University of Fribourg
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University of Fribourg: An affordable and experiential Swiss education

Home to majestic landscapes like the Swiss Alps, Switzerland has drawn local and international students from near and far. Frédéric, who hails from a small village in the French-speaking part of Switzerland next to the lake of Neuchatel, is one of them. 

“When it was the time for me to choose a university, I considered several options in different cities,” he says. Eventually, he chose the University of Fribourg, an institution that prides itself on being an exemplary place for research, learning, and development. 

Throughout his Master of Science in Physics and Doctorate in Physics here, Frédéric has always felt like he’s part of a big family thanks to the small class sizes at the Department of Physics. He’s never felt like another face lost in the crowd of the wider campus’s 10,000 students. “Beside the quality of the research, the main advantage in my field of study is clearly the excellent ratio of students to teachers. Having few students per classes allowed us to have a privileged contact with the professors who were then particularly available to answer our questions,” he says. “In this context, it is also easy to make contacts that can lead to beautiful professional collaborations.”

Pair that with passionate teaching staff from the Faculty of Science and Medicine, and students are in for an experiential and personalised learning experience. Asked about his favourite educator, one in particular stood out to the PhD student. “I am thinking in particular of our professor of quantum field theory and general relativity, with whom I learned as much during the courses as during the breaks when he was offering us some coffee to discuss the concepts introduced beforehand,” he shares. 

Another Master of Science in Physics student Matthias Murray from Norway remembers the dedication of many professors. “After finishing my bachelor’s degree, Professor Philipp Werner took the time to explain his research and proposed interesting topics for a master thesis. Dr. Christoph Leuenberger’s courses in mathematical methods, general relativity and quantum field theory were extremely clear and very well presented. Claude Monney’s courses in solid state physics made me like this topic at first. His course in ultrafast spectroscopy was particularly interesting. He is very humble and enjoys taking time to answer questions,” he says. “This university has many highly invested professors.”

The best part? Frédéric had countless opportunities to independently conduct research projects, participate in national and international scientific meetings, and share his results in conferences. Some of his memorable projects include measuring cosmic rays as a function of altitude in a hot air balloon or working in research laboratories at Fribourg and Synchrotron. 

University of Fribourg

The University of Fribourg is an excellent institution for ambitious international students. Source: University of Fribourg

Safaa Bouheraoua, a student in the Master of Science in Experimental Biomedical Researchprogramme, shares a similar sentiment. “I learned to work with various types of cells and bacteria. I then extended this knowledge to learning and optimising infection protocols of the host cells with bacteria. Finally, I learned to utilise various read-outs for my experiments from biochemical tests to confocal microscopy,” she shares. “This broad exposure gave me an advantage in planning and executing experiments at a PhD level.”

As a master’s student, she worked to set up a model that would be suitable to examine the role of various intracellular caspases on internalised bacteria.

Today, she is a PhD student at the Hannover Medical School in Germany. She is assigned to the Department of Molecular Bacteriology at Twincore Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research. “My PhD work focuses on the role of the bacterium ‘pseudomonas aeruginosa’ in infections of the human lower respiratory tract,” says Bouheraoua.

 University of Fribourg

Fribourg is home to the only university in Switzerland that teaches both in French and German. Source: University of Fribourg

Fribourg sets itself apart from other Swiss cities for its low cost of living — a major factor that led to Frédéric studying at the University of Fribourg. “At this point, I did not know anything about the university’s commitment to affordability but I took advantage of the fact that Fribourg is cheaper than other cities in Switzerland,” he shares. 

Despite its lower costs, the city is filled with life. Many concert halls, theatres, cinemas and charming little pubs are often packed with locals and students. Open-air sporting enthusiasts can be found in or close to its waters and forests, as water sports, hiking and skiing are great here.

That’s not all. Students also have the ideal environment to thrive in at an institution that is dubbed by Times Higher Education as a “strongly international university“. Most master’s programmes are only in English, while some, such as Environmental Sciences and Humanities or Mathematics, also include lectures in German and French.

When asked about the top reasons students should pursue the master’s programmes in Environmental Sciences and Humanities at the University of Fribourg, student Sophie Bucher says: “The university is bilingual or even trilingual. Students in Environmental Sciences and Humanities take courses in German, French and English and come from a wide variety of regions in Switzerland as well as from other countries. In the mostly internationally oriented fields of work in the environmental sciences — academic or non-academic — one will benefit greatly from the language skills acquired.”

So, are you ready to be part of a vibrant community at the University of Fribourg’s Faculty of Science and Medicine? Click here to learn more.

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