Student Exchange Switzerland
Switzerland has everything. It has mountains,
lakes, and snow, of course, but also castles, fondue, wild ibex, and
probably one of the most honorable collections of human beings on the
With standards as high as their snow-tipped Alps, the Swiss command
a special mandate on quality. It's a neat, sophisticated little nation
where cleanliness is not only next to godliness, but sometimes seems
to be a notch above it. The cities are perfection itself, and even the
humblest farmhouses in the back-of-beyond are bowered with carefully
pruned vines and bedecked with bright flower boxes. Fields are so well
groomed you'd think they were primping for a calendar photographer.
More than 60 percent of the nation is alpine, peaking at over 4,572
meters (15,000 feet) atop the glorious glacier-clad Dufourspitze in
the Monte Rosa chain, only a few hours from downtown Geneva. The average
height of those Helvetian mountains is well over a mile above sea level.
Between the Alps and the Jura in the northwest lie the central plains
of wildflowers and economic bliss—the powerhouse zone of Swiss industry
that has made it one of the richest countries on Earth.
But while it is the home of international banking, the repository of
wealth, and the soul of stability, Switzerland need not be expensive.
It suffers somewhat from an exaggerated press that has often focused
on the luminaries who relax in Gstaad, St. Moritz, or those who confer
with their gnomes at Zurich banks and visit their trust funds in cool
green vaults. In fact, there are scores of value-plus boardinghouses,
hotels, and inns where the sheets are crisp and sparkling, and where
the breakfast trays are heaped with croissants and buttered rolls, hot
coffee, and fruits from the abundant Swiss orchards—at prices that are
It's not uncommon for students to go skiing, or go to see a glittering
Summer bristles with folk fairs, music and film fests, jazz concerts,
cultural exhibits, and a multitude of gala events in historic, idyllic
settings. In the mellow fall, the grape harvests provoke colorful wine
festivals and seasonal celebration