Located at the foothills of the white summits of the Jura Mountains, on the banks of Lake Leman, Geneva is a world-famous nexus of diplomacy, humanitarianism, and commerce at the heart of Europe. It’s precisely these reasons which also make it a great student city with rare opportunities for professional growth.
Presenting five reasons why Geneva is perfect for international students.
1. Great educational opportunities
Geneva's multicultural spirit and diverse student population – 25 percent are international students – is reflected in the academic focus of its educational institutions, particularly at the highly-regarded International University in Geneva.
Listed in the UNESCO Handbook of Universities along with the likes of Cambridge, Oxford, and the Ivy League schools, International University in Geneva is particularly strong in the fields of International Relations, International Management, International Trade, Business Administration, and Digital Media. On the bachelor's level, the non-profit institution offers five competitive degrees in partnership with the University of Plymouth, along with six MA programmes and two PhD programmes, all taught in English.
Photo: International University in Geneva
Founded in 1997, the International University in Geneva has a close-knit alumni network spanning over 100 countries, and its graduates have gone on to assume top-positions at many of the leading global organisations such as the United Nations, UNICEF, and UNHCR. Students have also been recruited by prestigious enterprises and NGOs including Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Global Fund.
2. Internships at international organizations
Geneva is home to more than 37 international organizations (with a total of 26,645 employees) including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Labor Organization (ILO). What’s more, there are over 420 NGOs in the city, such as the Red Cross and UN Watch, and more than 179 foreign states have permanent missions there.
In keeping with the city itself, many of Geneva’s universities, like the International University in Geneva, have a pronounced international profile as well as individual career counselling and longstanding partnerships with many of the city’s global actors. For this reason, Geneva is a hive of exchange where students can embed themselves in the world of global diplomacy and international relations through unparalleled internship opportunities and international conferences.
3. A city of diversity and distinction
Students with an international mindset will be pleased that Geneva is home to far more than watchmakers, Alpskiers, and the Jet d'Eau, the world’s tallest water fountain. In fact, the bilingual city - you can get by with both French and English - has 150 nationalities represented (40 percent of the total population are foreigners), making it one of Europe’s most diverse cities.
Famously the Capital of Peace and Diplomacy (the predecessor to the United Nations was founded here in 1920), the relatively small city, owing to its cosmopolitan and humanitarian tradition, is also a town of scientific edge: here you find the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), a world-leader in subnuclear physics research where the World Wide Web was invented, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
4. Cultural flair and force
Besides being a congress city and a host of trade fairs and exhibitions such as the Geneva Motor Show and the World Economic Forum, Geneva is also a centre for culture and history. In the past, the city – which has a present population of half a million people – has been the birthplace and playground of giants like Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jean Calvin, and Kofi Annan.
Carouge. Photo: Creative Commons
If you are looking to learn outside of the classroom, you’ll find more than thirty theatres and museums, including the League of Nations Museum and the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. International artists also perform regularly at the Grand Théâtre and Geneva Opera House. For those more interested in contemporary art and culture, there is the Bohemian borough of Carouge, an artsy neighbourhood modelled after French Nice where artisan shops and studios sit alongside buzzy jazz clubs.
Universities such as International University in Geneva also facilitate a vibrant and diverse student life through extracurricular activities such as college athletics, Model United Nations (MUN), and high-profile company visits.
5. Roam and respite in the Alps or afar
Geneva is one of the greenest cities in Europe. With its lush waterfront parks and lakeside promenades, lakeshore gourmet restaurants, high-end shopping quarters, and quaint medieval Old Town, Geneva has something for every kind of student. Those living in the city also have the luxury of being a stone’s throw away from the Alpine peaks, which offer many exotic recreational opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, glacier trekking, and rock climbing.
Situated strategically on the European continent, Geneva borders the eastern fringes of France, and Switzerland’s high-speed railway system, (the trains à grande vitesse) offers easy access to all the surrounding Germanic and Mediterranean countries (there’s a three-hour connection with Paris and Milan) - as well as to the charming mountain cities of Montreux, Chamonix, and Lausanne.
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio in partnership with International University in Geneva.