Living in Geneva


Finding an accommodation as a student in Geneva is not always easy. We do, however, try to assist our incoming students in the best possible way in finding external housing and to ensure they will enjoy living in Geneva.

Please be aware that the current housing situation in Geneva is extremely difficult and we highly encourage every arriving student to take all the steps possible before his or her arrival. Students from the wider Europe should make the necessary arrangements to visit places on their own in Geneva before the start of their classes whilst priority in available offers is given to students from non-EU countries that are unable to travel to Switzerland before the start of the classes.

Since finding housing in Geneva can be extremely difficult, it is crucial to start arranging accommodation as soon as you get your letter of acceptance! The situation is complicated not only because Geneva is a rather expensive city,  but also because there is a serious shortage of rooms. The standard price for renting or subletting a room ranges from 800 to 1500 CHF per month depending on location, time of year, and luck.

Student housing is usually less expensive, ranging from approximately 500 to 800 CHF. While trying to find a flat to share with more people seems like a good idea it is generally difficult to make happen. A Swiss guarantor is often required and not everyone is willing to rent to students. Hence, you are more likely to find a room for one person.

Please be aware that, unfortunately, some of the housing offers available on the Internet can turn out to be scams. Therefore, keep the following in mind:

  • Never send money to a stranger using a money transfer service.
  • Beware of deals or opportunities that seem too good to be true.
  • Always ask for the full details of the person (including telephone number) and the full address of the offered accommodation.
  • Always make sure you can visit the place and meet the owner in person before signing any contract. Do not sign contracts via e-mail.

Accommodation


The best housing options are living in student residences, other housing associations, or rooms/apartments rented by private individuals. Please click here, to see the latest list on accommodation options and their contact details. Many students also opt for living around Geneva – either further along the lake, usually between Geneva and Lausanne, or in France. Many independent municipalities such as Vernier, Meyrin, Troinex, or Lancy are effectively part of the town and commute to the Graduate Institute can take 20-40 min. Lausanne is connected by train, approximately 40 min away.

While living in France can be much cheaper, depending on your nationality you may need to arrange for French visa, residence permits, etc. and it may thus not be an option for non-EU or non-Swiss citizens.

Most students live in one of the student ‘foyers’ (residences/dormitories). Usually, these offer furnished single rooms with shared bathroom (but often with sinks in the room) and kitchen facilities, both dormitory-style and apartment-style. Kitchens are shared and you are often required to provide your own cookware and utensils. The major student residences in Geneva are:
Student residences (foyers) in Geneva:

  • Résidence Village-Suisse
  • Home Saint-Pierre (Foyer for girls only)
  • Centre Saint-Boniface
  • Foyer St-Justin
  • Régie Foncière Student Résidence
  • L’Accueil Résidence Pour Jeunes Filles (Foyer for girls only)
  • Foyer International Pour Jeunes Filles (Foyer for girls only)
  • Foyer George Williams
  • Résidence Le Voltaire
  • Foyer Universitaire de Carouge

Health insurance


Please be aware that having a (Swiss) health insurance is mandatory for everybody who is staying in Switzerland for more than 90 days. After your arrival, you have 3 months to either apply for an exemption or to get a Swiss health insurance plan.

Swiss healthcare is outstanding. Its combined public, subsidized private and totally private healthcare system create an extensive network of highly qualified doctors (many of them from elsewhere in the EU) and hospitals, the best equipped medical facilities and no waiting lists, but it all comes at a price: around 10 % of the average Swiss salary goes towards health insurance premiums. There is no Free State health service in Switzerland. To compare the different Health Care packages provided, please go to www.comparis.ch and find out the best deals.

International Geneva


Following a rigorous and stimulating intellectual challenge in your study programme can be perfectly balanced by enjoying Geneva and its surrounding areas! Geneva is located on the right bank of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and is encircled by France. The city lies between the Alps and the Jura mountains, with the rivers Rhône and Arve passing right through it. Geneva is also known as the city of peace and lies on the cross-roads of Western Europe. From this location one is only a few hours away flight from Paris, Milan, London, Rome and Madrid. The name of the city comes from Latin, Genua, and was mentioned for the first time by Julius Caesar in De Bello Gallico, Ceasars work on the Gallic Wars.

The population of the city is approximately 189,000 while of the Canton 490,000. Geneva is also the city with the highest number of foreigners in Switzerland, with up to 40% of its inhabitants non-Swiss and coming from more than 180 nationalities.

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Public Transportation


The Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations is located near the United Nations office and is in the heart of the international block of the city. Two bus lines (V, Z) conveniently lead you directly to the campus of GSD, situated at the stop named “Penthes” or “Pregny-Village”.

Geneva has a very complete and well-structured network of public transportation. No matter what part of town you live in, you will have access to at least one line that will take you to the centre of the city. The transportation system in Geneva allows one to purchase tickets directly at the tram or bus stops on a daily basis. However, a more convenient option if one uses public transportation very often is to purchase a monthly or yearly “abonnement”. This is a subscription to the Transport Public Genevois (TPG) giving the passenger season tickets for his/her travels ranging from 45 to 70 swiss francs depending on the age of the passenger. These monthly subscriptions allow the passenger to access any part of the city of Geneva, along with its Canton. It also allows the use of second class trains travelling to such locations as the airport or nearby villages situated in the neighbour Canton of Vaud.

You can find out more about the lines, schedules, and directions to take on the website of the Geneva transport system, so as to check specific destinations or look up what lines have a connection near your place of residence.

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Geneva’s Cultural and Social Life


Geneva has a great historic and cultural background. The Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations is located in perhaps the most compact international block of the world with over two hundred organizations also based in this area. However, Geneva is not only known for its international community. It is a culturally rich city with a very exciting social life.

The city of Geneva organizes a vast array of events throughout the year that attract people of all ages. Students are encouraged to visit the city and to take advantage of the active nightlife. The official website of the city of Geneva can inform the students of any upcoming social event and about the most popular restaurants, bars, and other establishments worth visiting. The website also includes information about all the cultural sites of Geneva along with their location, opening hours, etc.

As a cosmopolitan and international city, Geneva offers many attractions to the English speaking community. Even without the knowledge of French, GSD students can still enjoy camaraderie and meet new people through this network of English speaking restaurants and bars. The AngloInfo website serves the English community of Geneva and can be consulted for just about anything. It contains all the valuable information about Geneva and its surroundings while adapting it for the English speaking community of Geneva.

http://www.ville-geneve.ch (Official Website)

http://www.genevatourisme.ch (Geneva Tourism)

http://geneva.angloinfo.com (AngloInfo, English Community)

http://www.glocals.com (Anglophone Expat Community)

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