In Swiss higher education, the number of English-taught programmes has steadily increased in recent years. Most higher education institutions also offer English for specific purposes courses. The purpose of these courses is to equip students with the necessary skills to participate in disciplinary discourse in English and to sensitise them to lingua-franca communication at the workplace. Such courses themselves build on, and consolidate, the English language training received in the public school system. The present study examines the relationships between English language performance at the upper- and post-secondary level, and students’ confidence in applying their language skills in international study programmes.