One of the wealthiest nations in the world, Switzerland boasts a high employment rate, low crime rates, and a fantastic standard of living. Within the course of a few hours, you can enjoy a huge metropolis like Zürich, sail on Lake Geneva, and then hop on a train to go skiing in the Swiss Alps. For those looking to jump start a career in business, finance, design, consulting, hospitality, science, or any other field that you can think of, consider Switzerland as your destination for an internship.
There are a variety of opportunities for both paid and unpaid internships depending on the field and availability. This is a terrific networking opportunity and a great way to provide you with the experience that you need to stand out from the competition.
Switzerland at a Glance
Domestic Population: 8.061 Million People
Capital City: Bern
Language: French, German, Italian, and Romansh
Currency: Swiss Franc
Trivia: Switzerland is bordered by Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and Liechtenstein.
Internships run throughout the year. Summer internships last anywhere from 4 week to 12 weeks depending on the position and how much time you can commit. Other internships can run to six months at a minimum so that you can gain a comprehensive overview of the inner workings of the company.
There are a variety of hospitality programs in Switzerland that tend to be seasonal, so winter programs are definitely an option. You will have the opportunity to live and work in hotels and inns in the Swiss Alps for the ski and snowboarding season.
Programs and Popular Cities
Hospitality graduates and students should really look into going to Switzerland for an internship since there is a wide range of positions open in diverse cities. Plus, many of these positions tend to be paid. Look for major hotel chains in Zürich, Geneva, Saas-Fee, and Zermatt.
Since Switzerland is a financial hub, there are many internship positions available for accountants, analysts, consultants, and marketing. While these internships tend to be unpaid, the experience and networking gained is invaluable and many provide the option of transforming your position into a full-time and paid gig. Basel, Bern, Zürich, and Geneva are top cities for these types of positions.
Geneva is one of the hubs of the United Nations and so affords a perfect opportunity for all interns interested in working in the fields of international aid and humanitarian work. There are many other NGOs and governmental organizations that are housed in Geneva, so this is a great choice for interns looking to break into a tough field.
Switzerland has distinct seasons with mild to hot summers and chilly winters. Make sure to research the potential weather before you travel and do not be afraid to pack a few layers, just in case. Altitude also great affects temperature changes and fluctuation, with the lowlands being warmer than mountainous regions.
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in Europe and the world, although there are ways to manage your cost of living. If you are able to find a paid internship, then salaries do take into account the high cost of living. Most hospitality positions will at least provide you with accommodation and food, sometimes even a ski or amenities pass.
If you are participating in an unpaid internship, then make sure to save up for this trip and to budget carefully.
If you are an EU citizen, then you will be able to work and live in Switzerland for 90 working days. Register this position within 14 days of arriving in country and you will receive a short term resident permit. After that time, you will need to register for a work and residence permit.
If you are not from an EU country, then you will need a short term residence permit prior to arriving in Switzerland.
In today’s competitive market, going above and beyond the competition is the only way to get the job of your dreams. Internships are a great way to help you accomplish this goal and you certainly will not go wrong with an internship in Switzerland. Take advantage of the wide range of possibilities and expand your experience and professional network. Enjoy your time in one of the most secure and comfortable countries in the world and take the time to travel, explore the outdoors, and build up your resume.