What Makes Swiss Learning Institutions Different? Have you ever wondered why studying in Switzerland makes you stand out ? Then read about my experience and find out.
After having completed my bachelor’s degree in Cameroon, pursing another bachelor’s degree was definitely out of the question but when the opportunity came knocking, I could not resist. It might have seemed stupid to start all over again and go through another three years of school stress but looking back and to this day, I do not regret making that decision even for a minute.
Indeed, studying in Cameroon is challenging to a great extent. To successfully go through six years of primary education, five years, as well as two years of secondary and high school education respectively, and then 3 years of undergraduate studies, you must really work hard.
Nevertheless, in the first year of my bachelor’s degree in Switzerland, I could already notice striking differences between studying in my home country and studying in Switzerland. These differences were to my advantage because they helped to close some of my academic and skills gaps.
Now, let us quickly dive into what I found different while studying in a Swiss institution.
- Teamwork Based Activities
Teamwork was a good surprise for me in the beginning. From the orientation day until the time I completed my undergraduate program and even now in my graduate program, I have worked in a multiple number of multicultural teams.
This is highly encouraged in Swiss universities. This is advantageous in that even in professional settings, a person will have to work and cooperate with different people.
I remember having worked with 4 other people on the orientation day when I just started my studying in Switzerland. We had to make a short film about the city of Bern. It was enjoyable and our team even won a prize. Yay!
Besides, working in teams brings certain advantages. You can find out more about your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to collaborating with other people.
Unfortunately, back at home, I did not have the chance to work with other classmates in projects, so I was lagging behind in this regard. Fortunately for me, I could learn a lot from my first team experience and by partaking in several other team projects, I unlocked other potentials within me. For instance, an ability to lead, coordinate, motivate people as well as take initiatives.
- Highly Practical Studies
You will learn the theory and apply it in different projects. It is not all about reading and preparing for an exam, you will also do some practical work and by so doing, you will unquestionably gain more from a given subject. Although some projects were stressful, I truly enjoyed participating in different ones.
However, in the beginning, I had to adapt to the Swiss system. In fact, my first actual team project in the bachelor level did not get a pass grade but this is a story for another day. All the same, with time I got better and now I am glad about my learning experience and how far I have come.
Moreover, what adds some spice to these project works is the opportunity to work with other people, thereby further enhancing one’s teamworking skills. On the other hand, I cannot boast of having carried out many school projects during my university days in Cameroon. Nonetheless, this may not be the case with other degree programs in universities over there.
- Presentation Tasks
Carrying out projects came with doing presentations before an audience during my undergraduate studies in Switzerland. While some people found such tasks to be difficult, it was pretty easy for me. Back in Cameroon, I did not have a lot of presentation tasks in the university but partaking in certain extra-curricular activities in the primary and secondary school had enabled me to develop stage presence, and to improve on my communication ability.
So, while I was surprised at the number of presentations I had to do per semester in Switzerland, it was still quite an enjoyable activity. Of course, I see the importance of all the presentations. This is because the skills gotten from them will always be useful regardless of where one may be.
- Challenging Exams
I am often tempted to describe Swiss exams as backbreaking and nerve-racking.
Jokes aside, like in Cameroon, I also found the exams during my bachelor studies in Switzerland to be challenging. However, a key difference is seen in the expected level of applicability and interpretation.
My exams in most subjects or modules in Switzerland required an extra ability to interpret and express an understanding of certain phenomena. Thus, it is not all about mastering the theory by heart and writing it down in an exam.
Even though, I already had such an ability before coming abroad, it was not yet fully matured, so studying in Switzerland helped me to improve. Therefore, I could widen my thinking and analytical mindset.
- Time Pressure
Time surely had wings in each of my exams in Switzerland. In some exams, I had to think and write so fast at the same time and until I dropped my last answer, there was no time for a quick break.
Leaving out this particular point would be a terrible lie. In fact, I got more assignments to read articles and do other exercises in my first year of studying in Switzerland than I got over my three years of university education in Cameroon. Yes, one learns a lot from reading and doing assignments but as a student, this was often a hassle.
I Got the Best of Both Worlds!
Despite the differences from my experience with the system of education between the two countries, I believe studying in Cameroon prepared me for what I encountered in Switzerland. As a result, I could easily adapt and make it with flying colours.
As such, as aforementioned, I do not regret the decision I made to go through another three years of bachelor studies, neither do I regret the bachelor’s degree program I did back at home. Further, in spite of the challenging system of education in Switzerland, I still appreciate the entire process and being part of an international class added icing to the cake. Thus, I will always recommend the country for studies.
Hurray! You read until the end! Let me know about your own experience with studying in Switzerland and/or with studying in another country.
Thank you for reading.
Author: Franka Ebai
About: Franka Ebai originally comes from Cameroon. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Buea. In Switzerland, she also obtained a Bachelor in Banking and Finance from the University of Applied Sciences in Bern. At the HSLU she is now pursuing her Master in Business Administration – Major Business Development and Promotion.