Information for international students
The pre-arrival checklist below provides you with all the necessary information about preparing yourself for your studies at the School of Management and Tourism in Sierre. This section of our website gives some general information and links to the more detailed documents that admitted students should read and process before they arrive in Switzerland.
- Study in the Valais region to make it to the top
- Residence Permit
- Visa Requirements
- Health and Accident Insurances
- Working while studying
- Public transport
- Cost of living
- Food & Gastronomy
- Going out
STUDY IN THE VALAIS REGION TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP
The School of Management and Tourism attaches great value to the quality of the courses it offers. Located in the heart of the Alps and in the middle of western Europe, the canton has several aces up its sleeve: bilingualism, pleasant living conditions which are conducive to learning and a low cost of living. State-of-the-art facilities at the school provide the best possible environment for the acquisition of new skills. The Valais is an attractive and peaceful region. It is a place where you can pursue your hobbies all year round in the midst of nature.
All students, except Swiss nationals and C-Permit holders, will be required to apply for a residence permit upon arrival in Switzerland. For this you need to visit the Office cantonal de la population (cantonal population office) or the relevant cantonal service within 14 days of arrival to request a residence permit.
It takes a few weeks for the permit to be issued.
For more information regarding residence permits, please contact the appropriate office in the canton in which you will be living:
- Valais : Service de l’état civil et des étrangers (http://www.vs.ch/Navig/navig.asp?MenuID=25628)
- Vaud : service de la population
In most countries students have to submit a student visa application at the nearest Swiss Embassy or Consulate. The visa can take up to 12 weeks to process.
Countries WITHOUT a visa requirement
If you hold a passport from one of the countries listed below, you do NOT need to apply for a visa to enter Switzerland:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The United Kingdom, Vatican City State.
Students will need the letter of acceptance and the deposit payment receipt to apply for their visa. Swiss authorities require advance payment of tuition fees (one or two semesters) in some countries in order to process a visa.
The school does not have any say over decisions concerning visa applications. All decisions are made by the relevant Swiss authorities.
For more information, please consult the following websites:
- Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Embassies, consulates and other missions abroad) - https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/fr/home/reps.html
- Federal Office of Immigration, Integration and Emigration - http://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/fr/home.html
WORKING WHILE STUDYING
While studying in Switzerland, international students are allowed to work a maximum of 15 hours a week. Full-time work is permitted during the semester holidays.
Students must notify the responsible immigration authorities of any employment pursued during their stay in Switzerland. Students from non-EU/EFTA countries are allowed to pursue gainful employment only 6 months after starting their degree program.
Sierre has plenty of suitable student accommodation. Students can rent a room in a private house or share an apartment with other students. The rental price of a furnished room costs approximately CHF 600.-/month. Costs for water, electricity supplies and heating are usually not included in this price. Bed linen and towels are not provided by the landlord and cooking utensils may or may not be supplied. Start looking for accommodation well in advance of the beginning of your studies.
If you want to rent a room or a studio on the private market, keep in mind that you will be required to pay a security deposit.
Here are few links to help you:
HEALTH AND ACCIDENT INSURANCES
All people residing in Switzerland are required to have valid health and accident insurance.
All persons living in Switzerland for more than three months, including international students, must have basic health insurance coverage. Students from countries that provide international mutual health coverage may be exempted from compulsory health insurance. Other students may be exempted if they have equivalent health insurance coverage in their home country.
Switzerland's public transport network is safe and efficient. Trains, trams, buses and boats cover the entire country. There are also extensive cycling routes.
With a reliable, efficient, clean and safe public transport network, it is easy to get around without a car in Switzerland. Train, tram and bus networks cover the entire country, and there are also extensive cycling routes, with bicycles easily available.
Buses, boats, trams, trains, and cable cars are all part of a coordinated and well organiszed infrastructure, with information and timetables available online and from tourism information centers.
Switzerland is one of the most environmentally conscious nations in the world, so being green is an integral part of life.
The alpine nation's central European location makes destinations throughout Europe easy to reach, by air, rail or road. A day trip to Milan, a weekend in Paris or a break in Barcelona are all easy options by public transport.
The bus network in the Valais is well organized. The website www.postauto.ch/en offers a multitude of options.
