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Are you looking for the opportunity to boost your career development with an internship in Switzerland? Working in Switzerland is a very smart choice, as it ranks highly in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, economic competitiveness, and human development. Everything is efficient, the infrastructure is designed for the general welfare of the people, and public spaces are incredibly beautiful and well maintained.
In addition to all of this, Switzerland’s Alpine landscape of mountain peaks and lakes is world famous, and there are plenty of old cities to be visited during your free weekends.
When looking for a job, it is important to bear in mind that there are significant regional differences in the Swiss labour market. Geneva is the area with the highest percentage of foreign workers, and many work in one of the many international institutions based there. The banking industry is centered mainly in and around Zurich, whereas Basel is the main hub for the Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Companies that offer internships in Switzerland include %employers%.
A large number of international institutions have their seats in Switzerland, in part because of its policy of neutrality. Geneva is the birthplace of the Red Cross and hosts many UN agencies, as well as being the home of the second largest United Nations Office in the world.
Furthermore, many sport federations and organisations are located throughout the country, such as the International Basketball Federation in Geneva, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in Nyon, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) both in Zürich, the International Cycling Union in Aigle, and the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne.
As in any foreign country, speaking the local language is a definite advantage. For your job search, consider the main local language in the area where you wish to work. Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Rhaeto-Roman, although the last two are spoken by less than 10% of the population. If you’re aiming to work in an international institution or large multinational company, much of the work may be conducted in English with other non-Swiss nationals. However, for national or smaller Swiss companies, you will almost certainly be required to have a basic command of the local language.
If you are a foreign student looking for an internship then you will be facing some stiff competition, as Switzerland has the highest rate of foreign students in tertiary education in Europe. The best ways to find a job in Switzerland (apart from creating a job agent on Graduateland, of course) are looking for job offers, stellenmarkt in German or offres d’emploi in French, in the Wednesday edition of local newspapers or on internet job boards. Employment agencies also play a very important role in the Swiss recruitment market. You can also contact the office of the chamber of commerce of your home country in Switzerland. Chambers of commerce sometimes receive requests from companies trying to fill a position with someone from a specific country, and some even have a database of open job positions.
Tip 2: Be aware that the requirements for job applications in Switzerland may be different from what you are used to. Check the points where you can adapt your CV, cover letter, and communication with employers to local standards.
Being an intern in Switzerland also has its downsides. First of all, the high quality of life comes at a very high cost, as Zürich and Geneva have become the most expensive cities in the world following the appreciation of the Swiss Franc. The Swiss are a population of renters: nearly 70 percent of people are tenants rather than owners, and as a result, a pointed shortage of apartments in both cities and towns has developed. Expect to spend between 400 and 1,000 Swiss Francs a month on rent and utilities.
Private health insurance in Switzerland is also compulsory, and expensive. The government does grant cash subsidies to those who find the monthly premium is equal to or above eight percent of their monthly salary. On average, expect to pay 4,200 CHF for health insurance annually. On the flip side, salaries in Switzerland are also among the highest in the world.
It is also quite hard to find a part-time internship that is academically relevant. Most Swiss students have service-oriented part-time jobs such as a sales assistant or waiter. Most organizations offer full-time internships for postgraduates of summer opportunities for undergrads.
You should also remember that if you intend to work for more than three months you would need to obtain a formal permit for residence and work. In general, EU and EFTA nationals have little difficulty in obtaining their work permit. However, when you apply for a job in Switzerland, get in touch with the cantonal immigration office to find out if the quota limit has already been reached.