Besides the Discovery Program at the University of Zurich, there are many other opportunities for refugees to further their education and gain important experience for working life. This page gives you a summary of some of the services available in Switzerland and abroad.
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Other Guest Auditor Projects
The University of Zurich is just one of many Swiss universities offering programs to refugees. The perspektiven-studium.ch website provides an overview of all such programs in Switzerland.
In Zurich there are several similar programs: A student group organizes a Discovery Semester at ETH Zurich. Additionally, ETH Zurich informs intersted refugees about their possibilities here. The Zurich University of the Arts offers various programs for refugee students too.
Students Across Borders (SAB)
Students Across Borders is a student organization aiming to promote social interaction between people from a refugee background and students of the University of Zurich by organizing various events such as sports afternoons or cooking evenings. Students Across Borders also offers 1:1 German language support for people from a refugee background.
SEET (Support Education, Empower Together) is a program for female refugees who could not finish their studies in their home countries. A mentoring program helps them to find suitable education possibilities in Switzerland and supports them in their studies once they have been granted admission. More information can be found on the SEET-Facebook-pageor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On berufsberatung.ch you get information about the education system in Switzerland, about all fields of study offered at Swiss universities, about all forms of higher education available in Switzerland, about various professions and a lot more. Moreover, you find an overview about all careers advisory services in Switzerland.
Perspectives – Studies
Perspectives – Studies is a project organized by the Swiss Student Union (VSS) with the aim of improving access to a university education for people from a refugee background. On their perspektiven-studium.ch website they provide Switzerland’s most comprehensive overview of the Swiss education and university system.
Are you interested in professions in the health sector? On puls-berufe.ch you get a comprehensive overview about this topic.
Swissuniversities is the rector's conference of the Swiss universities and offers various services like recommendations of recognition for foreign higher education qualifications or a summary of the admission requirements for all Swiss universities.
Advisory Centers in the Canton of Zurich
Integras is a a project of the careers advisory service of the canton of Zurich, offering various advisory and information services to migrants in order to support their integration into the labour market. Besides multilingual information meetings about the Swiss education and labour market system, you can take part in informal consultations.
In case you are looking for an advice center close to your home, please use this link.
HEKS Mosaik advises particularly migrants from third countries holding a degree on topics such as diploma recognition, refresher training, and recognition of their academic achievements, and helps them draw up plans for how to demonstrate their professional competence or gain an internship.
The AOZ also helps qualified migrants from third countries to integrate into the labor market. They provide a support program lasting 18 months.
Continuing Education Programs
AsyLex is an online legal aid on Swiss asylum law. AsyLex is supported by volunteers in the following aspects: legal advice, interpretation, accompanying asylum seekers to the interview and many more. Please find more information on how you can support AsyLex using this link.
Autonome Schule Zürich
The Autonome Schule Zürich offers free daily classes in German, French, English or Mathematics.
Powercoders is a Coding Academy offering refugees the opportunity to take part in a three-month intensive programming course and to then work as an intern for several months with an IT company.
Capacity is a non-profit association in Zurich offering an entrepreneurship program to people with a refugee or migrant background. A seven-month start-up program gives (future) entrepreneurs assistance in developing social, business and cultural initiatives.
Incluso is a mentoring program from Caritas Zurich, supporting migrants to find an apprenticeship. The migrants are ideally aged 14 to 22 and attended a regular school or integration class in the city of Zurich.
SINGA in Switzerland runs several complementary programs to support people from refugee and migrant backgrounds who want to launch a business or become self-employed in Switzerland.
SRK: Perspektive Arbeit
The Swiss Red Cross in the Canton of Zurich supports recognized refugees (B) and temporarily admitted refugees (F) with their project Perspektive Arbeit in their search for a job or a training site. Participants of the program receive advisory support from volunteers with broad work experience.
VoCHabular is an association for the promotion of German and Swiss German language acquisition. An intercultural group of volunteers works together to create self-teaching materials in form of books and apps, mainly aimed at people with a refugee background. New members are always very welcome!
Welcome to School
Welcome to School offers daily classes to young adults aged 16 to 22 with N-, F- or B-residence status. The program aims at persons whose pre-education does not correspond to compulsory school education in Switzerland.
The Integration Office of the Canton of Zurich has a database on its website which lists all German courses in the city of Zurich. Additionally, i-Need.ch lists German courses in various Swiss regions.
Applied Linguistics at ZHAW
As a partner of the Goethe Institut the Department of Applied Linguistics at ZHAW offers exam preparation courses (A1-C2) for Goethe German exams.
Solinetz Zürich offers amongst others various German courses. Currently, they offer a C1-German course for people with a B2-certificate who want to prepare for a C1-certificate but do not have access to regular courses.
Deutsch für Alle
There are German courses for refugees (A1-A2) at PH Zurich from Monday to Friday. Apart from that, various exciting excursions are organized.
At deutsch.info you can learn German (A1-B2) for free. Deutsch.info offers language courses with interactive exercises and audiovisual learning materials, grammar, dictionaries, tests, a media library with authentic texts and audio and video materials and much more. Try it out!
Online IT courses
Would you like to imporve your IT-skills? There are various online courses ranging from introductions on how to use Windows to coding tutorials.
- For a free Windows tutorial please have a look at GCF Global.
- Find a broad range of coding tutorials (e.g. Python) at codecademy.com, freeCodeCamp.org and SoloLearn.
Kiron Open Higher Education
The non-profit organization Kiron offers a digital learning and support program to refugees wishing to resume their studies. Program participants can take online courses in a range of fields. A German language course is also available.
Saylor Academy is a non-profit organization offering free online courses on a wide range of topics. The language of instruction is English. You can find more about the courses on offer at Saylor Academy here.
Coursera is one of the largest platforms offering online courses in English. Participation is generally subject to a fee. However, people with a refugee background may benefit from special terms and conditions, check here.
edX offers a wide range of online courses in English that are free of charge. For more information, go to the course website
At FutureLearn you will find several online courses in English. These courses are free of charge.
The University of Zurich offers its own range of online courses through Coursera. You will find more information on the Massive Open Online Courses at UZH here.
Swissuniversities provides Recommendations of recognition for foreign higher education qualifications. For more information please visit their website.
European Qualifications Passport for Refugees
The European Quaflifications Passport for Refugees is a project of the Concil of Europe. Academic qualifications and professional experience are evaluated without available diplomas and a substitute document is issued.