Research and innovation form the strong foundations of Switzerland’s education system

business February 04, 2019

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The expansion and growth of tourism and hotel businesses over the past two or three years, along with the growing popularity of smaller business hotels or boutique hotels, is fostering a surge in demand for further education in the hospitality and service sectors.

Switzerland immediately comes to mind when considering countries with an outstanding reputation in hotel management and hospitality. Students from all over the world are keen to further their studies in Switzerland, whose systems of teaching and learning are internationally recognized for their standards of excellence.

Ekthana Faisaikram, Managing Director of Ekthana Education Services Co., Ltd., a leading educational promotion institution in Switzerland, confirms that at present the country’s popularity as an educational destination among Thai students is on the rise. However, this interest is not only in hotel management, he says; many Thais are taking courses in a broad variety of subjects and at various levels, from secondary boarding school through to the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“Currently, the tourism and hotel businesses are regarded as being the most important economic sectors in Thailand, constituting important sources of income for the country. More and more Thai parents are keen to send their children to study in these subjects each year. Much of this arises by word of mouth, in part because the hotel business is so hot in Thailand at present. More hotels, both large and small, are opening now than ever before as well as many other businesses related to travel and tourism. Naturally, parents want their children to study in this field. Switzerland also has courses designed specifically for entrepreneurs as well as innovation and start-up businesses, all of which are experiencing strong demand in the job market.”

Ekthana added that Switzerland’s outstanding education system is the end result of the goal to produce quality personnel to meet the actual needs of the global workplace. The system emphasizes the development of courses that give students practical working experience.

The educational institutions often cooperate with business organizations in the development of courses and training facilities for entrepreneurs, in order to align educational development with the current and future needs of the market.

"The idea is not merely to create students but rather employees for business, who are fully prepared for work. Undergraduate students in the hotel field must pass an internship at least twice and for at least 6 months each time. Therefore, the company or organization that accepts the student will not ask ‘Are you ready to work?’ as the student will have gained plenty of experience while studying. World-class companies will be flying out to choose students before they have graduated, as they know the students have learned to become business leaders. This is the outstanding point of a Swiss education.”

Ekthana added that Switzerland has stressed innovativeness for several decades, which is an important foundation in creating a quality teaching system.

Switzerland has been a leader in innovation for many years. It is both a financial hub and has the second most number of Nobel laureates in the world. The country has many educational courses to choose from, together with unmatched diversity and cultural openness.

“With an education system based on strong foundations and research in all aspects, Switzerland understands the directions for future development. These courses have been developed over a long period of time, without having to wait for 4.0. After graduating, students can go anywhere in the world.

Switzerland is firmly dedicated to developing its students. Teachers there attract quite high salaries since the country wants only the best teachers for their children.

Another reason that foreigners from many countries around the world prefer sending their children to study in Switzerland is because of its high level of safety, being ranked as the safest country in Europe. It also has many of the world’s most livable cities, including Zurich, Geneva, Basel and more.

Switzerland also has an advantage being at the center of Europe in close proximity to many countries, enabling it to absorb cultural diversity and languages. This can be a plus point for those hoping to study at university level in many other countries.

“Some schools or colleges have hundreds of students from around the world, which is an experience seldom found elsewhere, even in the biggest countries. This means that the students will not feel lost or out of place but will be able to experience a diversity of different languages and accents. This will serve as a strong foundation for those who have to meet people from around the world in their careers.”

One of those who have personal experience of the Swiss teaching system is Ms. Soraya Bunnag, Director of the Tawana Bangkok Hotel and a former alumnus of Glion. She revealed that three generations of her family had graduated from Switzerland, a positive reflection of the quality of the Swiss education system.

“Since we’re involved in the hotel business, naturally we are interested to study this field. My mother graduated from Switzerland and so too did many of my relatives. If you ask me whether it was as I expected I would have to reply that it was beyond expectations. We did look at other prospective countries but after seeing the course content, we knew that Switzerland had exactly what we wanted.”

