Geneva attracts the best and brightest individuals; students drawn to excellent study abroad programs and the myriad of international organizations headquartered there. With the United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and the World Trade Organization, to name a few, there are also exceptional opportunities to combine your study with internships. While students in Geneva know how to study, they also know how to have a good time. Geneva is a dynamic city with world-class amenities. It combines old world charm with modern restaurants and bars. There is plenty to do and see, and Geneva is well-placed within Europe so travel is easy. Studying abroad in Geneva is sure to be unforgettable and an experience of a lifetime.

Photo credits: archer10 (Dennis).

Geneva is really two towns, Rive Gauche and Rive Droite, separated by the Rhone River and united by Lake Geneva. Old Town is a charming collection of cobblestone streets, ancient churches, and beautiful buildings. Across the Rhone on the Rive Droite are the headquarters for the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other important international non-governmental organizations. Don’t miss the magnificent Jet d’Eau, a fountain of water shooting 140m into the air from the middle of Lake Geneva.

Other highlights include the historically important St. Pierre Cathedral and other monuments to the Protestant Reformation. Students will love the charm of Old Town, the wide selection of bars and over 1200 restaurants that dot the city. The city is very welcoming to the many students who make Geneva home and there are often discounts at theatres and book stores, as well cultural events.

During the summer, for example, the Verdure Theatre in Parc de la Grange offers free concerts and there is a three day Fete de la Musique with live music. Find more information through organizations such as the Erasmus Student Network.

Affordability

There’s no beating around the bush, Geneva is expensive. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world and it doesn’t help American students that the Swiss Franc is strong against the dollar. Despite the expense, there are ways for students to enjoy their experience and take advantage of all that this beautiful city has to offer. For example, it’s a very walkable city, so save a few francs and skip the bus or taxi. You will probably find that groceries are cheaper just across the border in France and all of the fountains in Geneva run with clean, fresh, pure mountain water, which saves you from buying bottled water. Geneva continues to be a top destination for students so the costs aren’t prohibitive.

To further help with costs, your study abroad office should be able to provide information on scholarships and fundraising. Do some research to find opportunities with individual programs that have scholarships and financial aid.

Culture and Immersion

Geneva is a friendly, welcoming city where 40% of those who call it home are international. This creates a melting pot of cultures and a sense of camaraderie and hospitality. One of the biggest challenges is the cost of living, which can be a shock, but otherwise, it should be a relatively low-stress transition. While French is the official language, many people speak at least some English, so you should never feel lost. Geneva is clean and manageable, and good size for walking and knowing one’s way around. Of course, there is always a period of culture shock when living in a new place, so be sure to take advantage of the resources at your study abroad program. They will have someone to talk to, to offer advice, and to help with the transition. Geneva is home to many American expatriates and you can research meetups and events on websites such as AngloInfo.

Insider Tips
  • Le Calamar has the best American-type burgers – be sure to order it “saignante” or rare so it’s extra juicy.
  • You won’t want to miss Café Jules Verne – with stone walls and wide-planked wooden floors – it has atmosphere and character as well as good food and drinks.
  • Café des Arts has live jazz music.
  • Librairie Point Rouge will buy back books in good condition (or you can donate them and be sure they are going to a good cause).
Contributed by Katie Evans
Guide Author
Kate Evans
Go Overseas Writer

Study Abroad Programs in Geneva

Displaying 16 - 21 of 21 programs
Geneva Summer Schools
Global Health and Human Rights
Switzerland

The course will focus on defining concepts of human rights and their...

SEG Swiss Education Group
Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland - Hospitality & Tourism management
Switzerland

César Ritz Colleges Switzerland is one of the world’s leading...

Geneva Summer Schools
Cultural Heritage Law: Past, Present and Future
Switzerland

This course provides an overview of the international and comparative...

SEG Swiss Education Group
Culinary Arts Academy of Switzerland - Restaurant & Culinary
Switzerland

Aspire to a career in the culinary field by choosing the Culinary Arts...

Geneva Summer Schools
New Trends in Eighteenth Century Criticism
Switzerland

As of this year, the Department of French language and literature of...

SEG Swiss Education Group
IHTTI - Neuchâtel - Design & Hospitality
Switzerland

Are you ready to change your life? Develop your career in the...

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What People Are Saying

A view of the Jet d'Eau on Lac Lemon in Geneva!

The program offered everything I was looking for personally and professionally. It gave me an introduction to global health. It increased my awareness and knowledge of human rights. It propelled me to...

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IBS offers a great opportunity to go abroad without spending the time and money required for a full semester. I had never left the country before my trip, and it was definitely helpful to be guided...

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I could not have imagined going to Europe through any other program. They are very accommodating to all types of situations, whether you want to use this seminar as a credit or not, and even if you’re...

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