The rail network in Switzerland is well structured, convenient, and takes you almost everywhere. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, the Swiss Federal Railways, known as SBB in German, CFF in French, and FFS in Italian, offers a multitude of options.
There are 1st and 2nd class tickets. Validity depends on the means of transport and the distance travelled. "City tickets" from Swiss Federal Railways (SBB/CFF/FFS) include a one-day travel pass for buses or trams at the destination (http://www.cff.ch).
Type of Swiss train passes:
- Half-Fare pass. It allows half price travel on the entire Swiss public transport network. This includes all SBB/CFF/FFS railway routes, many private and mountain railways, boat and ferry crossings, and even post-buses (which provide connections in more remote areas). It is worth the investment if you are planning to be in Switzerland for more than just a short stay. There is a choice of one, two, or three year validity. Passes can be purchased online or at railway stations. Bring a valid passport or identity document and a recent photograph.
- Swiss rail general pass. If you use public transport frequently, the GA travelcard is worthwhile. This pass allows unlimited travel on public transport throughout Switzerland, not only on SBB/CFF/FFS and the many private railways, trams, buses, and boats, but also on certain cable cars and funicular mountain railways. With the general pass, the cardholder additionally benefits from travel discounts on many Swiss mountain railways and from discounts in neighboring countries such as Germany and Austria. Several options, including annual, monthly, and daily, are available. A GP entitles the holder to reductions on car rentals in Switzerland and discounted participation in car sharing schemes.
- Day passes. One-day travel passes, and 9 o'clock passes enabling unlimited travel on the entire Swiss transport network can be bought from SBB/CFF/FFS or from municipalities at varying rates. Municipalities only have a certain number available each month, so try to contact them early. For those interested in travelling at off-peak times, a limited number of supersaver discounted tickets are also offered.
- Track 7. It is a special offer for young people under 25, who hold a Half-Fare pass and are willing to travel at night. Travel in 2nd class is free from 7pm to 5am throughout the entire SBB/CFF/FFS public transport system.
- Single-fare tickets. Tickets can be purchased at ticket counters, machines, online, by mobile app or by the rail phone service 0900 300 300. Most stations have touch screen ticket machines operating in several languages. Most, but not all, machines accept cash and credit cards, so check first.
Taxis in Switzerland are expensive. The initial charge is on average CHF 6.50 plus CHF 3.50 per kilometer. The exact charge may depend on the canton, time of day, weekday, luggage, animals and whether you are crossing a cantonal border or not. Fares are state supervised and subject to change. A service charge is included in the fare so tipping is not obligatory. Taxis are available at public taxi stands but are difficult to hail in the streets.
COST OF LIVING
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc, although many shops do accept euros.
The average cost of living in Switzerland is higher than it is in its neighboring European countries.
For basic expenses such as food, housing, and public transport, students will need about CHF 1,500.- per month.
FOOD & GASTRONOMY
Most visitors to this country will have tasted cheese fondue accompanied with local white wine and milk chocolate at least once. Local gastronomy is based on rich and filling meals using seasonal ingredients. The Swiss are also fond of their local specialties like the meringue dessert with double cream in Gruyère, gingerbread in Basel called Leckerli, polenta in Ticino, fish in Neuchatel, many varieties of sausages in Vaud, St Gall and Appenzell, and dried meat in the Grisons.
What is less known about Switzerland is the presence of vineyards across the entire territory. Local wines are mostly for internal consumption and are adapted to international standards in terms of preparation and quality of taste. Another less known fact is the impressive list of Michelin starred and Gault & Millau recognized restaurants that are sometimes nestled in very remote locations.
Kaufleuten in Zurich, l’Usine in Geneva and the Moulin à Danse in Lausanne (MAD) are old factories that were turned into large dance clubs; they opened decades ago and still continue to lead the way. Many less well-known, newer venues, are worth an evening out.
Switzerland hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, You’ll find one to your taste every week in July and August. The season starts early in spring with specialized music festivals as well as performing and visual arts events.
Tourist information: www.myswitzerland.com
Latest news about Switzerland: www.swissinfo.ch
Exhibitions, festivals, shows in Suisse Romande: www.regart.ch
Parties & music events: www.tillate.com
Excursions and leisure in Suisse Romande: www.loisirs.ch