Swiss Semester Abroad Program Attracts U.S. Students with Well-Paying Internships and Worldwide Experience

A group of students in a square in Switzerland
Swiss Semester Abroad Program Attracts U.S. Students with Well-Paying Internships and Worldwide Experience

The largest private educator in Switzerland, Swiss Education Group (SEG), is expanding its semester abroad work-study program to more American college and university partners.

SEG offers the work-study program, known as Learn6/Work6, through two of its four top-ranked schools, César Ritz Colleges Switzerland and Hotel Institute Montreux, which both offer undergraduate study and paid internship opportunities to American college students.

César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, named after legendary Swiss hotelier César Ritz, is a leading business school with entrepreneurship and hospitality at its heart. Hotel Institute Montreux brings the hospitality approach to business education and offers students the flexibility to tailor their degree through a choice of five specializations.

Both Hotel Institute Montreux and César Ritz Colleges Switzerland have campuses on the shores of Lake Geneva in what is known as the Swiss Riviera. SEG’s two other schools are Swiss Hotel Management School and Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland, both located nearby.

Under the two schools’ innovative Learn6/Work6 program, U.S. students spend six months in the classroom, with full transfer of credits to their home university, followed by another six months in a supported internship where they can earn the equivalent of up to $2,500 per month, in U.S. dollars, as well as college credits.

At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Professor Emeritus Robert Wilson with the Isenberg School of Management says the Learn6/Work6 program is a unique opportunity for hospitality and tourism management students and students in traditional business programs.

“It’s an exceptional opportunity to study and earn real-world, international experience. First, these two schools are both in the top 10 globally for hospitality management studies, and second, the internships pay very well,” said Wilson. “In my experience, such opportunities for paid international internships for students from U.S universities are extremely difficult to find.”

Based on the program’s success at UMass since 2012, Wilson has been consulting to other universities and colleges to help them offer the program too.

Currently, UMass is one of eight U.S. universities partnered with either César Ritz Colleges Switzerland or Hotel Institute Montreux. The others include Washington State University, Pace University, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, University of South Carolina, East Carolina University, Cal Poly Pomona and University of Denver.

University of Denver hospitality management student Kevin Pereira-Leon enrolled for one three-month term this fall becoming the university’s first student to attend a semester at Hotel Institute Montreux.

“Studying in another country gives you an international experience, and I want to carry that into my career,” said Pereira-Leon. “You just can’t get the same kind of cultural exposure in the U.S.  I’m taking French which I never imagined doing. I found it so helpful while traveling around Europe.”

Tanja Florenthal, dean at César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, describes the benefits of the program, “You can gain credits while immersing yourself in one of Switzerland’s most beautiful regions and interact with a community of students from around the world.”

Consistently, more than half of all U.S. students studying abroad choose to do so in Europe, according to NAFSA: The Association of International Educators, with Switzerland being one of the more attractive countries, given its central location, breathtaking landscape and world-class educational opportunities.

Despite the challenges of the lingering pandemic, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE), 50 percent of institutions anticipate an increase in study abroad numbers in the 2021/22 academic year as well.

For more information on the Learn6/Work6 programs at Hotel Institute Montreux and César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, please contact Robert Wilson at rwilson@isenberg.umass.edu.

About Swiss Education Group

With four schools based across six campuses educating over 6,000 students from 111 countries, Swiss Education Group is Switzerland’s largest private educator. All of its schools offer diverse international experiences on beautifully located campuses in the French and German-speaking regions of Switzerland; however, English is the language of instruction. Rooted in the tradition of Swiss hospitality, Swiss Education Group has nearly 40 years of experience in hospitality management and culinary arts education and is committed to equipping tomorrow’s professionals with the leadership and entrepreneurial skills highly sought after in the hospitality industry and beyond. Swiss Education Group schools offer a wide range of courses, including short certificates and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, allowing students to choose programs that suit their individual learning needs and interests. Swiss Education Group’s four schools are all ranked in the top 10 for hospitality and leisure management by QS World University Rankings, one of the leading ranking systems for global higher education. For more information about the study abroad programs available through Swiss Education Group, please visit www.swisseducation.com.