Organising your studies at the Academy
Important things to know before moving to Switzerland for your studies. A brief guide with the most common questions to be covered.
Discover our Campus
How to get to Mendrisio
Students are encouraged to travel to the Academy using public transportation.
The bus service offers reliable direct connections from Mendrisio, where the Academy is located, to Chiasso and Como.
From the train station, Bus number 1 and 2 (Dir. Chiasso) stop "Ospedale B. Vergine
The train station is just a few minutes walk from the Academy and connects Mendrisio with Lugano, Varese, Como and Milan
Students travelling to Switzerland by train can purchase a half-fare travelcard at the Swiss Federal Railways' counters. The railways also offer affordable monthly cards for cross border commuters who travel daily between Switzerland and Italy. Also available is the "Seven25" travelcard, which allows travelling for free from 7 pm to 5 am 19.00, valid only for people under 25 years of age.
The airport of Lugano-Agno is 20 km from Mendrisio. Milan-Malpensa is about 50 km; every hour, a TILO train connects the airport with Mendrisio in 50 minutes.
Foreign students resident in Switzerland may use their own vehicle on Swiss territory only with custom authorisation.
Tuition and scholarships
Tuition fees amount to CHF 4’000 per semester. Applicants whose official residence was in Switzerland (including Liechtenstein and Campione d’Italia) at the time of the final high school exam (Maturità) pay a reduced semester fee of CHF 2’000.
Tuition fees are payable at the beginning of each term, by the deadline indicated on the invoice; fee payment is an essential condition for matriculating or renewing one’s enrolment.
Foreign students not yet domiciled in Switzerland must apply for a Residence permit for study in Switzerland to the ‘Ufficio Regionale degli Stranieri’ in their chosen place of residence. Applicants should present the standard form enclosing:
- two passport-size photographs
- a photocopy of their passport
- extract of criminal records (original document)
- certified statement issued by the university on enrolment.
Students must declare that they have suitable accommodation and adequate financial means to attend courses, pay premiums and contributions for compulsory health insurance (KVG) and for their own needs. They are also required to give an undertaking to leave Switzerland after completing the course of studies.
After applying, students are authorized to reside in Switzerland pending a decision.
If a visa is required, the students should apply for an entry permit to the Swiss consulate in his/her country of residence. Entry to Switzerland is possible in this case only after the application has been approved. A visa for tourist cannot be converted into a visa for students.
Foreign students resident in a different canton must apply for permission from their canton of residence, or present an application to change their domicile to Cantone Ticino.
The forms for the ‘Ufficio degli Stranieri’ are available from the Academy’s offices, which will also provide assistance and information during the enrolments.
Ufficio Regionale degli Stranieri
via Pollini 29
The Mendrisio campus has a student housing facility called the Academy House (Casa dell'Accademia). The facility provides housing for 72 students and is located just ten minutes from Palazzo Canavée. The residence, designed by the architects Carola Barchi and Ludovica Molo with the collaboration of Jachen Könz, consists of two rectangular buildings in reinforced concrete, parallel to each other and divided by a garden. On three floors, there are 18 apartments (3 of them for disabled people), of about 90 m², divided into 4 single rooms, two bathrooms, living room and kitchen.
The apartments are entirely furnished (beds with drawers on wheels, closets, table, chairs, sofa and armchairs, complete kitchen) with the exception of linen and kitchenware.
The laundry room, the cellars and the bicycle parking are located on the lower floor. Access for people with disabilities is possible thanks to the elevator. The external parking lot has 10 parking spaces for rent and 6 for visitors.
The rooms can be rented annually by sending the request form, duly completed, by 10 August each year.
The facility's management is entrusted to the Casa dell'Accademia Foundation, which is responsible for housing assignment according to the criteria of the Protocol. The Foundation's bylaws provide for an eight-member Board of Trustees.
- Michele Morisoli
- Antoine Turner
- Clio Franchi
Member and representative of the municipality of Mendrisio
- Samuele Cavadini
- Aurelio Galfetti
- Marc Collomb
- Enrico Sassi
- Martino Pedrozzi
- Claudio Nauer
- Massimo Sannitz
- Marisa Furci Macchione
Health insurance and Liability insurance
Students must be insured privately for health care in case of illness or accidents. The application of the bilateral agreement on the free circulation of persons between Switzerland and the European Union has established a reciprocal system of assistance for treatment under health insurance illness. Students from the EU should apply to their national health insurer for the European Health Insurance Card to apply for exemption from compulsory insurance. The European Health Insurance Card must be valid till the end of the student’s stay in Switzerland.
For non EU students who decide to live in Switzerland USI has agreed an health and accident insurance with a Swiss insurance company called ‘Academic Care’.
More information at the enrollment office.
The liability insurance is optional but highly recommended. This insurance protects people against unwilling damage caused to third parties, for example damages caused during sports activities, whilst renting an apartment or as a pet owner.
Cost of living in Switzerland
Living costs in Lugano or Mendrisio are, on average, between CHF 1,300 - 1,900 per month.
In general, the monthly student's budget should consider the following items:
- CHF 450-800.- for a shared single room or one-bedroom apartment
- CHF 450.- for food and other household expenses
- CHF 50-100.- for public transportation
- CHF 50.- for books and study materials
- CHF 200.- for expenses of various kinds
- CHF 160-280.- for Health Insurance, when required
USI offers language courses in Italian, French, German and English before the beginning of the academic year and throughout the semesters.
- Italian language courses
- Preparatory, levelling and advanced language courses
- Language certificates (PLIDA, Goethe Institut)
The academic year is divided into two semesters: autumn (September to December) and spring (February to May) of 14 full weeks each. Three examination sessions are scheduled annually: winter (January-February), summer (June-July), and autumn (August-September). At the end of each semester, a final critique takes place that counts as an exam.
Sports and leisure
The USI Sport Service organises various sporting activities open to all university community members (students, PhDs, faculty and staff). The main objectives are to promote personal well-being by complementing with physical activity the predominantly intellectual tasks that mark university life and to promote experiences of social and cultural value. Various activities are offered during the semesters and the breaks between semesters. The choice ranges from regular workouts to training courses, camps, events and special activities. The USI Sport Service also has available nautical bases and sports equipment and promotes a series of special agreements with various partners. Register at www.sport.usi.ch to benefit from the offer.
Large supermarkets are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 7 pm, Thursday from 8:30 am to 9 pm, and Saturday from 8:30 am to 5 pm (summer hours until 6:30 pm). Smaller stores remain open until 6:30 pm (also on Thursdays) and close on Saturdays at 5 pm.
USI students can benefit from various discounts and concessions by presenting their student badge at various companies and institutions. The list is available at www.desk.usi.ch/sconti