There are just 14 days to go until our Crans-Montana campus opens its doors to welcome back staff and students. We hope you’re as excited about that as we are! It also means we’re on track to start the next intakes of new students for all our programs in October. Whether you’re a new or returning student, you’ve been asking us lots of questions about the resumption of campus studies. Here are 14 of the most asked, with 14 answers.
Q1. What is the current COVID-19 situation in Switzerland?
It is, to quote our Federation President, Simonetta Sommaruga, “under control”. There’s been a significant relaxation of the restrictions that were imposed at the height of the pandemic. This has allowed life to return to something close to what we had before, with some additional safety measures. Virus cases have risen a little since the easing of restrictions, but still represent an exceptionally low proportion of the 8.5 million population.
In fact, Switzerland was recently ranked the number one safest country in the world for COVID-19. The research was carried out by data-driven investment company Deep Knowledge Group (DKG) and published across many global media, including Forbes. No mere snapshot, the analysis made use of some 11,400 data points, across a wide range of parameters.
Q2. Is Switzerland imposing any inbound travel restrictions?
From July 6, Switzerland has imposed a 10-day quarantine on international arrivals from certain destinations – these are listed here. If you are arriving from any other country, as of this moment you are not required to quarantine.
Q3. What happens if I’m coming from a high COVID-risk country? Can I still be admitted?
The good news is that we are able to welcome students from countries where there is a higher risk of COVID infection. However, the admissions process is longer and more complicated, because we have to get approvals from both the federal government in Bern and the canton in which our campus is located. If your home country is on this list, you will need to send your files to your country’s Swiss Embassy in advance. Note that the countries on this list can change at any time, so you should bookmark it and check back regularly.
Q4. Are you providing any help or support to students who may have been financially affected by the current crisis?
While we cannot offer universal financial support, we do have some potential solutions. For instance, each year we offer a limited number of academic scholarships to students who merit a place on our programs but also need a little help financially. And we will also try to provide as much flexibility as we can when it comes to payment plans for academic fees. We look at every case on its own merits, so the best thing to do is to get in touch with your local education counsellor.
Q5. With the September start date postponed to October, what are the revised check-in dates for new students?
You can find all the information you need by clicking this link to our website.
Q6. Given the current situation, I don’t think that I will receive my high school final grades on time to complete the application process. What will happen in that case?
In these exceptional circumstances, we are making flexible provisions in order to admit students in advance of receiving final documentation. We are consulting with industry organizations (e.g. Swiss Learning), accrediting bodies (e.g. NECHE) and our relevant local authorities to ensure a successful outcome for each student.
Q7. I haven’t been able to take my IELTS or TOEFL test, due to the closure of the testing centers. Is there any other way I can prove my English level?
For this intake only, the Swiss authorities have indicated that they will accept each school’s validation of the English level of its applicants. Of course, the English language level we require remains the same as before, since we need to ensure that your English skills are sufficient to study your chosen program successfully. So we’ve set up an alternative testing plan.
The three additional English language tests that will be accepted (for the Fall 2020 intake only) are:
- IELTS Indicator (you sit the test independently and provide us with your official results)
- Oxford Placement Test (this test is bookable via our International Enrolment team and is included as part of your application fee)
- Language Cert (you sit the test independently and then provide us with your official results)
Q8. I need to apply for a visa to study at Les Roches, is there any change in the application procedure that I should be aware of?
There is no change to the visa information that is normally collected, but Swiss embassies have now adopted an electronic system (ORBIS) that should make the procedure faster and more efficient. Some embassies are still using the old system, though, so take enough time in advance to make sure you have everything ready.
One of our main reasons for pushing back the check-in and start dates for the Fall 2020 semester is to give you five weeks extra to secure your visa in advance of your program starting. We have also added a new specialist to our Swiss admissions team – someone with vast experience in the international education sector and with a proven track record of solving tough and complex visa issues. So, if you think you might experience problems getting your visa, please get in touch with us as soon as possible! In the meantime, we are in close contact with all the relevant authorities, and we will keep you informed of the latest information in relation to visa issuance.
