snow covered mountain with blue sky and reflection in lake
The alpine mountains. Photo  ©

Christophe Schindler used under licence, adapted from the original

Am I eligible for a placement in Switzerland?

To be a Language Assistant in Switzerland, you must:

  • fulfil the general eligibility criteria 
  • have A2-level French and/or German. Please note however that Assistants will be expected to be able to communicate and complete the necessary administration procedures in French/German. Please note further that a small number of Swiss schools may require a French/German level of B1. We encourage French/German speakers at A2 level to apply, but advise that they may need to be slightly more flexible with regard to their regional preferences, and that competition for such placements may be higher.
  • be aged between 20 and 35.

When will I start my placement?

Posts in Switzerland run from mid-August/early September 2021 until end June/mid-July 2022, depending on the school and region. 

Will there be an induction course?

A compulsory induction day will be held in Bern, run by our Swiss partners, Movetia. This is likely to take place in late August and Assistants will be invited to the induction course by Movetia via email. 

Assistants should arrive in Switzerland in mid-to-late August in order to attend the induction course, ready to begin their placement soon after.    

Please note that this information is subject to change. In 2020, the induction course was organised as a virtual event. 

How many hours will I work per week?

You can expect to work approximately 12 hours per week. Please be aware that the number of hours and your specific timetable can vary depending on the region and institution that you are allocated to.  

How many posts are available in Switzerland?

Every year there are approximately 10-20 posts available in Switzerland. We have posts in both French- and German-speaking parts of the country.

Places are competitive, and we usually give priority to candidates who are able to demonstrate significant teaching experience. 

What type of institution will I be working in?

Posts are available in secondary schools, with a very small number of postings in primary schools (you may work in up to three schools). 

Assistants in Switzerland operate with a greater degree of independence, both in and out of school, than they do in other European countries. Posts in Switzerland are ideal for candidates with teaching experience or for those who wish to enter a career in teaching.

How much will I be paid?

You will be paid a gross salary of around CHF 3,200 per month (approx. CHF 2,600 after deductions). There may be variations in salaries depending on school and region; your exact salary will be confirmed in your contract.

Please note that our overseas partners and employing institutions are ultimately responsible for setting the salary of Language Assistants and this amount should therefore be treated as indicative and may be subject to change.

What holidays will I have?

In Switzerland the academic calendar runs from mid-August/early September until end June/mid-July. Assistants can expect to receive the same school and national holidays as their institution.   

Holidays often vary by region and sometimes institution. There is only one federal holiday in Switzerland – National Day on 1 August – with each canton designating their own public holidays. Your institution will give you full details of your term dates when you begin your post.   

Where can I go in Switzerland?

We have posts in both French- and German-speaking parts of the country.

Most posts are in German-speaking cantons (regions), with various posts in rural areas. These may include Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel-Stadt, Luzern, Obwalden, St. Gallen, Solothurn, Schwyz, Zug and Zürich.

Placements in larger towns (such as Basel and Zürich) cannot be guaranteed.

A number of posts are offered in the French-speaking cantons. Posts are likely to be in rural areas (cantons Fribourg, Vaud and Jura).

You should research the various areas of Switzerland thoroughly before applying. Unfortunately, we cannot currently offer placements in Italian-speaking Switzerland. Please note there are also a small number of German-speaking areas of the Italian region of Trentino Alto-Adige. Please see the Italy page for further information. 

I've worked as a Language Assistant in Switzerland – can I apply again?

Assistants currently working in Switzerland can apply for a consecutive year. This must be done through our partner organisation Movetia and the British Council. Please contact Movetia for further information on how to submit a request and application with them. 

In order to re-apply through the British Council, please complete the application form again, including any updated information about your current year in Switzerland. A satisfactory reference from your current school(s) is required. Please refer to our application guide for former and returning English Language Assistants when completing an application. 

Consecutive year Assistants can request to remain at the same school or request a change. They will not be required to attend the induction course the following year. 

 

Instructions for providing an additional letter of recommendation 

In addition to the reference English Language Assistant applicants are required to provide in their application, we strongly recommend that applicants for Switzerland upload an additional letter of recommendation. While this is not obligatory, an additional reference can drastically increase the possibility of being offered a post in Switzerland. If you are unable to provide an additional letter of recommendation at the time of applying, our Swiss partner organisation or a potential host school may ask for one during the matching process (usually between April and June). 

If you have selected Switzerland as your second or third country preference, you are invited but not required to upload an additional letter of recommendation. You may however be asked for one during the matching process if shortlisted for Switzerland. 

If you have previously been or are currently working as an Assistant in Switzerland, you are not required to upload an additional letter of recommendation; you should however ensure that you have uploaded a reference from your previous/current Swiss host institution in the About you > Returning and Former Language Assistants part of the application. 

The additional letter of recommendation may be a professional or academic reference from a current or previous employer or university tutor. You cannot use the same referee twice. 

You will be able to upload the additional letter of recommendation when selecting Switzerland as one of your country preferences in the application. The letter must be uploaded before submitting the application (deadline: 3 February 2021). It is your responsibility to ensure that you are provided with a letter of recommendation by your referee in time for the deadline above and that the letter fulfils the requirements below. 

Please ensure that the letter:   

  • is on headed paper and signed by the referee;

  • includes the date and position title (for example “English Language Assistant”);

  • comments on your qualification, if possible with elements referring to the position of an English Language Assistant in Switzerland;

  • is uploaded as a PDF.