Work and Travel in Switzerland
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN SWITZERLAND FOR TRAVELLERS
Talk about Switzerland you talk about chocolate, mountains, and one of the most expensive countries in the world. If you want to travel in Switzerland you need the money for it. Looking for volunteering opportunities in Switzerland is the best option for extending your stay and seeing more of this majestic country.
We’re going to show you some of the volunteering spots you’re not going to find in other travel guides for Switzerland. Start your next big adventure now!
1. Become a Ski Instructor in the Alps
One of the most popular ways to work and travel in Switzerland is to take a job in the Alps throughout the ski season. Becoming a ski instructor, regardless of your level, allows you to stay and work in Switzerland for up to six months before the season ends. And it pays extremely well if you can get a paid job.
There’s also the option of working within the chalets, if teaching children to ski or snowboard isn’t to your taste.
2. Conserve the Forests of Switzerland
Switzerland is known for its natural beauty and it has extremely strict rules to protect its green areas. Much of this work is taken on by organisations that use volunteers as their primary means of carrying out their work.
Get to know the rural beauty as you travel in Switzerland by helping to conserve and protect the mountain forests of the country. You’ll be helping with spreading environmental awareness, nursing trees back to health, and supporting the regrowth of many of the forests.
3. Work in a Hostel in Switzerland
Switzerland has a huge hostelling culture. You’ll find hostels in the main cities of Zurich, Lucerne, and Bern, along with hostels in the middle of nowhere. In the summer season there are always places for volunteers who’re willing to clean or sit at reception in exchange for food and accommodation.
If you have specialist skills, such as plumbing or painting, you may be able to command a paying salary in a hostel. For travellers who want to explore the country, though, this is the perfect volunteer opportunity.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR SWITZERLAND
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union (EU) but is one of four nations that are part of the Schengen Zone anyway. This allows anyone from the UK and the rest of the EU to live and work in Switzerland for as long as they want without the need for a separate permit.
For North Americans, the Japanese, and South Koreans they can enter without a visa but can only stay for 90 days in the whole Schengen Zone out of every 180 days. South Africans and Russians must apply for a formal visa but can still only stay for 90 days out of every 180 days.
Thankfully, these visas are relatively easy to get with the right documentation. However, if you overstay your visa you can be banned from coming back into Europe for years to come.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland has extremely harsh winters, which can cause massive disruption to the forests in the region. Many conservation projects employ volunteers in spring because this is when they start many of their rehabilitation projects. This could include moving dead plants and trees from the winter and planting new trees in time for the saplings to take advantage of the summer season.
It’s also a fantastic time to work in some of the vineyards in the northern and southern areas of Switzerland. This is the beginning of the planting season.
A big influx of tourists hit Switzerland at this time of year. Many hostels only open for the summer season, especially in the rural areas. It’s a good time to work and travel in Switzerland because many of the hostel jobs open up to volunteers for the first time in the summer. Take note that Swiss hostels typically always have paid workers on the books, so finding that same work in the off-season can be difficult.
Another option for the summer is summer camps. These come in many forms and usually don’t require any specific qualifications. For example, you could participate in an English immersion camp where the only requirement is to be a native English speaker. There are also sports camps, where if you know the off side rule you’re already qualified.
Autumn is when the schools begin their brand new year. Many parents choose to find extra-curricular activities for children at this time of year. That can mean teaching English in Switzerland becomes a viable opportunity for you. Look for these positions in the major cities, but make sure you already have some qualifications.
Finding formal English teaching work without at least a TEFL qualification, even as a native English speaker, is harder than you might think.
For those who want to travel in Switzerland, wintertime is the most lucrative time to volunteer. As a result of the country’s extremely high minimum wage and the prospect of taking advantage of free accommodation, working on the ski slopes is one of the best opportunities you’re likely to come across.
If you already have qualifications in hospitality or ski instruction, you’ll be a prime candidate. Most chalets and ski companies prefer to hire workers on a seasonal basis.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland is one of the most diverse in Europe, with influences from the French, Germans, Italians, and the native Swiss people themselves. Working and volunteering in Switzerland is easy. There are no dangerous parts of the country and heavy regulations means that you can take on any volunteering opportunity in Switzerland with confidence.
You should be aware that the majority of volunteering positions are extremely formal, so you must have all your paperwork in order. This is especially true for those who come from countries like Russia and South Africa. Europeans can simply walk into any position without registering because they’re part of the EU.
Do you want to experience the real Switzerland?
- Edited on Jan 16 2018 by Yara