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 (the in the world) but also because there is a serious shortage of rooms. The standard price for renting or subletting a room ranges from 855 to 6555 CHF per month depending on location, time of year, and luck. Student housing is usually less expensive, ranging from approximately 555 to 855 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. The major housing options are living in student residences, other housing associations, or rooms/apartments rented by private individuals.
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Since it can be difficult to find a place in Geneva, many students also opt for living around Geneva – either further along the lake, usually between Geneva and Lausanne, or in France. Lausanne is connected by train, approximately 95 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. The Edgar de Picciotto Student Residence is the Institute’s own building that is reserved exclusively for the Institute community (students and professors). It contains 685 furnished apartments that have a total of 789 beds this represents about 85% of the Institute’s student population.
The rooms range from 755 CHF (shared apartments with shared bathrooms, often on lower floors) all the way up to a family apartment with two bedrooms on the top floor for 7,655 CHF. You can find all of the different types of apartments available in the Maison des Etudiants on the. That website also contains information on selection to the building, application, important dates, and more resources. 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.
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All foyers are relatively close to the town center and thus to the Graduate Institute. The major student residences in Geneva are: When applying to these options, stay on the ball! Respond quickly to communication sent to you by these residences. Do not expect to be told that you have not been allocated a room. Many residences only contact applicants that have received a room.
Therefore, don’t think you work is done once you have applied for several residences. Since many of these residences simply fill places when a spot opens, and do not have a waiting list, your luck in timing may impact your success more than anything else. Except for student residences there are other options ranging from student housing cooperatives, to housing announcements by various communities (expats, students, etc), and general announcements in newspapers. If you did not manage to get any accommodation, you should try to sublet for a week or two while you look for something more permanent. Among other short term options you can try: To connect with other students in a similar situation visit the facebook group of the incoming group of students.
While this may not solve your problem, there will definitely be someone else in your situation and not being alone in this can be a source of relief. Swiss prices are significantly higher than French prices, for housing and food. So if your visa situation allows you to live in France, it can be a solution to find a cheaper place. You can find flats or rooms in shared houses in those towns through French website such as, or The disadvantage of living in France is that transports to Geneva are not very frequent, especially after 9pm and during the weekend. If you have arrived in Geneva and do not have housing, it is a possibility that GISA can assist you in finding a place to sleep on a couch until you find a place to live. Ch with all details about you (programme, arrival date, nationality, etc) and your housing situation (where have you searched, do you have any leads, how long would you need to stay on that couch, etc).