced online learning systems, "Swiss Education" has become available both to traditional and continuing education students at any place and time. The best example is Swiss Management Center (SMC), which has grown into one of the field's international leaders, offering truly flexible and comprehensive online MBA and Doctorate programs to students from more than 60 different countries. Considering the continuous learning needs of professionals in the increasingly global marketplace, SMC's carefully designed curricula blend sound economic theory and applied managerial skill into a career-enhancing solution. The core of SMC's student body has an advanced professional standing and often resides at the very top of internationally renowned organizations and businesses.
Swiss education has presented its exacting values and tradition over decades while evolving into a global force. Combining rigorous standards, faculty and curriculum quality, and personal attention, Swiss educational programs have embraced open learning and innovative thinking to create a learning environment that remains pertinent to practitioners. Competitive program prices and living costs reinforce Switzerland's position among the global education elite while ensuring continued prominence in the future. Tomorrow's visionaries are studying in Switzerland today.