Switzerland is a small country in the center of Europe with vast international significance. The Confoederatio Helvetica – as it is previously known – is a mix of German, Italian, and Romansh cantons against the then-Habsburg dynasty, all of which now enjoy equal status under the Swiss flag. The country is also segmented by Protestant and Catholic regions, and by northern and southern Europe. Despite these segmentations, the country’s commitment to unity and harmony is the backbone of Switzerland’s political and economic success.

Anything the Swiss do is of quality. From chocolates, and cheese fondue to watch-making and banking, the Swiss seal of approval ensure quality ingredients, workmanship, and cutting-edge technology. The same goes for education. Switzerland has always prioritized its quality of higher education, producing top universities in various cantons. Its research-focused character makes Swiss universities a top choice among international students.

But whether in or out of the classroom, students will have an excellent time in Switzerland. The country is one of the safest in the world that also provides quality living and English is widely spoken by the locals, making it easy to get around. From the majestic Swiss Alps and quaint villages to the grassy Jura mountains, one can never run out of wonderful natural sights to see in Switzerland. Its ability to keep the old while bringing in the new is what keeps people coming back.

Experience the best quality education, multiculturalism, and nature with some of the best cities to study in Switzerland for international students.

Top Cities in Switzerland to Study In

1. Zurich

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and is also deemed a top banking and finance center worldwide. Famous for the Swiss way of high discretion and low financial risk, it is home to famous global banking conglomerates such as UBS and Credit Suisse.

Located in the northern region of German-speaking Switzerland, Zurich flawlessly combines the old town charm of its districts along both sides of the Limmat River with modern lifestyle areas. Also known as the party capital of Switzerland, many students come to Zurich to let their hair down and enjoy the Swiss’s buzzing nightlife.

Zurich is also a place rich in art and culture. It is home to museums such as the Swiss National Museum and Kunsthaus, as well as the Schauspielhaus Zürich Theater which is considered one of the most important German theaters.

Zurich is surely one of the best cities in Switzerland to study in. Studying in this city will cost you a pretty penny, but check out these universities to find out why it’s well worth it:

  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
  • University of Zurich
  • Zurich University of Applied Sciences

2. Lausanne

Laussane is a French-speaking city that is also the fourth largest in Switzerland. The city is best known for its political and economic stability, translating to a peaceful way of life for locals and tourists alike.

Laussane is the judicial center of Switzerland. Sports fanatics might be interested to learn about Laussane’s central role in the realm of sport. Dubbed the Olympic Capital, the city houses the International Olympic Committee, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Olympic Museum, and more than 50 international sports associations.

Students can enjoy serene walks by Lake Geneva with runs parallel to the city, party it up in the city’s bustling nightlife, explore the city’s arts scene and old towns, or go skiing in one of many ski resorts in the area. With many top institutions in the city, students will never run out of fun, youthful activities outside the classroom. Check out the city’s top institutions:

3. Geneva

Geneva is another city in the French-speaking region of Switzerland with a large influence on the country. The city is bordered by natural beauty all around – Lake Geneva to one side, and the Jura and Swiss Alps to the other. It is also known as a global hub for diplomacy, headquartering various international organizations such as Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross. This makes the city a perfect destination for students pursuing careers in international relations and diplomacy.

As a top city international students can study in Switzerland, Geneva also holds its own as a university city – this place takes in the most international students in the country. With over 30% of its population coming from abroad, Geneva’s tolerance and multiculturalism are part and parcel of its culture, making it easy for foreigners to adjust.

Geneva may not be the more affordable place to live in, but its unique landscape, luxury boutiques, and old towns that pack a lot of charm are sights that cannot be missed out on. Check out its top universities:

4. Bern

Bern is found in the German-speaking region of Switzerland and acts as the country’s administrative capital. As such, it is also one of the most populous cities in the country. The country’s rolling hills and mountains are so beautiful that this small city is entirely considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yet despite its status, the city continues to keep up with the times while remaining cool and slow-paced – those who visit enjoy the relaxed way of life Bern provides.

Students can spend weekends hiking on nearby trails, strolling along with old towns or the River Aare, or sightseeing historically significant places such as the Federal Palace, Bern Minster Cathedral, and Bear Park. Summer is especially enjoyable for Bern, with many students lounging about enjoying Bärner Müntschi craft beers and listening to the city’s annual Gurtenfestival (music festival).

5. Basel

Basel is a city found along the banks of the Rhine River in northwest Switzerland. Unlike most cities where they are located in one cultural region of Switzerland, Basel straddles the borders of both France and Germany which makes it a part of both. This creates a more dynamic mix of cultures that makes the city a prime destination for international students.

Basel is one of the best cities for studying in Switzerland, especially for students pursuing careers in the fields of chemistry and pharmacy, as it is home to the world’s two biggest pharmaceutical industries – Novartis and Roche. It is also a favorite destination for students who wish to immerse themselves in the arts, especially music. The city is appreciative of classical, jazz, and techno beats and provides many opportunities for concerts at the city center.

While being a relaxed bunch, the people of Basel enjoy a good celebration. Catch the city’s famous 72-hour Fasnacht carnival is the largest in Switzerland, held on Ash Wednesday each year. Find out if Basel is a good fit for your study journey:


We hope that you found this article on the best cities in Switzerland for international students informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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