Former language assistants share their enthusiasm and answer questions about the Language Assistants Programme.

Language assistants work at Swiss schools and teach their native language. They chose to jump in head-first, to live and work in Switzerland – a dream destination for many.

But what does it mean exactly to teach in Switzerland? What awaits you in the classroom? How do you motivate students to learn a foreign language?

What are the challenges at Swiss schools, which are part of a different educational system? What does Switzerland have to offer? Is the salary high enough to finance your day-to-day life in this notoriously expensive country? How do you find a place to live?

While our website offers detailed information about application criteria and the application process, our programme ambassador discusses her personal experiences – the perfect complement!

Hear from our experienced language assistant, be inspired by her story, and ask her all of your burning questions. Our programme ambassador is a reliable contact who can provide you with a realistic idea of what we offer.

Programme Ambassador Mhyma Melissa Bilbao 

Country of origin

Ireland

School year: 2021/2022
School: Zurich Business School (KV Wirtschaftsschule)
Languages: English and German

Contact Mhyma Melissa Bilbao: E-Mail

Why I became a language assistant:

Upon completing the CertTESOL English teaching certificate in Austria during my Erasmus exchange and finishing my degree in German, I wanted to continue teaching in another German-speaking country. As it is a quadrilingual nation centrally located in mainland Europe, hearing various dialects and languages is the norm and is simply amazing. The famous Swiss mountains, idyllic countryside and world-class public transport made it all the more convincing for me.

I would recommend the programme to:

- German/French/Italian language graduates
- ESL trained or experienced with teaching English
- secondary school trained teachers
- looking to do a gap year
- This programme is especially suited for people (ideally) aged 21- 35 

What benefits do I get from participating in the programme?

During my time as a language assistant I usually had a four day work week and was off during all school holidays. This allows for plenty of free time for language learning and/or personal projects such as further study. I made local friends through joining community groups, integration programmes and volunteering. Of course there’s the opportunity to make lasting friendships with people all around the world too, for example with other language assistants while travelling across the 26 cantons of Switzerland - just like Ireland has 26 counties. 

Despite the high costs of living, the pay is proportional to each canton/ city. Some cantons exempt you from paying mandatory health insurance. Swiss living standards are among the highest globally. There’s also this magic 13th month salary that we get as a bonus!