Participants' life

If you are a participant looking for some practical information on Geneva, this page is for you! You will find some useful tips to prepare and facilitate your stay in Geneva.

Should you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Welcome to Geneva!


Classes take place at the Graduate Institute’s Villa Barton
(132 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva), except otherwise indicated on your programme’s schedule.

Villa Barton is located in the historic lakeside Parc Barton, in the heart of the International Geneva and United Nations’ district.  It is accessible via public transports. You also have full access to the nearby Graduate Institute’s Maison de la Paix campus, Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, and its library, located just 10-minutes’ walk from Villa Barton.

To find the different locations, please refer to the Campus Map.

Arrival in Geneva


Before coming to Switzerland, you may need to apply for a visa.

The visa application process is managed by the Swiss consulate or embassy in your country and is independent from the Graduate Institute. The Graduate Institute will be pleased to support you by providing a visa support letter upon confirmation of your participation in the programme.

Before starting the visa process, you should contact your local Swiss embassy or consulate to obtain further information regarding the visa application process and requirements.

Please be aware that the visa process can take time. We therefore advise that you start the application process 2-3 months before your planned arrival in Geneva.


Available at taxi stops at the airport / train station or by phone (e.g. +41 (0)22 331 41 33 for Taxiphone).

Most taxis only accept cash. The drive from Geneva airport to city center costs approximately CHF 35, and takes about 15 to 30 minutes depending on traffic.

Public transports

All timetables, routes and maps are available online.

Tickets must be bought from machines at every stop before you board. The entire city, including the airport, is within Zone 10. The most common tickets are:

  • "Billet Tout Genève" / All Geneva (valid for one hour, regardless of how many vehicles are taken), CHF 3.00

  • "Carte dès 9 heures jusqu'à minuit" / All day from 9.00 am to midnight, CHF 8.00

  • "Carte 24 heures Tout Genève" / A full-day city pass, CHF 10.00

Some machines only accept cash (coins, not notes). To avoid looking for coins, you can buy a “tpgPay” card (CHF 20, 50 or 100) at tobacco shops, or at the TPG Office at the train station.

For travels in zone 10 (Geneva city) only, you can also buy your ticket online or with your mobile phone via the TPG application for Apple and Android, or, if you have a Swiss SIM card, by SMS (see the procedure here). The ticket must be purchased before entering the vehicule (you must have received it on your phone beforehand).

If you stay at a hotel, it will provide you with a free city pass for public transports valid for the duration of your stay. You may ask for it at the hotel's reception.


You can pick up a free ticket for public transports from the TPG machine located in the baggage collection area next to the exit door and customs (before exiting the baggage collection area). This ticket, offered by Geneva Airport, allows you to use public transport in Geneva (including buses, trams and trains to Geneva train station) free for up to 80 minutes.

More information on how to access Geneva city center from the airport can be found here.

From Airport to Graduate Institute's Villa Barton
Bus 28, stop at “Jardin Botanique” (last stop). 20 minutes.

Cornavin train station (city center)

From Cornavin to Graduate Institute's Villa Barton
Bus 1 or 25 towards "Jardin Botanique", stop at “Perle du Lac”. Walk straight, then turn right in the park just after the radar box. Villa Barton is a pink villa located in the park.

From Cornavin train station to Graduate Institute's Maison de la Paix
Tram 15 towards "Nations", stop at "Maison de la Paix". Walk up the hill (same direction as the tram) and you will find Maison de la Paix on your right.

Life in Geneva


Housing for short-term stays on Campus
We offer the possibility to book rooms on campus at a preferential rate. The Parc Barton pavilions are conveniently located in front of Villa Barton where courses take place. Further information is available here.

Rooms are available on a first-come first-served basis.

For reservations, please contact the housing department at:

Other housing options
Several options are available in Geneva. More information? Click here.

Recommendations for your search
Start as soon as possible: Geneva is a busy city with many international conferences and a limited number of hotels. Double-check the housing location before booking.

Places to eat near Villa Barton


The Institute’s cafeteria is located at Maison de la Paix (Petal 3). It provides quality meals for various tastes and prices. Special reduced rates are available upon payment with your multi-services card.

Opening hours during academic year: Monday – Friday, 7am – 6pm (further information).

Le Restaurant

Unique location on the roof top of Maison de la Paix –  Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2E, 1202 Geneva (Petal 5) – Tel. +41 (0)22 908 43 34
Visit website


Sandwiches – Avenue Blanc 51 – Tel. +41 (0)22 732 58 90
Visit website

Azar & Co.

