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Students strong in foreign languages

Swiss students have strong language skills, according to a European survey, with 42 per cent speaking at least two foreign languages fluently or well.

Switzerland was only topped in this category by Portugal and Slovenia, while students in neighbouring countries fared poorly in comparison at 13 to 23 per cent.

The foreign language survey was part of a “Eurostudent” study that looked at the social conditions of higher education students in 23 European countries.

At 11 per cent, young people from disadvantaged social backgrounds are under represented in Swiss universities and colleges. The rate is two to three times higher in France and Italy.

Swiss students emerged as hard working and older. Two-thirds of them have a paid job next to their studies and their average age is 25.5 years, one to three years older than their “peers” in neighbouring countries.

The newly published data is the third round of an ongoing project; the next Eurostudent report is planned for 2011.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR