Youth For Understanding USA
Early Bird Header Image
What kind of exchange experience do you want?
I want to spend a all program lengths  studying in Switzerland, or maybe all regions. And I'm looking for something with a traditional exchange  and I definitely want to show off my need for  any language skills. Can I go whenever?
  • All around the world.

    all regions
    Africa & Middle East
    Asia & Pacific
    Eastern Europe
    Latin America
    Scandinavian Countries
    Western Europe
    North America
  • Pick a place, any place.

    Say what?

    Any language requirements?

     Any  Yes  No
  • What I'm into.

    a traditional exchange
    a gap year option
    college & university programs
    language classes
    a connection to the Arts
    sports & outdoors
    a volunteer program
  • How long I want to go.

    All program lengths

    When can I leave?

    May to September
    December to March
Show me my options >


Scholarships Available

385 - Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Stud...
368 - YFU Community Grant
384 - YFU Financial Aid Fund

Age Requirement

Fall Programs: March 1, 2001 - September 1, 2003. Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate from high school before the start of their program will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.


Romansch, Italian, German and French. For French-speaking program: 2 years of French language study is required. German-speaking program: None. Students will take language training courses while on program.

Host Family Placement

Most host families are located in small cities or villages close to metropolitan areas. Swiss families usually eat dinner together. Dinnertime is the perfect opportunity to discuss what happened during the day, to share ideas, and make plans for the weekend or holidays.


August to mid-July, with holidays throughout the year. School is usually from 8:45am-3:00pm. Lessons are usually about 45 minutes, and are separated by short breaks.


A four or five-day ski camp in a Swiss skiing resort. This trip is organized by YFU Switzerland and with an additional fee includes room and board, ski pass, and travel from the host family to the destination.

Once you see the breath-taking beauty of the Alps, lakes, and castles of Switzerland, you'll realize why Swiss culture revolves around nature and the outdoors. Have a YFU exchange experience in one of the most ecologically aware countries in the world!
Learn more about Switzerland.

Academic Year Programs

Study in Switzerland and choose whether you would like to live and attend school in a French-speaking or German-speaking area!


School: As an exchange student in Switzerland, you will be enrolled in a Gymnasium/collège, which is a high school for university-bound students. As Swiss schools tend to be academically challenging, be prepared to work hard! The Swiss school system is quite decentralized, which means that your school experience may vary depending on where you are located. Some Swiss schools offer extracurricular activities and events to their students, and exchange students may have the opportunity to join in on many extracurricular events that may be happening in your community.


Orientations: All students applying for a semester or year program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation, which usually takes place in mid-July. This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas. All students will participate in a one-day local pre-departure orientation in May or June. There will be a one-week orientation camp a few weeks after your arrival. In January, you will participate in a mid-term orientation, which includes a four-day ski camp in the Alps. Before your return home, you will have a re-entry orientation with other year students in Switzerland. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.


Intensive Language Orientation: Students who have less than two years of language study for German-speaking Switzerland will be enrolled in an intensive four-week language training option available for an additional fee of approximately CHF1,100. Students are encouraged to start studying German immediately after they have been accepted to the program.


Students wishing to study abroad in French-speaking Switzerland must meet the two-year language requirement. Prior to departure, students will take a language test. Upon arrival, students may be required to take an intensive language course if they do not meet an A2 level of French.


German vs. Swiss German Language: If you really enjoy learning new languages, then you should definitely consider living in the German-speaking region of Switzerland! While all written language and school studies are taught in the standard German, this is not the spoken language of the people. Swiss German has some similarities, but also varies considerably from standard German. YFU host families are asked to speak standard German with their student while at home, however you will quickly become accustomed to the Swiss-German dialect in your area as everyone outside of school and your family will use the local dialect. This is a great way to learn more than one language during your time abroad!


Optional Excursions: Many additional events, such as family meetings and regional gatherings, might take place locally throughout the year. A four or five-day ski camp in a Swiss skiing resort. This trip is organized by YFU Switzerland and with an additional fee includes room and board, ski pass, and travel from the host family to the destination. 


Tuition Includes

-Placement with a carefully selected host family
-Enrollment in a local Swiss high school
-Comprehensive health insurance
-Airport transfers
-Domestic and international travel
-All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
-Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
-Support from a YFU Switzerland Area Representative while on program


Additional Information

Visa Information: In order to travel to Switzerland, students must have a visa before they arrive.  Information regarding visas and other immigration processes will be provided upon enrollment. 

Additional Costs: Program tuition does not include personal spending money or school-related costs such as books and school trips.


Important Information:  In addition to all of the application documents, students applying for the French-speaking Swiss program must submit a host family letter written in French and a color copy of the first page of their passport. It is important to note that students who have previously studied abroad for a semester or year are ineligible for the French or German Switzerland program.


Programs Code Departure Return Full Tuition
French Fall Year
German Fall Year

0117 *
0121 *

mid August
mid August

early July
early July


* Programs also available to graduates