Student life in Geneva

Student life in Geneva
Updated 2019-08-01 07:29

Studying at one of Geneva's prestigious institutions is an opportunity not to be missed. But once you get a place on a programme, what is life like as a student in one of the most expensive cities in the world?

Student accommodation in Geneva

Students at UNIGE and other institutions can apply to Cité Universitaire, which houses about 850 students from 95 nationalities, aged from 18 to 35 years. It has a mix of single rooms, studios for two people and apartments for 2, 3 and 4 people. Prices range from CHF 526 per month for a room to CHF 1245 for a two-person studio.

Students at UNIGE also benefit from the University Housing Office (BLOG), a platform where residents advertise that they have a room to rent to students - about 675 are managed through the system. Besides, the program "1h per m2" ('1 hour for a meter-squared') puts students in touch with residents who provide a bedroom in exchange for a helping hand, such as light labour.

Students enrolled at IHEID can apply to live at the Edgar and Daniele de Picciotto student house, which has 219 single and shared apartments, reserved for students and professors, connected to the Institute's building. Costs range from CHF700 per month for a single room with a shared bathroom and a common area to CHF2,600 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. Applications open annually in early January.

Students at other universities and institutions are expected to find accommodation on their own. Living with other students is a good way to keep costs down.


Next to the UNIGE campus at Uni-Mail, you will find Rue de l'école-de-Médecine, which is full of fun and quirky pubs like Kraken - great for afterschool drinks with friends. Otherwise, there are lots of University after-hours lectures or teams that you can join: keep an eye on the mailing lists that are available at each of the academic institutions.

Student living costs in Geneva

The estimated cost of living for students, excluding tuition fees, is approximately CHF 1,800 to 1,900 per month. These costs per month include:
Health insurance: CHF80 and up
RC liability insurance: CHF80
Transportation card for Geneva city: CHF45 (25 and under) or CHF70
Rent: CHF600 and up
Bills (including electricity and mobile phone): CHF130
Food: CHF600
Miscellaneous leisure activities: CHF250

Finding work as a student in Geneva

There are some restrictions on students finding work while studying. Students with European citizenship can work on arriving in Switzerland but only up to a maximum of 15 hours per week. A normal student job will provide a salary of CHF 20 - 30 an hour. Students with non-European citizenship are only allowed to work after having lived in Switzerland for six months.

Student discounts in Geneva

If you are a student in a Swiss University or professional college and aged 26-30, you qualify for a reduced General Abonnement (GA) transport card which allows you to travel on any mode of transport - bus, tram, train - in the country for free for a whole year. The annual second class GA costs CHF 2,650 for students, a saving of CHF1,210 per year.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.