Professional opportunities

The education system and labour market in Switzerland will be different from your country of origin. Perhaps the subject you have previously studied does not exist or the training for a certain career is designed differently here.

You should therefore do some research in order to make an informed decision. Find out which training and career you would like to pursue in Switzerland. What are your options?

Seeking advice from experts is ideal: They know the Swiss education system and labour market well and will be able to give you in-depth explanations.

  • Careers Advice

    Every canton offers its individual careers service (often referred to as BIZ, Career guidance and information centers, see contacts below) where you can seek vocational, educational and career guidance. Advisers will be able to inform you about the different training pathways open to you. They also have a good idea if the training you are interested in gives you easy access to the job market. Make an appointment to get face-to-face advice and you will be in a better place to assess your situation and the options available to you.

    Some careers services have advisers who are specialised in giving advice to migrants.

    Young people are usually able to seek advice in their town or canton free of charge.

  • Insight into studying (trial study programme & attending a lecture)

    The best way to find out whether a degree programme in Switzerland meets your expectations is to attend lectures or seminars. This is particularly helpful if you are unsure whether you would like to go to a university or university of applied sciences or which degree programme would suit you. You can gain an insight into a degree programme in various ways:

    • 1) Taking part in a taster semester or auditing project

      Many universities and universities of applied sciences in Switzerland organise taster and auditing projects. These projects allow you to attend courses at the university for 1-2 semesters. As an auditing student, however, you are not a registered student. You are not enrolled at the university and cannot obtain a degree. The projects allow you to find out how studying in Switzerland works and whether you have the necessary knowledge.

      Many of these projects offer you the support of a mentor. This allows you to exchange ideas with a student. Some projects also enable you to improve your language skills in a course, make it easier for you to gain admission to the subsequent degree programme or allow you to earn credits that can be credited to you as soon as you are admitted to the degree programme. Find out more directly from the individual projects.

      By taking part in a taster or auditing project, you can improve your language skills, prepare yourself for your degree programme and, above all, find out whether a degree programme in this field is right for you.

      These projects are time-consuming. They will be beneficial if you are looking for a regular activity or if you are preparing for university admission.

      A range of higher education institutions in Switzerland offer opportunities of this kind. If the institution of your choice does not have a taster or trial programme on offer, you can contact the respective student union. Alternatively, get in touch with us:

    • 2) Attend a single lecture

      If there is no taster programme at your chosen university or if this is not possible for you for various reasons, you can attend a course independently. To do this, look for an interesting course in the course catalogue and contact the professor personally. Explain who you are, what you would like to do and why you would like to attend the course. With the permission of the professor in question, you can attend a single lecture.

  • University open days

    Most higher education institutions put on open days. You will be able to go along and chat to people on the course of your interest. Go to (available in German, French and Italian) and swissuniversities (top right) where you will find further information and key dates for open days.

  • Coaching offers

    Cantons, aid organisations and municipalities sometimes offer coaching services to support highly qualified refugees. These are often complementary to the support provided by the social worker. After a socio-professional assessment, a goal for training or or entry into the labour market is defined together and the process is accompanied by the coach. It is often not possible to register for the projects yourself and registration takes place via your social worker. In several German-speaking Swiss cantons, for example, there is the HEKS MosaiQ project or in French cantons the programmes offered by the Association découvrir. There are also various smaller regional programmes that your social worker is aware of.

Overview of university projects

Many Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences have guest student projects that allow you to take a look at a study programme. At the same time, they might help you with the regular admission process in order to continue your academic career in Switzerland. Here you will find an overview and all the contact details.

Overview of vocational, academic and career counselling

Many cantons have both a general and an academic careers advice centre and advice offices at several locations. The central career counselling centres also often offer the opportunity to research various professions independently. Here you can find the various counselling centres in your canton of residence (in German & French).

The following websites also offer helpful information:

Study areas & fields of study (in German & French)

Training and further education at universities (in German & French)

Free study choice checker (in German)

Study in Switzerland

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