Ukrainian students adjust to life in Switzerland

The Lucerne School of Art and Design has taken in 29 Ukrainian students as exchange students rather than refugees. This means their time in Switzerland counts towards their degree.

This content was published on June 16, 2022 - 09:00

The 29 students come from the Lviv National Academy of Arts, a partner university. They came by bus via Warsaw, Poland, and then through Germany and on to Lucerne shortly after the war started in Ukraine.

Monika Gold, head of the Bachelor’s Programme in Graphic Design, was the driving force behind the move. Her own grandparents emigrated to Switzerland from what is now Ukraine and she has more than 20 years’ contact with the Lviv National Academy of Arts.

“A few days after the war broke out, I contacted the director there and asked if we could help," she told Swiss public television SRF.External link

The 29 students are now adjusting to life in Switzerland and to the Swiss study programme, as can be seen in the video above. In order to overcome the language barrier, the school has chosen to teach them in English. As exchange students rather than refugees, they can count their time in Lucerne towards their studies.


The future is yet unclear. Many of the students come from regions that are very affected by the war and are anxious about their family and friends. The School of Art and Design, which is part of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, will see if the students want to stay for a second exchange semester or whether they want to fully transfer to Lucerne. Some may want to return to Ukraine.

The Swiss university and research community has already said that it would do all it can to help academics and students fleeing conflict-torn Ukraine. Institutions have also offered support to Ukrainian researchers already in Switzerland.

At present, there are no Swiss-wide statistics for how many Ukrainian students are in Switzerland. Last month, reports said however that universities had received hundreds of requests from Ukrainian refugees.

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