With four national languages, and English widely spoken, Switzerland is a natural language learning destination, reports Nicola Hancox.

The Swiss: maker of cuckoo clocks and expensive watches; master connoisseurs of chocolate and cheese. "One of our day trip destinations that our international students love is the Broc chocolate factory," begins Philipp Weber from fRilingue www.frilingue.com in Fribourg. Based near the beautiful medieval mountain town of Gruyeres, which also gave its name to the famous Alpine cheese, students learn how chocolate is made at La Maison Callier and, more importantly, how it tastes!


Fribourg, built around the River Saane on the Swiss Plateau, is a medley of history, with parts of the Medieval city wall still standing, and some incredible Gothic facades, including the impressive Cathedral of St Nicholas. "This town is a hidden gem; not even Swiss people know about its incredible beauty," says Philipp.



This Alpine region of Switzerland is a stunning natural feature that never fails to take anyone's breath away. Speaking of breath..so exhilarating is the Swiss alpine air, it's now available for purchase in a can! One can of clean, crisp, fresh Alpine air will set you back just under CHF28 (US$29).


A country of mountains, glaciers and lakes, adventure (and snow) beckons. Some parts have snow all year-round, notes Mary Garwood at Altitude International Summer Camps www.altitude-camps.com in Verbier. "Campers very much enjoy the chance to get up high and cool off, usually with a snowball fight or two in the height of summer."



A tandem paragliding experience, meanwhile, offers a bird's eye view of the beautiful Swiss Alps and is a popular high-adrenaline activity enjoyed by students, says Mary.



Where in Switzerland?


Sail or swim in Lake Geneva (the largest body of water in the country) during the summer months, says Philippe Grosskost at International Management School Geneva https://imsgeneva.ch/, and hit the mountains in your ski gear in the winter. Geneva is ideally placed between two mountain ranges - the Swiss Alps and the Jura Mountain Ranges.



The town of Montreaux, on the shoreline of Lake Geneva, has many festivals, activities and quaint locations, says Shehnaz Khan at Alpadia Language Schools www.alpadia.com, but Les Gorges du Chauderon is a little-known natural wonder. "There is an amazing staircase that ascends the mountain from the Old Town to Glion," she says.


Verbier is a magnet for skiers, snow boarders and mountaineers. According to Mary, views are best admired from the top of Mont Fort, 3,300 metres up. "Take the cable up the mountain," she says. "The journey up is both beautiful and enjoyable."



Cheese, glorious cheese


Switzerland produces more than 450 different cheeses. In fact, almost half of all milk produced in the country is made into cheese, so students should expect to sample plenty of cheese dishes during their stay.



A symbol of Swiss unity, "Fondue is a typical Alpine Swiss dish that is simply a must-try if you are heading to the region," says Mary. Traditional fondue consists of a blend of cheeses, wine and seasoning which diners then dip bread into using long-handled forks.


Raclette is another cheese dish indigenous to Switzerland. Diners melt cheese before serving it with potatoes, pickles and cured meats. "Hearty and comforting this meal can be enjoyed in winter and summer," says Shehnaz. nicolahancox@studytravel.network


Contact the advertisers in this issue