International Exchange

The FHS St.Gallen promotes and encourages student and faculty exchange on all levels. The International Office maintains a large network and establishes university partnerships around the world.

The International Office teams support miscellaneous forms of student mobility. Depending on the field of study, internships as well as exchange semesters are possible for both incoming and outgoing students. Additionally, the FHS supports students who want to participate in conferences, summer school programmes or intensive courses abroad. For exchange semesters within Europe, the FHS St.Gallen provides scholarships through movetia.

Department of Health

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Department of Social Work

To the International Office

Department of Business Administration

To the International Office

Before you leave home

Health insurance
Basic health and accident insurance is mandatory for all persons living in Switzerland for more than 3 months. Exceptions:

  • EU or EFTA citizens legally insured by their state who hold a European Health Insurance Card
  • Citizens of any country with adequate private insurance coverage

Students are responsible for providing evidence of adequate insurance coverage. Please contact the St.Gallen Resident’s Register Office (“Einwohneramt”) to apply for exemption. You can also enquire at the International Office if you need assistance in this process. The Swiss health system is complex, and some useful links may help you to understand it better. Various helpful links concerning health insurance can be found in the last section of this guide.

Other insurance cover
If you plan to rent an apartment in Switzerland or move into a shared flat, you can take out household insurance (“Hausratversicherung”). This insurance covers damage caused by fire, water, natural hazards, theft or the breakage of glass. You can also take out personal liability insurance (“Privathaftpflicht”) if you ride a bike or do things that could cause a higher degree of damage.

Visa/residence permit
In order to study in Switzerland, foreign citizens need a valid travel document that is officially recognised by Switzerland. Students from a EU or EFTA member state do not need a visa to enter Switzerland. Citizens of some other countries need to apply for a visa for entry and residence in Switzerland, regardless of the duration of their respective stay. Apply for your visa at least four months before the start of your studies at the Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country. The relevant requirements are subject to change at short notice due to the ongoing talks on the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU. Updated information can be found at: /

Working in Switzerland
In principle, all students who want to work in Switzerland need to notify the competent authorities and apply for a work permit (depending on their nationality). Please contact the International Office for further support, or the Migration Office (“Migrationsamt”) of the canton of St.Gallen.

Obligation to register
If you are moving to Switzerland, you must register within 14 days of your arrival at the St.Gallen Resident’s Register Office. Citizens from abroad (EU/EFTA) must bring a valid ID card, a recent passport-size photo and an enrolment confirmation from their host university, and are required to complete an application for a foreign resident’s permit (form “Gesuch Ausländerbewilligung”). The fee is around CHF 66. Citizens from other countries must be in possession of a Swiss residence permit, a valid passport, a lease contract or a confirmation from their landlord and a current health insurance card or policy. In this case, the fee is CHF 142. Further information can be found here.

Extension of the residence permit
International students who are not intending to leave Switzerland on the day mentioned on their residence permit are required to contact the International Office to apply for an extensi - on of the residence permit. Residence permits can be extended for a maximum of four weeks and will cost CHF 50.

Cost of living
Living expenses in Switzerland can vary. We advise to expect living costs of between EUR 1,400 and EUR 2,100 per month.

Most supermarkets are open from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. On Saturdays, shops close at 5 p.m. On Sundays, regular shops are closed. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, there is also a farmers’ market, where fresh produce like vegetables and fruit can be purchased. The farmers’ market is held at “Marktplatz” square, in the city centre of St.Gallen. The shops located at the train station are open until 11 p.m., and most petrol stations are open 24 hours a day and sell a limited assortment of food and household goods until 10 p.m. The “Multergasse” – a well-known shopping street in the pedestrian zone – is the main street for those looking to purchase clothes.

Restaurants and bars
St.Gallen offers a wide range of restaurants, clubs and bars for every taste. There is an official closing time in St.Gallen: 12 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Bars and pubs might close later, especially at the weekend.

Banks and public administration
The opening hours of banks and public offices vary. Typical hours are 8.30 a.m. to 12 noon, and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Bank accounts It is not necessary to open a bank account in Switzerland. Money may be obtained at most ATMs with an EC-Direct card. Credit cards are commonly used and accepted by most bu - sinesses.

Public Transportation
The public transportation system in Switzerland is among the best in the world. If exchange students are planning on using the train to travel around Switzerland, it is recommended to buy a half-fare travel pass (“Halbtax-Abonnement”), which can be purchased at any SBB desk. It costs CHF 175 and reduces the prices of all train tickets on Swiss railways by 50% for an entire year. The local transportation system in St.Gallen includes trams and busses. The monthly “Ostwind” travel pass costs CHF 59 (for those aged 25 and below) or CHF 73 (for those aged above 25). Individual tickets can be purchased directly on the busses. The day travel pass is an attractive transnational ticket that offers trips to tourist attractions in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein.

The current voltage used throughout Switzerland is 230 volts (AC), 50 cycles. Most power sockets are designed for three-pin round plugs. The standard continental-type plug with two round pins, applied for many electrical travel products, may be used without problem. Switzerland has its own standard, which is described in SEV 1011. This plug is similar to the Europlug, except that it has the addition of a grounding pin.