Bonjour! Check out this program!! January 19, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/19/2017 to 12/22/2017 with

Geneva Graduate Institute and Wellesley College - BA/MA Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I've learned to learn from and cooperate with students from all over the world. I also enjoyed working in a Swiss international foundation that is made up of 99% of Swiss employees and met with Wellesley alumnae who are living and working in Geneva. These experiences offered me an opportunity to learn more about my personal and career passions. In addition, it was also valuable to travel to different cities in Switzerland and nearby countries to experience different cultures.

Review Photos

Geneva Graduate Institute and Wellesley College - BA/MA Program Photo Geneva Graduate Institute and Wellesley College - BA/MA Program Photo Geneva Graduate Institute and Wellesley College - BA/MA Program Photo Geneva Graduate Institute and Wellesley College - BA/MA Program Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

First of all, I'm in the disciplinary program--history, so my answers may differ from students who are in the interdisciplinary programs. Most of the students take 5 courses per semester and each class (75 mins) only meets once a week. Academic workload is very manageable as the assigned reading is about 60 pages per class and 1-2 papers (ranges from 2500-3500) per class. I do not find courses challenging compare to my academic experiences at Wellesley. That said, I still enjoyed my student life here since my professors are knowledgeable, kind, and approachable, as well as well-respected in their respective disciplines.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Administrative staffs are incredibly kind and culturally sensitive. Please do reach out to them if you have any questions regarding courses or visa issues.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

BA/MA students are guaranteed with room offers from the Picciotto student house and exchange students are not. I strongly recommend exchange students to apply for housing in Geneva immediately once they commit to the program.

* Food:

Dining out is expensive, so I cook for myself on daily basis. There are reasonable, affordable supermarkets and farmer markets in the city.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was hard to make local friends if you don't speak the language. One has to be proactive in joining city-wide festivals and events.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

It's mandatory to have health insurance in Switzerland. The Wellesley Student Blue Health Insurance does not cover everything that the Swiss government requires, so students who study at the Graduate Institute have to purchase a local Swiss health insurance package. The Graduate Institute partners with a health insurance called "Advisor" (http://graduateinstitute.ch/home/students/infoadmin/sante.html). They offer low price for their health insurance plan; however, I also hear that their reimbursement is really bad. Thus, for my case, I keep my Wellesley health insurance while enrolling in the Advisor plan.

* Safety:

Besides the red light district at night, the city is pretty safe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

The location of the Institute is amazing--it's located in International Geneva and surrounded by countless NGOs and international organizations such as UN, ICRC, WHO...etc. Such a dynamic environment offers numerous opportunities for students to participate in the dialogue on the pressing global challenges and to network with professionals from all sectors.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 20-35 CHF
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? (1) Shop at farmer markets and cheap supermarkets such as Denner and Lidl; (2) Cook for yourself.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

If you have no or little French skills, you are required to enroll in a 3-weeks intensive French program right before the semester starts. Some professors' teachings are kind and effective, but some are not. If students only study at the Institute for a semester, they are not required to take a French class throughout the semester. Unless you voluntarily register a class that is conducted in French only, you will have a chance to practice. Otherwise, on daily basis, no one will push you to learn French and you can certainly speak English to get by.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 0; I'm bilingual (English and Mandarin)
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? There are universities in Geneva offer language classes during the academic year. Students who receive the full scholarship at the Institute can enjoy free language classes. I'm unclear about the tuition fee.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Countless opportunities to learn and network
  • Safe, quiet, and clean environment
  • Diverse student body
* What could be improved?
  • Creating a safe, supportive net for Wellesley students studying in Geneva
  • N/A
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? (1) Health insurance package and (2) Living cost;

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.