7 reasons to choose USI as your exchange destination

There are many reasons to choose USI as your exchange destination. Here we present 7 of them, selected from the reports of mobility students who spent one or two semesters at USI. Find out which aspects have satisfied incoming students the most!

Wide selection of studies and courses in English

Even though USI is the only University in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, English is the official language of instruction in most of our study programmes:

  • All Master programmes at the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society, except for the Master in Lingua, letteratura e civiltà italiana;
  • All Master programmes at the Faculty of Economics except for the Master in Economia e politiche internazionali (MEPIN) and the Master in Public Management and Policy (PMP) (bilingual IT/EN);
  • Bachelor and Master programmes at the Faculty of Informatics;
  • A variety of courses at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio.

Martin, The Glasgow School of Art
“The school’s position as an international university, with professors and students from a wide range of cultures, combined with many courses in English and fantastic languages support really appealed to me.”

Kamila, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
"I see a great advantage that at the university there are many master’s programs in English, thus, the range of courses to choose from is diverse.”

A privileged relation with the academic staff

Study programmes present quality and interdisciplinary teaching, where theory and practice are in balance, and where students are given constant opportunities to express themselves. A barrier-free dialogue between students and professors opens windows of unexpected opportunity, in a cosmopolitan environment leading to international careers.

Filip, Brno University of Technology
“Classes are small so the approach of teachers is much more personal.”

Sabrina, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
“What helped furthermore was the uncomplicated and direct contact with the professors. Since the classes are very small one can communicate very openly with the other students and the teaching staff. USI offers very good study conditions with small classes and very motivated professors so that one can really learn a lot, both theoretical concepts as well as methodical skills.”

Markus, Libera Università di Bolzano
“The close relationships between students and professors offered me the perfect conditions for my studies abroad”

Ideal conditions for study, a way forward to your future

The university’s small size, its dynamic and informal culture, the quality infrastructure, and the connections to the business world provide a study experience that is much appreciated and valued by USI’s students.

Furthermore, students are free to attend a variety of classes, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. Although enrolled in a faculty, they are entitled to attend classes and sit examinations in the other faculties too. This is a unique opportunity to explore new topics and personalise the study curriculum.

With more than 100 active mobility partnerships in Europe and beyond its borders, USI welcomes every year around 80 students in its five faculties, contributing to its international connotation without compromising the privileged teacher-student low ratio.

Paulius, Copenhagen Business School
“USI inspired me to start a business that wants to change the world. I returned to Copenhagen feeling I had become a different person, ready to make a change and have an impact on society with the knowledge acquired”

Mathias, Technische Universität Dresden
“The seclusion is perfect to study and dedicate yourself to learning and yet it is close enough to so many beautiful places and works of architecture whose reputation precedes their experience. I can’t think of a better location to place a school of architecture!”

Roberta, Università La Sapienza, Roma
“USI is a new university campus, composed by different and modern buildings, where each student can find everything that he/she needs, such as silent spaces to study (library and master room), but also there are different computer laboratories, where students can also print for free. Whatever you need, you will find it.”

Free of charge Italian classes, where language meets culture

USI is the only University of Italian language and culture in the Swiss Academia, and Italian is the official language of the region. For these reasons, USI is particularly committed in the organisation of free of charge Italian language courses, both intensive and extensive, and at all levels. Students are welcome to join the crash courses before the beginning of the semester, or enroll in one of the many courses over one or two semesters.

Culture is a major and inseparable component of knowing a language; for this reason, a number of cultural and social activities are organised throughout the year. Learning Italian language and immersing in the local culture will enrich the mobility period beyond the classrooms.

Marina, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona
“I strongly recommend the Preparative Intensive Italian Language Courses to the new exchange students. It gives you the opportunity of learning or improving the language before starting the university courses, at the same time you discover the Swiss Italian culture.”

Lisa, TU Delft
“The Preparative Intensive Italian Language Course was something I wouldn’t have wanted to miss for the world! It was an amazing opportunity to get to know all the other exchange students and to give your Italian language skills a kick-start, so I would really recommend taking part in this!”

