Studying in Geneva
Geneva is an international and multicultural city set against the spectacular backdrop of the Swiss and French Alps, on the shores of one of Europe’s largest lakes, the Lac Leman. Quality of life is high and students can draw on a wide range of social activities and the magnificent outdoors.
Geneva is home to over 300 international NGOs and organisations, such as the UN, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This international setting contributes to CERAH’s global attraction; every year, CERAH’s courses and training programmes draw students from all over the world.
If you plan to come and study in Geneva, you will need to start preparing several months in advance for a number of reasons:
You should draw up a budget before embarking on a course. The cost of living in Geneva is high. The monthly costs for a student are usually estimated at about CHF 2,000 including rent, health insurance, public transport, food, telephone and a little spending money.
CERAH can offer only a very limited number of scholarships and these are only available to MAS and DAS students. We strongly advise you to look for your own financial support. You can obtain information about financial aid at the University of Geneva: Bureau d’information sociale (BUIS). Also check with your own organisation to see if they provide training grants as part of your career development programme. In addition some countries provide student grants to professionals furthering their career, so check with your regional and federal government departments also.
Visa and residence permit
You will need to obtain the necessary papers for residence in the canton of Geneva from the Swiss Embassy in your country of origin. Give yourself plenty of time to obtain the visa because the paperwork can take up to three months.
Upon your arrival in Geneva, you must go to the Office cantonal de la population (OCP) with your visa and passport. We advise you to contact the OCP in advance of arriving to check whether or not you will need to show them any additional documents.
In Geneva, rents are high and it can be difficult to find a place to live. We therefore strongly recommend that you obtain a firm commitment for accommodation before you arrive. It is possible to find a room in a university residence (you need an ISIS number before applying), on the commercial rental market or a flat-share.
You can find a non-exhaustive list of accommodation possibilities in Geneva here.
The University of Geneva offers a inter-generational programme of flat-sharing "1 hour of time per square meter". Learn more about the programme and conditions.
This is compulsory in Switzerland and it will take up a large proportion of your monthly budget. If you are a foreign student with a B student permit, you may be eligible for the StudentCare and Score Studies schemes which offer reduced premiums.
For more information on all these points, you can contact the Bureau d’information sociale (BUIS).
Useful links at the University of Geneva
- Antenne santé (health)
- Centre de conseil psychologique (Psychological support)
- Urgences (EMERGENCIES)
- Uni Emploi
- Permanence juridique des étudiants en droit (PJED)
- Assistance informatique
- Bibliothèques universitaires
- Sports universitaires
- Activités culturelles universitaires