Ms. Soraya added that the knowledge and experience she gained inside and outside of the classroom have been of great benefit in her career ever since.

“Before I went to study there, I had never been far from my family and had never stayed at a boarding school. In Switzerland, I had to learn to fend for myself. I was the only Thai there at that time but mixing with friends from a variety of countries gave me new perspectives on life and I learned how to adapt. It was a wonderful experience.”

Her positive experience with the Swiss education system prompted Ms. Soraya to send her daughter to study at secondary school in Switzerland as well.

“When she said she wanted to study overseas, we weren’t sure if she would be able to take it, as she is our only daughter. We were quite worried. Anyway, we permitted her to go on the requirement that it must be Switzerland only. She agreed since she knew that everyone at home had graduated from Switzerland and she wanted to go too,” said Ms. Soraya.

“As far as education goes, we are very confident about the levels of safety, which is an important factor. After completing high school there, our daughter returned to Thailand to study medicine. Our daughter’s success serves as a good model for students of her generation. We are very happy for her.”

She said that she would always recommend Switzerland as a place to study, whether for subsequent generations in her own family of for friends, since “we already know how good the place is...”

Mr. ‘Champ’ Saktip Panyarachun, a young executive from the KRAS Group, shared his living experience during his master’s degree studies in Switzerland. “Studying in Switzerland was a great experience that I could not gain from elsewhere,” he said.

Prior to taking the decision to continue his master’s degree studies in Switzerland, Champ was a high-school student and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the UK.

 “After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the UK, I thought I might come back to Thailand to work, or further my studies with an MBA or marketing. At first, I had no idea about continuing in Switzerland as I thought the country would be totally different from the UK, in terms of city life and environmental conditions,” Champ recounted.

 “As my brother had a keen interest in the culinary and hotel businesses, he continued his studies in Switzerland after finishing at high-school level. I started to develop an interest in the country from then and simultaneously applied for universities in the UK and Switzerland. Indeed, I was already accepted by University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London, but once my brother told me I’d be able to ski almost year-round in Switzerland, I decided to try new things.”

With his brother’s convincing words, together with his confidence in the world-renowned high-standard courses of Switzerland, Champ decided to take his MBA in International Hospital and Service Industries Management at Glion Institute of High Education in Switzerland.

 “When I sought advice from K. Ekthana, my first question was whether or not I could live in Switzerland. I had lived in the UK for almost nine years and London offered all kinds of delicious food. I had a lot of friends there. Living in Switzerland could be head over heels for me. I felt sorry about London though because the courses I applied for here better answered my educational preferences. However, I thought if I took courses in Switzerland, I would get new and different experiences.”

Champ said he was unimpressed with the campus ambience on the first day.

“After I had arrived at the campus in Bulle, I felt Bulle was a very small and quiet city. I started to worry if I could live there. That evening, my brother took me to another campus in Montreux to see the picturesque views of the clear blue water of Lake Geneva. I suddenly realized that this was real heaven. It was a feeling I never had when seeing other places.

 “I had lived in the UK for nine years. But, believe it or not, I had never travelled anywhere other than my school, campus and London. But when I lived in Switzerland, I had a chance to travel to many cities and countries as Switzerland is at the center of Europe. From here, you can drive to Munich for lunch, shop for shoes in Milan with a travelling time of just three hours, or take a boat to France for a tasty meal.”

Champ added that Switzerland is also a very safe country.

“No matter how late I came home at night, I felt totally safe when taking a train in Switzerland.”

Switzerland is an ideal destination for those seeking a bright future for their education. Join us to explore new experiences in education, hear real experiences from Swiss alumni and decode why the “Swiss Made” notion has been guaranteed and internationally recognized at the STUDY SWISS FAIR 2019 on February 16, 2019 at the Embassy of Switzerland.

For more information, call 02 333 3000, Press 1

Or log on to register at www.bangkokbiznews.com/seminar/swiss