Q9. I am not sure that I will be able to fly to Switzerland on time for the start of the semester. What will happen if I arrive late?
We appreciate how difficult it is to make concrete travel plans so we’re going to be as flexible as possible to ensure you can get your studies successfully underway. We always try to accommodate late arrivals, and this year is certainly no exception. Flexibility is the key word: if you are a Bachelor student, you might also like to check the next question, where we talk about a new remote study option to keep your education on track!
Q10. I’m a Bachelor student – what happens if I can’t join the campus in October due to travel restrictions? Will I be able to follow the courses online?
If you can’t join us on campus in October, we have the perfect answer in the form of Les Roches Connect. This brand new, bespoke learning package lets you begin your first semester Bachelor studies at home, through a mixture of online tutorials and demonstrations, one-to-one coaching and mentoring, plus live culinary demonstrations and cocktail making. Then in January you’ll come to campus to finish the semester. Through Les Roches Connect you’ll achieve all the semester one learning outcomes, while also experiencing the Les Roches Way of Life through your desktop!
Q11. What kind of safety measures will be put in place to protect students and staff on campus?
While our campuses have been closed, we’ve taken the opportunity to implement much more rigorous health and safety protocols, specifically designed to minimize the risks from COVID-19. They are based on four key principles:
- Reinforced sanitary protocols
- Clear guidelines for personal hygiene
- Physical distancing in all situations
- Regular communication to staff, faculty and students
There’s too much detail to share here, so why not visit our dedicated website page to find out more about what we’re doing for your safety.
And we’ve also prepared a special campus safety video which you can watch below:
Q12. What will happen if someone tests positive for COVID-19 on campus?
We have a specific protection plan to follow the moment we are notified of a positive test. These procedures have been devised in close partnership with the public health authorities and under the direction of the experts we have on campus. Our security teams are available at any time should a student not feel well. Furthermore, as a school we have a monitoring process that will make it easier for us to trace any person a suspected case has been in contact with.
Q13. What will happen to the second semester internships?
The Career Services team will be there to fully support your internship search.
The department is constantly in touch with the industry representatives worldwide in order to make you aware of the latest vacancies. Should the industry not have recovered sufficiently by the time you have to go on internship, we will offer you flexible solutions as we have done until now.
For Master’s students, your placement can begin as soon as you’ve completed your second semester exams and you’ll have a two-year window in which to complete your internship. Valid positions for the placement semester will now include: internships, a management training position and full-time employment. (hopeclinical.com)
Q14. Will I still receive support from the school to secure a placement?
All students in every program will benefit from an intensive Career Development Program adapted to the level of studies, personalized support services (onsite and online) and workshops.
We are also introducing a Virtual Career Day, to ensure that even in this special time, when companies can’t travel to campus easily, you can still connect safely with a large variety of industry leaders and recruiters.
From semester 6 for Bachelor students and upon graduation for Master’s students, you’ll have access to the Les Roches Alumni platform, connecting you to our global alumni network. You’ll be able to check job postings and keep up to date with the latest industry thought leadership.
Q15. How will the effects of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry impact graduating students in the coming years?
This has been a very serious shock to hospitality, as well as many other sectors. But we saw with previous major crises (including 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis) that the hospitality industry is remarkably resilient. The reason for this is that people love to travel and enjoy new experiences and, even though COVID has changed some things, that desire remains as strong as ever.
Nobody can predict the future with certainty, but we’re confident that travel, tourism and hospitality still has a big part to play in the global economy – and our personal happiness – as we emerge from these challenging times. If you want a measure of that confidence, we’ve just announced the launch of a new Innovation Hub to be based on campus in Crans-Montana.
And if you need even more evidence, check out the new partnership that Sommet Education, the group we are part of, has struck with the UN World Tourism Organization. For us, initiatives like these are all about using the present circumstances as fuel to make the global hospitality industry even better than it was before. Why not come and join us on that exciting journey?