If you want to spend some time living in the homeland of cheese fondue, where croissants are known as “Gipfeli” – BFH in the wonderful Bern is the university for you! The major advantages include the international and applied gearing in an informal environment.
This neighbouring country of Germany encompasses German, French, Italian and Romansh linguistic and cultural areas. As none of the four official languages should take precedence over the others, the country code is Latin: “CH” stands for “Confoederatio Helvetica” or Swiss Confederation. The more than eight million inhabitants, including 25% foreign nationals, live together as a nation based on consensus. The country is known above all else for its nature, especially for the Alps. Almost one third of the country is covered by forest and woodland, with just over seven percent of the area inhabited by people. The country is perfectly suited to ski trips and hiking. The Swiss cuisine is also well known: from cheese fondue to raclette, Bircher muesli, Cervelat sausage and Röstis to Toblerone, Ricola, Swiss cheese and chocolate as well as Rivella and Ovaltine.
Goethe wrote that Bern was the most beautiful city of all. In 1983, its Old Town was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With almost 140,000 inhabitants, Bern is only Switzerland’s de facto capital city, as there is no legal capital. The official language is German. Bern’s plus points include its central location as well as its reputation for being a safe place with a stable political and economic environment and a high quality of life. Albert Einstein wrote his work on the Special Theory of Relativity at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern, while Paul Klee emigrated to the city in 1933. Hermann Hesse also spent seven years living in the city. Each year in February, Bern is the setting for the third-largest Swiss street carnival parade. A Jazz Festival starts from March, and in May the city hosts the Bern Grand Prix (a ten-mile run with more than 25,000 participants). July sees the Gurtenfestival (rock music), and October is the month for the international short film festival “shnit”. You can relax in the BärenPark, in Dählhölzli Zoo or in the Botanical Garden, and sites worth seeing include the Zytglogge tower, the Rose Garden and Bern Cathedral.
Bern University of Applied Sciences (‘BFH’ or ‘Berner Fachhochschule’) is one of three universities in Bern. It was founded in 1997 and is thus one of the younger universities. More than 7,000 students are taking advantage of the applied offering in an informal atmosphere. International connectivity plays a major role, as the Certificate of Global Competence shows. This is an additional certificate of intercultural and transcultural competency that students can acquire over the course of their study programme. BFH is multilingual, with courses offered in seven different languages. Exchange students receive support from BFH and from the Erasmus Student Network, which organises regular cultural and social events. International students can get to know each other at the “International Student Day”, while the traditional sporting day “The Games” offers a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with other BFH students. For a very small annual contribution, you can purchase a university sports ID that will allow you to use almost all of the university’s sports facilities, from the gym to the archery grounds. Ski and snowboard courses can be purchased in return for an additional fee.
BFH does not have its own student halls. Like at HSBA, you have to find your own accommodation. There are lots of offerings on the internet, e.g. at www.vbsl.ch/de/home/. Students can use this site to rent furnished or unfurnished rooms from around EUR 470. Other links are listed on the BFH website (https://www.bfh.ch/service/wohnen_leben/wohnen.html). As costs are relatively high in Switzerland, you should budget for at least EUR 1,400 per month including rent and food.