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Indian student blog My secretive hunt for a Swiss university

University of Neuchâtel

Faculty of economics building of the University of Neuchâtel where I study. It is consistently ranked among the top 20 small size universities.

(Gaurav Singh)

Gaurav Singh had to keep his hunt for a masters programme abroad very hush hush. No wonder he ended up in a country known for its banking secrecy. 

I was working in a public-sector bank in India when I decided to study finance. I made this decision because I wanted to gain a deep understanding of financial markets and products. With this intention, I started my search for a university offering professional education in Finance. 

However, I had a problem. Unlike other Indian students, I could not ask my family to help with my search. This is because I decided not to tell them about my plans. Why you might ask?

I was worried that they would dissuade me as I already had a good job. For those who don’t know, in India a public-sector job is considered the best option by most middle class families.  Hence I started searching in secret for an appropriate university that fitted my needs and budget.

I found many good universities in the US and in the UK, but their fees were way too high for me. I decided to narrow down my search to continental Europe as the region has very good universities with affordable tuition fees in comparison to their American and English peers. 

After doing some research, I figured out that universities in Germany and France are more famous for their engineering courses and not for finance. And the ones which are specialized in finance are private universities with too high tuition fees. Another reason for not opting for Germany was some racist attack occurred on an Indian student at that time. 

I found out that Swiss universities are publicly funded and have a very good reputation in terms of their quality of education. So I decided to go to Switzerland. First I was interested in the University of St. Gallen, as it is famous for its courses specialized in finance and management. But since my bachelor was not from finance or related fields, I couldn’t apply for the master. 

lake neuchatel

Lake Neuchâtel is one of the biggest lakes in Switzerland.

(Gaurav Singh)

Later, I applied to the University of Neuchâtel and the University of Lugano. The reason for applying to only these two universities was the fact that at that time only these universities were accepting applications. I was fortunate as both the universities accepted my application, but I finally decided to go for Neuchâtel as it was higher ranked than Lugano and also due to the fact that Neuchâtel is closer to big cities in Switzerland. This is how I ended up in the city of Neuchâtel.

back of university

A nice mural at the back of my campus.

(Gaurav Singh)


(swissinfo.ch)

My name is Gaurav Singh and I am from Delhi, India. I am a student of Master of Science in Statistics at the University of Neuchâtel and have been living in Switzerland for two and a half years. As the only Indian my class, I was able to interact regularly with students from other countries including Switzerland, and that helped me to know more about them and their cultures.

I was also fortunate enough to spend a year living with a Swiss family as a paying guest. This gave me a unique insight into Swiss life that I wish to share with you.

As a foreigner in Switzerland, I also experienced some challenges that I had to overcome and some difficulties that seemed insurmountable at the time. I aim to give you an honest picture of the realities of being an international student in Switzerland.

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