Do you love skiing? Then you’ve found the ideal country for your high school exchange. Beautiful Switzerland is often associated with the snow-capped Alps and considered a skier’s paradise.
High School Classic
High School Classic is the traditional high school exchange programme, chosen by most of our students. It is the perfect programme for those who long for a genuine high school experience abroad and who are willing to embrace all the surprises it can bring. Here’s how it works: based on your profile, we find you a suitable host family and school, and the best part is, it can be anywhere in Switzerland, from its beautiful cities to the peaks of the majestic Swiss Alps! If you’re open to adventure and are willing to let yourself be surprised by your exchange experience, this is the programme for you.
High School 2-in-1
Experience two new countries in one year! The new High School 2-in-1 programme gives you the unique opportunity to spend each semester of your high school exchange in a different country. You can learn an extra language, gain insight into yet another culture and make even more international friends.
A fall semester in Switzerland can be combined with a spring semester in: Austria.
Order our free brochure!
Order our brochure now and read all about STS High School, our destinations and a very special period abroad that could be the adventure of your life!
Right now you will get the Christmas edition of our inspiring brochure, complete with printable STS Christmas cards!
More than skiing
Switzerland has a lot more to offer than well-prepared slopes. For example, world-renowned production of luxurious watches and delicious chocolate. There are modern cities with excellent public transportation. The standard of living is high in this tidy, well organised and culturally diversified country. There are many languages spoken in Switzerland, but you will be living in the German-speaking part.
Small but sweet
It’s a rather small nation, which means that you will have easy access to many parts of the country. Also, it’s perfectly located in the middle of Europe. That means that France, Italy, Germany and Austria are close by and that you could spend some of your school vacations skiing in the Alps or sunbathing on the Riviera.
Population: 8.1 million Area: 41 285 km2 Capital: Bern Biggest city: Zürich Official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh Highest mountain: Dufourspitze (Monte Rosa), 4 634 m Currency: Swiss Francs Country code: +41
Gymnasium in Switzerland
There are different kinds of high schools in Switzerland, following six years of primary school. As an exchange student, you will most likely be placed in the type called Gymnasium or Mittelschule. For Swiss students, this path leads to the exam called Matura, which is required if you want to go to university.
The are four study programmes available on this level: science, modern languages, Latin and classic. The subjects that are included in all programs are German, English, maths, biology, chemistry or physics, history, geography and physical education.
A German school
Switzerland has three different official languages: Italian, French and German. Most of our students will live in a German family and consequently go to a German school. In order to manage your studies, you need at least two years of previous studies in German.
Your Swiss family
During your high school exchange in Switzerland, you will be staying in a German-speaking family. To be accepted to a Swiss school, you need two years of previous German studies, and this will of course also help you communicate with the family.
A lot of the conversation at home takes place around the dinner table. Swiss families often eat a lighter dinner around 7pm, when they all sit down and talk about their days. This is where you will get to know the culture, traditions and expressions in an easy and pleasant way.
A family member from the start
Our carefully selected host families will make you feel at home from the start. Young people live a rather free and independent life, deciding themselves what to do after school. This will work out fine, as long as you inform your host parents about your plans. Just like home, you will be expected to help out with chores such as making your bed and cleaning the table after dinner.
Friends of the environment
The Swiss love their beautiful nature; the air is fresh and the water is clean. They are often environmental in their thinking. Don’t be surprised if living with a Swiss family will make you adapt this kind of thinking too.
Who can go: 15–18 years on arrival
Departure month: January /August
Language requirements: 2 years of German studies
Choice of destination: No
Prep course: STS Welcome Camp included
School year: August–July
School day: Usually 08.00–16.30
Subjects: Compulsory and optional
Trips in the country: Day trips and outings. Additional cost
Leisure on the highest level
In Switzerland the train stations are filled with people going up to the mountains during weekends. If you like skiing and hiking this is paradise. The slopes on higher altitudes are open most of the year and trekking in spring and summer, when the valleys are green, is something out of the ordinary. Note for packing: skis and boots.
Hang out with friends
If you prefer something more physically relaxing you can go to the movies, visit a museum, chill out in a café or go on a shopping spree. Your new friends and your family will be able to show you all the best spots. There will be plenty of things to do and see in your new home town.
If you get the chance, take a train to some of Switzerland’s bigger cities like Zürich, Bern and Geneva. They are all worth a visit!
We will show you around
Our STS staff in Switzerland are looking forward to showing you around and making sure you have a good time. All our exchange students in Switzerland usually meet three to four times per year. We will arrange different day trips and excursions, depending on interest levels. It could be activities such as visiting the theme park Europa Park, ice skating or go sightseeing to famous locations and landmarks. Your local contact person will give you more information on sight.
STS Welcome Camp in Paris
Your exchange begins with our fun Welcome Camp in Paris! The Welcome Camp gives you the best possible start to your exchange, and is packed with sightseeing, seminars, new friends and lots of fun.
Air fares to host family and back
Accommodation in an approved host family
Full board in a host family
School spot in a public high school
Personal assistance and contact person from home country and host country
STS Welcome Camp
Pre-departure orientation in your home country
Emergency support 24/7
Meetings and material to prepare you and your parents
STS bag and t-shirt
STS Ambassador Club
High School Classic
Don’t forget to check out our Video Scholarship Challenge. Send us a video explaining why you would be a great exchange student and get the chance to receive a scholarship for your high school exchange. Find all information and instructions here
Yes, no matter where you go, we have a local representative at your location. It is the local area representative who works to approve our host families, have contact with schools and will be your supporter and advisor during your exchange year.
The easiest way to apply is to visit the page of your favourite destination and click the "Apply now" button. Your application is not binding, and you make your final decision once you have been accepted.