Teaching English in Switzerland

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How to Begin Teaching in Switzerland

Cheese lover? Chocoholic? Then welcome to Switzerland: a country deservedly famous for its many culinary specialities.

Cheese lover? Chocoholic? Then welcome to Switzerland: a country deservedly famous for its many culinary specialities. Bordered by France, Italy, Germany and Austria, it’s perfectly situated – a gateway to the rest of Western Europe.
The first stop for most visitors is Geneva – a very international and cultural city – or Zurich – a big, cosmopolitan city with a thriving nightlife. Another favourite is Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva, known as the Swiss wine country, which has amazing views of the Swiss and French Alps. For the more sports-oriented, Interlaken is a must for its bungee jumping, canyoning and skydiving. Hiking is, of course, a popular activity to enjoy the scenery of the mountains – especially the iconic Matterhorn. Railway fans can take many different railway journeys on a number of scenic routes through the mountains.
On the downside, Switzerland is a budgeter’s nightmare with an extremely high cost of living, so don’t expect to be living like a king. Zurich and Geneva are known to be especially expensive and are often ranked as the most expensive cities in the world. At the same time, Switzerland is a very safe, organised and beautiful country so as long as you’re expecting the expense, it shouldn’t come as a nasty surprise.

There are four official languages of Switzerland including German, French, Italian and Romansh. The language regions in Switzerland reflect the culture of the language spoken in that area. About 65% of Switzerland is German-speaking. In the German regions of the Swiss Alps you can find timber framed houses and bratwurst. The west of Switzerland is mostly french-speaking. In the city of Geneva you’ll find high end shops and streets lined with cafes.  In the Italian-speaking region of Ticino you can find beautiful Italianesque villas and piazzas. Romansh is mostly spoken in the southeastern Swiss canton of Grisons. The traditional houses in the Engadin Valley are whitewashed and decorated with detailed plasterwork.

Many resident and temporary foreign workers make up a large part of the population. There are many opportunities for English speaking workers as English is widely spoken.  More than 20% of the working age population are foreign nationals. It’s high salaries and quality of life attract many expats from around the world.

 

Teaching Opportunities

Switzerland is a linguistic marvel, with residents speaking either French, German, Italian or Romansh. English is becoming more popular and was recently introduced as a compulsory subject in schools. Consequently there are teaching opportunities to be found in Switzerland, though the salary is probably not what you would hope for in an expensive country like this.
You’re also likely to find work in a private language school in Zurich, Geneva, Basel or Bern. These positions will be paid an hourly rate and your working hours may be split into shifts. Switzerland is also known for its hotel schools which prepare their students for the hospitality industry. These schools have a compulsory English element to their curriculum so it’s a good idea to look for employment here.

Teaching Requirements

  • Degree Requirement
    BA/BS required
  • Typical Contract Length
    6 - 12 Months
  • Peak Hiring Seasons
    September - January
  • Visa Info
    B Visa
  • Typical Students
    Students, adults
  • Average Monthly Cost of Living in Local Currency
    2,000-2,500 CHF
  • Average Monthly Salary in Local Currency
    2,300 -4,000 CHF

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