Languages of Switzerland
Switzerland has four national languages, German, French, Italian and Romansh. Information is always printed in German and French, and often in Italian as well. The German part of Switzerland has spoken regional dialects known as Swiss German. High German is the written language. English is widely spoken in Switzerland and is often used in business. Learning the local language and making an effort to understand the dialect will help with integration.
Learn more about the benefits of multilingualism in the article Multilingualism: an overlooked gift
Language courses in Fribourg
Fribourg is bilingual French and German and language courses are widely available. In Fribourg you may also hear a unique local dialect known as Bolze, which is a mixture of French and German, however it is not in common use in the city. Fribourg actively promotes language and cultural integration programmes. Most language schools and associations are members of the COLAMIF (Cantonal Coordination of Language Courses for Migrants) network.
Some well-known language schools in Fribourg include Migro Klubschule and Swiss French School. Lire et Ecrire (DE/FR) is the association for adult literacy. LivrEchange (DE/FR) is an intercultural library offering material in 160 languages, including books to learn French and German. The University of Fribourg has a language centre that caters to the needs of its large international student population.
Language courses & education
Courses vary according to structure, duration, degree of intensity, level, language, class size and cost. In general, there is an option to suit most people's needs. Most schools offer day and evening classes to accommodate students with other commitments. There are usually opportunities for study online, in small groups or in private lessons. Some schools offer language assessment exams to help determine your level before beginning a course, it may be taken online or at school. At certain locations it may also be possible to sit in and try an introductory lesson before committing to the entire course.
Things to consider when choosing a language school
Before making a final decision, visit the school in person to discuss your class options and to get a feel for the school culture and environment. Ask these questions:
- What training do the instructors undergo?
- What is the average class size?
- Is there an entrance test to ensure that you begin at the correct level?
- Is it possible to join an introductory class before enroling?
- Is the course material suitable and helpful?
- Is there a recognised certificate on completion of the course?
- Are private lessons available?
- Are other adult education courses available?