Lebanese food – Rue de Lausanne 121 – Tel. +41 (0)22 731 17 89
Visit website

Tzing Tao

Chinese food, buffet for CHF 20 – Avenue de Sécheron 12 – Tel. +41 (0)22 732 02 89

Lana Thai

Thai food – Avenue Blanc 42 – Tel. +41 (0) 22 741 23 50
Visit website

Pad Thai

Thai food, to go possible – Avenue Blanc 34 – Tel. +41 (0)22 700 74 85
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Italian – Rue de Lausanne 147 – Tel. +41 (0)22 732 16 50
Visit website

Le Fix

Healthy soups, salads, sandwichs, pies – Avenue de France 17 – Tel. +41 (0)22 731 40 41
Visit website

saveur & Passion

Buffet for CHF 22 – Avenue de France 21 – Tel. +41 (0)22 900 10 92
Visit website

Mr Pickwick

Soups, sandwiches & fries – Rue de Lausanne 80 – Tel. +41 (0)22 731 67 97
Visit website

Services to deliver food:

Medical & Emergencies

24 hours emergency services:

  • Hôpital Universitaire Cantonal (HUG), Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, Tel. +41 (0)22 372 33 11

  • Doctors coming at home for emergencies 24/7:

    • A domicile Tel. +41 (0)22 321 21 21

    • SOS Médecins à domicile, Tel. +41 (0)22 748 49 50

    • Genève-Médecins, Tel. +41 (0)22 754 54 54

Permanences médicales: on-duty medical centers (English speaking doctors)

You can also go to any pharmacy for basic medication. The pharmacy at the train station is open 24/7, from 7am to 11pm.

Emergency phone numbers:

  • Police 117

  • Fire 118

  • Ambulance 144

  • Information 1818

Post offices

Geneva’s largest post office is located at 18, Rue du Mont-Blanc (near the train station). It is the only one opened at noon.


Monday through Friday, 8.30 am - 4.30 pm, closed on Saturdays and Sundays.


Shops are open from Monday to Friday usually from 8 am to 7 pm and on Saturdays until 6 pm, Thursdays until 9 pm. The train station has several grocery stores opened 7/7:

  • Migros: 5.30am - 11.30pm

  • COOP:  5.30am - midnight

Adaptors and plugs

Switzerland’s standard electricity supply is 220 – 230 volts. Electric plugs in Switzerland are different from those in Europe. You will therefore need to buy an appropriate adaptor for Switzerland (which you can find in shops at Geneva airport or in Geneva, such as Fust or Interdiscount).

Mobile phone

You can buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card. Some pay-as-you-go cards offer great rates for international calls, but on the down side their rates for local calls may be higher. Ask telecommunication shops at the Airport, at the train station or in shopping malls. You can reload the SIM card in most kiosks, grocery stores and post offices.
Switzerland’s phone country code is +41.


There are several exchange offices around Geneva, particularly around the train station. Geneva is a relatively safe city but like all cosmopolitan cities there may be pick-pockets anywhere. We therefore recommend avoiding to carry too much cash.

Other useful links

Do you want to learn more on international Geneva? Click here

Services at the Graduate Institute


Over 350,000 documents, 1,000 journal titles and 4,500 DVDs are available in the areas of international relations and development studies. The Library is also a depository for United Nations publications from 1947 onwards, as well as for publications from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The Library is equipped with WiFi and study tables, as well as computer and printer facilities. Workrooms are also available for group study.

Maison de la paix, Ch. Eugène-Rigot 2, Petal 2

T. +41 22 908 58 88

Opening Hours
Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 10:00 pm | Saturday, 9:00 am – 7:00 pm | Sunday, 9:00 am – 7:00 pm (opening hours may change during holidays, please check the library website)

Cash desk

For those wishing to pay their tuition fees by cash, the Accounting service cash desk is opened Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 12.30pm. It is located at Maison de la Paix (Petal 1).

IT centre & resources

The IT Centre handles and develops all IT resources that support educational, research and administrative objectives.

Maison de la paix, Ch. Eugène-Rigot 2, Petal 1

T. + 41 22 908 44 44 (for emergencies only)

Opening Hours
Monday – Thursday, 7:30am – 6:00pm | Friday: 7:30am – 1pm

IT information will be provided before the start of your programme. It includes:

  • User name and password for a personal and confidential IT account, allowing access to computers and printers at Villa Barton and at the Library, and to WiFi network

  • User name and password for an email address

Graduate Institute's email address and mailbox (gmail)*
Your email address has no expiry date if used however it will be deactivated if not used during 6 months. The user guide, and terms and conditions for the use of IT resources are available on Moodle and on the IT website.
Computers and WiFi
A Business Center with four computers and a printer is at your disposal at Villa Barton. Computers are also available in the Library. The Villa Barton and the Library are equipped with WiFi.

Printing rates*
The use of IT resources is free of charge, with the exception of printing. Pages are charged at a rate of 10 cents per page (recto only).

Multi-Services Card*
A personal multi-service card will be provided at the start of your programme. This card is an ID card for the Institute to borrow books at the Library, a payment card for the cafeteria (to benefit from discounted rates), and a printing card.

Participants can load cash on their cards through the machines located at Maison de la Paix cafeteria entrance (on the right). They only accept cash (notes).

* Services available for CAS, DAS, MAS programmes.

Career services

The Institute encourages its participants to improve their skills and develop networking opportunities during their programme. The Career Services supports participants, distributes an e-letter with job opportunities, and organises regular workshops for career enhancement.

Alumni association

The mission of the Graduate Institute Alumni Association is to reinforce ties between alumni and the Institute’s reputation. The Association organises various events for the alumni network in Geneva and abroad, and provides professional opportunities for the Institute’s students, participants and graduates through roundtables and information sessions. All information on the Alumni activities will be provided to participants upon their graduation.