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Why Switzerland is the most expensive country in Europe for international schools

Why Switzerland is the most expensive country in Europe for international schools
Photo: Depositphotos
Second in the world after China, Switzerland is also home to the most expensive city on the continent for international schooling.

Whether it be rising health insurance premiums or renting in Switzerland, cost of living is a major topic on The Local Switzerland. 

As we discussed recently after a survey of our readers, raising children in Switzerland can be prohibitively expensive – with costs for education and childcare a major factor. 

While Switzerland does offer free education in public schools, international schools can cost parents thousands of francs per month. 

Read more: Everything you need to know about the cost of living in Switzerland

While it won’t be news to parents living in Switzerland who send their children to international schools, doing so is expensive – so expensive in fact that not only is Switzerland the most expensive country in Europe for international schools, but it is also home to the most expensive city for international schooling – Zurich. 

The report, compiled by International Schools Database (ISD), compared the costs of international schools (in USD) in cities and countries across the globe. 

Switzerland ranks first in Europe, second in the world to China 

If you’ve just opened your international school bill for this month/year, you aren’t imagining it – fees in Switzerland are high. 

In fact, after China, Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world for international schooling. 

Countries with cities with a large international contingent rank among the highest in Europe. After Switzerland, the top five includes Austria, Belgium, Italy and Germany. 

A trifecta for Switzerland

Switzerland faced no real rivals in Europe for top spot, particularly considering that the three most expensive cities for International schools on the continent were all based in Switzerland. 

Zurich took top spot with a median price of CHF25,570, while Lausanne was in second (CHF24,250) and Geneva was in third (CHF23,366). 

The average cost for international schools in European cities. Image: ISD

The first non-Swiss city came in at number four, Vienna, with Brussels rounding out the top five. 

On a worldwide scale, both Beijing and Shanghai are more expensive than Zurich, while Shenzhen comes in fourth place. 

Why Switzerland? 

Andrea Robledillo from ISD told The Local that the cost of living in Switzerland was not the only factor in the high prices for international schools, but the prestige of some of the institutions. 

“I believe that the high prices of international schools in Zurich and Switzerland have to do with the cost of living, sure, but also with the kind of international schools available in Switzerland,” Robledillo told The Local. 

“International schools in Switzerland tend to be more high-end and with higher standards (not only academically, but of facilities and infrastructure), probably catering to the high-purchasing power population in Switzerland (both local and expat). 

“For example, some of the most expensive schools in the world are in Switzerland.”

Minimum, maximum and average prices of international schools in European cities. Image: ISD

According to the authors, another factor was Switzerland’s high proportion of boarding schools. 

“Also, having a number of boarding schools, which other cities tend not to have and which are more expensive than standard schools, will also push the average price of international schools in Switzerland up,” Robledillo told The Local.

There was little change in the 2019 rankings when compared with those from previous years, with Switzerland and China ranking alongside each other in 2017 and 2018. 

 

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