An interesting (and fun!!) semester in Geneva March 04, 2021

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/14/2020 to 12/18/2020 with

Geneva Graduate Institute and Wellesley College - BA/MA Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was worthwhile and a bit challenging - I've gained more maturity trying to solve problems with the cantonal office, the banks, registration, and navigating a new space where I don't speak the same language as others.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Depending on your level of French and whether you have taken Statistics in the past you might have to take these two additional classes along with your original courseload (which can make the workload a bit heavier, but still manageable). The courses were incredibly informative and interesting! I really enjoyed the topics we covered.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff at the administrative building were incredibly helpful and kindly helped me complete registration as well as giving me a quick tour of the school!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I rented a private room with a host family that was only a 10 minute train from the school and enjoyed the experience very much.

* Food:

The food was pretty expensive in Geneva so I suggest looking at other grocery stores that aren't coop or migros (lidl was the one I went to often in the city and I found it much more affordable). I only went out to eat once and even though it was only pizza at a chain restaurant it was still more than I'm used to in the U.S.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The lockdown and having classes online did not help me integrate well with the local culture in many ways but staying with my host family and having conversations with them made me feel well-integrated (though only to a small number of people).

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues so I can't comment. I didn't need vaccines (at the time) for this program though I did have to do a mandatory 10 day quarantine upon my arrival.

* Safety:

It was relatively safe and I didn't have any negative experiences (though it's best to not stay out too late at night by yourself).

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

I would defitely do this program again but I would have loved to have been able to attend classes in person. Moving classes online upon my arrival was definitely a bit discouraging but I was still able to enjoy Geneva (responsibly).


* 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)

Since I did not have to travel everyday as my classes were online I was able to save a lot of money and explore close by my house.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 60
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop at lidl or other stores and not the larger chain grocery stores like coop and migros.


* 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

I used French every now and then to get by in the city but I was not proficient at all.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? a small intensive French course that the programme made us complete
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Learning basic phrases and the name of grocery items/locations.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Courses
  • Geneva
* What could be improved?
  • More information about the best type of visa for students!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That classes were going to move online! I probably would have chosen to stay home if I had known.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!