Located on the southern tip of Lake Geneva, one of the largest freshwater lakes in Europe, the second largest city in Switzerland is one of the most exciting places to earn your degree abroad. Aside from the dramatic views of Mont Blanc and the Alps, this city hosts the world’s main centers of diplomacy and is home to the largest base of the United Nations and the International Red Cross, which makes international diplomacy and international relations some of the most popular degree programs in Geneva.
Degree Programs in Geneva
Home to one of the top performing universities in the world, Geneva offers a variety of degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees. Undergraduate degree programs in Geneva typically last three years, while you can earn your master’s degree in three to four semesters and your postgraduate degree in three to five years. Degree programs in Geneva will involve lectures, seminars, and independent study as well as group work. Overall, courses will ensure students have multiple opportunities to enhance their craft and their understanding of the field they are pursuing.
Since French is the medium of instruction for most undergraduate degree programs in Geneva, it is crucial that students learn or understand the language before they begin their degree program. However, international students can enroll in private international universities, such as the International University of Geneva or Webster University, which offer courses in English. Also, graduate and postgraduate degree programs in Geneva are most often taught in English.
It is possible to pursue a range of undergraduate degrees in Geneva, from international relations to liberal arts to economics, and of course, French is also a very popular course of study in Geneva. The most valuable field to pursue in Geneva is clearly diplomacy and international relations, since students will be exposed to the field first-hand throughout their coursework and daily life. For example, students may have the chance to attend the Annual Humanitarian Conference, establish direct contact with international organizations, and build external connections that will benefit their academics and career equally, during their degree program in Geneva.
When it comes to master’s and doctoral degrees in Geneva, it is common for students to also specialize in theology, applied science, and engineering. When studying applied science, students will gain an in-depth understanding and appreciation for the theories and practices related to their chosen field.
Life in Geneva
Geneva is an inspiring city, especially for international students. Students can spend their free time touring the city’s many private art galleries or museums, like the art de vivre in the Bains district and Switzerland’s largest modern and contemporary art museum (MAMCO). Students can also explore Carouge, Geneva’s “Greenwich Village”, which boasts a bohemian atmosphere that contrasts the political side of the city. Another beautiful place to check out is the famous Parc des Bastions, or Reformation Wall, which portrays Europe’s major reformers. Students can also stroll along the backstreets of St. Peter’s Cathedral and discover the city’s bountiful historical treasures.
Geneva is not only a haven of history, it is also a cradle of modernity; the Internet was born in Geneva twenty years ago, believe it or not! Additionally, CERN, the world’s biggest laboratory for particle physics, is located in Geneva and thousands of physicists try to unlock the secrets of the universe every day there. Students can even visit the Universe of Particles Exhibition, free of charge!
For those more interested in adventure and ocean trips, Geneva is also a short distance from the Alps, so it is an ideal location for numerous outdoor activities. From watersports to skiing and hiking, students will have plenty to do on the weekends or during semester breaks.
Scholarships & Costs
Living in Geneva is a bit pricier in comparison to other Swiss cities, such as Lugano. Eating out and most forms of nighttime entertainment will require a bit of a flexible budget. However, as a student, it is highly recommended to own a bike to save money on transport and keep yourself fit!
The good news is, Geneva offers relatively low tuition fees for international students, from $1,200 to $2,275 a semester. International students can also take advantage of scholarship opportunities offered by the Swiss government, as well as grants available through individual universities. For a complete list of scholarship opportunities, check out GoAbroad’s scholarship directory.
Accommodation & Visas
Student housing is usually available for incoming international students. However, students will need to secure a slot a few months before the start of their degree program in Geneva, since the competition is heavy for housing options, especially at the start of the semester. Living in student dormitories is one of the best and cheapest options available, and university staff are usually happy to help international students select the best option for them. Other housing options in Geneva include renting an apartment or house with friends or peers, or students can also opt to rent a private room (for a higher cost). Rent ranges from $650 to $2,000 per month in Geneva, depending on the type of accommodation and location.
Student visa requirements in Switzerland vary by nationality. European students do not need to apply for a visa to earn a degree in Geneva, but they will need to register with the Resident’s Registration Office to get a residence permit. On the other hand, non-European students will need to apply for long-stay visa and residence permit to earn a degree in Geneva.
Be sure to check with your respective Swiss embassy or consulate for a list of documents you need to apply for the correct visa. The visa application process may take two to three months, so it helps to secure all documentation earlier rather than later. Health insurance is also mandatory, so be sure to get one before leaving!
Benefits & Challenges
Cultural Diversity. Earning a degree in Geneva is surely an exciting opportunity to take advantage of. Compared to spending a few months or a semester studying abroad, completing a full degree program abroad in Geneva will give you a broader view of education on a global scale and deeper appreciation for all the multicultural city has to offer. You will also become a part of the city’s international population, which accounts for 40 person of the total population; this means that if you want to learn a new language, you will have four national languages, as well as many more, to choose from!
Global Education. After earning your degree in Geneva, you will gain qualifications that will set you apart from your peers, and other job applicants you will be competing with for jobs in the future, especially if you are thinking about pursuing a career in international relations. Aside from the fact that you will have studied the concepts and theories related to the field, you will also have earned a degree in Geneva, which is the epitome of international relations!