Bart, Eindhoven University of Technology
“I also followed the semestral Italian course (A1-A2), which was very interesting. Even though it was a basic course, at the end of the semester I was able to actually make some conversations in Italian with random people I encountered, which felt very satisfying.”

Frances Eleanore, University of Western Australia, Perth
“The Italian course at the beginning of the semester was the best way to start, throwing us head first into the Ticino culture.”

Personalised advisory service before and during your studies

Before arrival, and during the time at USI, the International Relations and Study Abroad Service will act as first touch point for mobility students and will offer a personalised advisory service to make sure that students can smoothly organize their studies and their stay. This is done in collaboration with the other student services (Dean’s offices, Housing Service, Sport Service, IT support, etc.).

Students also benefit from a number of information channels: the website, the Exchange Student Handbook, the end of study reports. The International Relations and Study Abroad Service looks forward to welcoming mobility students in Lugano and Mendrisio.

Anna-Kathrina, Technische Universität München
“What I remember very positively is that the Accademia showed interest in helping you to organize administrative things as well as feeling as comfortable as much here in Mendrisio, for example with organizing a welcome aperitif.”

Raja, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
“The International Relations Office is highly organized and one of the best departments at USI. The people working at International Relations Office are very professional and at the same time help international students with care.”

Casper, Copenhagen Business School
“As an exchange student at USI I felt very welcome and very good taken care of by the international office.”

Rodrigo, Universidade do Porto
“Always prompt to help us, and being extremely organized, the USI International Relations Office made me feel much more comfortable, especially when dealing with more complicated matters related with immigration papers, scholarships, etc.”

Social activities to discover the region

The International Relations and Study Abroad Service regularly organises social activities, to help students get acquainted with the territory, discover hidden gems and get inspired for their free time activities. Sport activities in our mountains, art exhibitions, guided tours of the region’s main landmarks, participation to famous local events such as the Bellinzona carnival. This is just a small selection of our offer, but we believe there’s something for everyone!

Most activities are free of charge, unless otherwise specified.

Amanda, Copenhagen Business School
“USI International relations office organized a lot of activities to introduce new students to the campus, city and area in general. During the first days we got a welcome package with all the papers necessary to apply for permit of stay, guides and descriptions of activities in the area. It was quite useful. The Lugano city tour was nice and not too long, and gave me a few ideas of where to go in order to shop or eat out. Also, they offered a free tour to the ‘capital’ of Ticino (Bellinzona) and other activities such as a film night.”

Thanasis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
“The international relations office organized a lot of welcoming events helping us to make new friends and to get us familiar with the city and the local culture.”

A small region in the centre of Europe, with a hub attracting the best talents

With lakes, mountains, forests and small-size cities, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland is a cozy territory of 350’000 inhabitants nestled between Italy (on the south side) and the Swiss German part of Switzerland on the north. Its strategic position on the north-south axis and right at the centre of Europe facilitates the connection to the major Swiss and European cities, while maintaining human-scale characteristics.

USI, with campuses in Lugano, Mendrisio and Bellinzona, is considered as a cluster of scientific development, a generator of economic activity and a force capable of attracting and retaining young talents.

Pedro, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid
“Mendrisio is a good combination of a high academic level, slow pace and young and dynamic life in the weekends in the near surroundings. It is definitely a very good choice for your Erasmus year abroad.”

Marianna, Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata"
“I considered Switzerland as an amazing country in terms of nature, and I really love skiing and hiking, therefore I thought that Lugano would have been a perfect base to explore Swiss Alps and practice winter sports. I’ve also really appreciated the international environment at USI. In fact, I met people coming from many different European countries as well as some US and Chinese students. I would suggest Lugano to anyone who is willing to experience the Erasmus in a high quality university, and in a very international environment.”

Joel, KTH Stockholm
“The competence of the professors and work effort of students make it a very inspiring place to study architecture. I found the contrast between the small town and the internationality of professors and students to be the biggest strength of Mendrisio that gives a unique study experience.”