Switzerland, officially known as the Swiss Confederation, is a mountainous country located in western europe. Mostly famous around the world for its idyllic ski towns and chocolate, it is also known for how high its standards of living, education and work are. Switzerland is fast becoming a lucrative destination for Indian Students planning to study abroad.
Flanked by countries like Italy, France, Germany and Austria, Switzerland is a hub of cultures and languages with as many as four national languages. It is an ideal educational destination for those interested in degree programs related to language and culture. Known for having a rich topography, the country also provides a plethora of travel options for those living there.
Surrounded by the Alps on the south and north, and Jura Mountains on the west, about 60% of Switzerland’s land is mountainous. A bulk of the population resides in the northern half of the country, towards Central Plateau, for ease of life.
The plateau region is where the biggest cities and education institutions of Switzerland are located. The landscape is characterized by hilly, open pastures, and fields. For a small country, Switzerland encompasses quite the diversity of climates, from a warm summer to humid winters with sprinklings of periodic rainfall.
Due to its unique location and cultural leanings, Switzerland is a solid hub for tourism. The most popular destination is Zurich, a prestigious art trade centre with multiple renowned museums, galleries and theatres to browse through. Tips for the intellectual traveler: don’t miss this one, and make sure to invest in good walking shoes.
For nature lovers, cities like Interlaken offer a variety of adventure sports. Hikers and skiers will not run out of things to do here. History lovers will feel at home in Lucerne, a medieval city in central Switzerland teeming with historical sites and ethnic festivals.
Wondering how to get around? Switzerland boasts of the safest public transport system in the world, with trains and buses plying throughout the country. Bonus: there are daily, nightly and student train passes available for all kinds of tourists. For the adventurous types, cycling routes are scattered throughout the country and bicycles can be organized in a jiffy.
The dominant religion in the country is Christianity, although the state of Switzerland officially recognizes no state religion. Citizens are free to pursue any religion they like, as guaranteed by the constitution.
Most Swiss cantons, or member states, recognize Roman Catholic and Reformed Churches. More than 70% of the population identifies as Christian, although adherence to all religions in the country has been observed to be on the decline since the beginning of 20th century. Amongst minority religions, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are significant, while about 12% of the population identifies as atheist.
Politics and Economy:
Switzerland enjoys a robust, high-tech economy and is constantly ranked as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, thus providing unmatched quality of living and work environment to its citizens. Despite its miniscule size, Switzerland is the most competitive economy in the world and the richest country in Europe.
Trading, banking and tourism form the lucrative sectors in the country. Switzerland ranks relatively high on the ease of doing business scale as well. A booming economy ensures that there's no shortage of work, with unemployment rate being as low as 3.2%.
Elementary education is compulsory in Switzerland, with public schools starting with Kindergarten, and going upto Gymnasium, or high school. The model of every canton being responsible for its own educational policies has made Switzerland's school system efficient.
Why should high school students looking to study abroad consider Switzerland? For starters, Swiss universities rank pretty high on a worldwide scale, with University of Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich ranking 54th and 20th respectively. For Indian Students interested in humanities, University of Zurich is a hotspot with over a 100 Graduate and Post-Graduate degree programs.
With several official languages, and the presence of prestigious international organizations in the country, those interested seeking Master's in international relations and foreign languages will find a range of options here. However, English language fluency is a requirement for applying to Swiss Universities, as most of the curriculum is taught in English.
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