‘Exotic’ Languages Get Swiss Tongues Wagging

by swisscham in Culture & Society

Interest in languages such as Chinese, Russian and Arabic is growing in Switzerland. An ability to decode one of these gives a CV a definite boost, even if demand in the job market remains low. “Languages open many doors,” is something you might have heard from your parents since you were young. The fact is that in Switzerland it’s rare to bump into someone who can’t get by in a language other than his or her mother tongue. And it’s not just “traditional” languages that are piquing people’s interest. In recent years, language institutions of all sizes offering Chinese have sprung up like mushrooms. Two years ago, for example, a Confucius Institute opened in Geneva, attached to the university, with two more planned for Basel and Zurich. In addition, various state schools are offering Chinese as an optional subject.

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