Living in Switzerland

Switzerland has a great deal to offer despite being a small country. It is renowned for its innovative power as well as for its quality of life, safety, banks, mountains, lakes, chocolate and cheese.

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Diverse and innovative

Switzerland has for years been a top performer on the Global Innovation Index and is renowned for its high standard of living. Mountains, lakes and a thriving cultural scene make an extensive range of leisure activities possible. Numerous European capital cities and sightseeing attractions can be reached in a short time.

  • Seat of government: Bern
  • Population: 8,417,700 (31 December 2016)
  • Surface area: 41,285 km2
  • Languages spoken: German, French, Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic
  • Currency: Swiss francs

Studying in Switzerland's economic centre

The Zurich region is home to Switzerland's biggest population. It is regarded as Switzerland's economic centre due to the many globally active companies in the industry and business service sectors. The main campus of the ZHAW School of Engineering is located in Winterthur. Switzerland's sixth largest city is 30 km from the metropolis of Zurich, where the ZHAW School of Engineering also has a campus. The journey from Zurich Main Railway Station to Winterthur takes around 20 minutes by public transport and Winterthur is only a 15-minute journey from the airport. The campus is directly adjacent to the town centre.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Switzerland is on a par with other European cities.

Depending on lifestyle, the cost of living is in the region of CHF 1200–2100 per month. Incoming students completing a SEMP/Erasmus+ exchange semester are supported with a contribution of up to CHF 420 per month.

Monthly expenditure in CHF

What from to
Rent and additional costs 500 800
Meals 400 700
Public transport 50 100
Leisure activities 150 250
Course materials 40 80
Sickness and accident insurance per month (only necessary if not covered by home country) 150 150
Other expenses 100 200
Total 1'390 2'280
  • No semester fees are incurred for SEMP/Erasmus+ students or students from universities with a bilateral contract. Fee payers and free movers pay CHF 1220.
  • One-off rental deposit for accommodation, to be refunded: CHF 500–1000.

Exchange semester application deadlines

The following deadlines apply to applications to the ZHAW School of Engineering:

Autumn semester Nomination deadline: 1 March
Registration deadline 1 April
Spring semester Nomination deadline 1 October
Registration deadline 1 November