Not many universities can strike the balance of having a young and dynamic outlook with unmistakable success. For most, a strong reputation and recognition of quality are achieved after hundreds of years in the world of academia alongside a revolving door of tens of thousands of incoming and leaving students.
This isn’t the case for the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI). Despite its age — it has recently celebrated its 25th birthday — USI has quickly established itself as a top quality institution in Europe. It recently came in 37th worldwide in Times Higher Education’s 2021 Young University Rankings and 26th worldwide in the QS Top 50 under 50 rankings, both of which consider the merits of universities that have been in existence for less than 50 years. It has also consistently landed spots in the top 300 universities globally.
The university offers a focused set of programmes, counting six bachelor’s degrees, 24 master’s degrees and 13 doctoral programmes, among others. Subjects span across architecture, communication, law, economics, medicine and biomedicine, computer science, public health, computational science, data science and the humanities. Many of these programmes are taught in English.
The setting? Four campuses in Lugano, Mendrisio and Bellinzona, making up some of the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. The university’s main campus in Lugano is made up of the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society, the Faculty of Economics, and the Lugano Faculty of Theology. Students at USI also have access to a number of facilities, including event theatres, the Lugano university library, and lush public gardens, among others.
The Lugano city centre and lakeside are close to the main campus, and students can easily travel there by foot. This unique region of Switzerland is home to the third-largest community of Italians in the world outside of Italy. It marries the rich culture and history of Italy with the widely celebrated multiculturalism and multilingualism of Switzerland.
This ultimately means that students and faculty at USI are no strangers to diversity. USI is currently host to 3,350 students from 100 countries across the world, and has graduated more than 10,000 alumni. A result of this? Countless opportunities to engage with a truly global community both within and outside of USI’s walls.
“USI is a very international university,” says Master in International Tourism graduate DDzmitry Bazhko. “In my class alone, there were students representing 19 different countries.”
Still, USI enjoys a relatively intimate environment. Its small size means that students benefit from a 1:9 teacher to student ratio, providing for quality, personalised and targeted learning. This naturally allows for more opportunities to engage with the university’s hub of international faculty members — a move that’s been praised by both students and awarding bodies alike.
Practical application is also commonplace in USI’s classes, leaving room for an interdisciplinary, engaging and interactive approach to teaching. “The USI campus is equally modern and accommodating,” adds Bazhko. “The courses combine applied projects, often involving local businesses. This helps students obtain real-life experience in the business world.”
This has most definitely paid off — 93.2% of USI graduates found employment within one year of completing their studies, an impressively high number that reflects the university’s calibre.
USI is guided by three values: quality, openness and responsibility, and this is most certainly reflected in its efforts to not only provide support to students, but to aspiring entrepreneurs, as well. It does this through the USI Startup Centre and the university’s Career Service.The centre runs its own startup incubator, investing time and resources to organise, launch, propose and take part in targeted events throughout the year that focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. Aspiring entrepreneurs gain access to the institute’s academic expertise as well as the centre’s 40+ professional experts and coaches.
More support can be found via the university’s Career Service. Not only does it foster exchange and contacts with the business world, it also acquaints students with the working environment. The result? Smoother and successful transitions from the academic world to the workplace.
Several initiatives exemplify this winning approach, such as CV guidance, hosting HR professionals and line managers from different sectors on campus, an on-campus careers event involving a wide range of companies from different industries, facilitating of internships and field projects, an online job databank for all USI students and alumni, and more.
It’s little wonder then that USI graduates are as innovative as they are capable of taking on the world. With the ample opportunities for direct industry exposure, practical learning, and multicultural engagement, students are sure to enter the new phases of their lives not only with the confidence they need to succeed, but the empathy and awareness to thrive in an international environment.