About Geneva

International City

Known both as the «smallest of big cities», or the «city of peace», Geneva, among other things, is home to the European headquarters of UNO. The quayside of Lake Geneva, the parks, the old alleyways and smart boutiques are an invitation to a leisurely stroll. Geneva is linked to Europe’s capital cities by its international airport, motorways and railway network. It is the seat of a number of major multinationals, as well as the International Red Cross Committee.

What is so special about Geneva for the Swiss and the rest of the world? The answer is that it has far greater international influence than any other city of 200’000 inhabitants. Today, Switzerland’s second largest city is home to around twenty international organizations. The permanent missions of over 160 States represent their governments in the city’s international conferences and organizations. Geneva is a center focused on the international economy. Whether private corporate or business, finance, in its widest sense, undeniably plays a major economic role in Geneva, which is a base for around a hundred foreign banks.

Facts about Geneva

  • 200,000 inhabitants (+/- 7 million in Switzerland)
  • More than 130,000 foreign residents from 157 different nations
  • 200 international organizations
  • 160 diplomatic missions
  • 130 hotels with 14,000 beds
  • Hundreds of conferences/year
  • Centre of history, arts, and culture
  • Sports, recreation, nature, food from all over the world


Located at the heart of Western Europe, Geneva has been a global financial hub and a major international crossroads for diplomatic affairs since the 19th Century. Now Geneva is home to the United Nations, the International Red Cross Committee, a number of non-political organizations, a very successful bank sector and many multinational businesses. As Switzerland’s second largest city, Geneva is home to around twenty international organizations. Over 160 states represent their governments in the city’s international conferences and organizations. Private, public and global organizations play a major economic role in Geneva, which is home to roughly one hundred foreign banks. About half of the population of Geneva is foreign, making it one of the most culturally stimulating cities in the world.


Geneva is linked to Europe’s capital cities by its international airport, roads and rails. Geneva is an environmentally conscious city and has pursued a policy of limiting automobile use within the city. The city is readily accessible by an excellent public transport system. Buses and trams run every few minutes and buses also connect with destinations in France. The railway station in the middle of the city connects the traveler to major European cities. The high-speed French TGV train and the Italian Pendolino make the trip to Paris or Milan very short.

Cost of Living

University fees might seem nominal compared to the Anglo-Saxon system. The Universities actually belong to the public domain and are still financed in large part by Swiss taxpayers, with the exception of the semi-private Italian University of Switzerland. Some universities require foreign students to pay an additional fee, a pittance when compared to the actual cost of a student to the society, which varies by faculty between CHF 50,000 and CHF 150,000 per year.

A student’s monthly budget amounts to approximately CHF 1,800: food and upkeep from CHF 800 to CHF 850, lodging CHF 400 to CHF 600, tuition fees and supplies, transportation and insurance (approximately CHF 250). Students should be aware that several payments need to be made at the onset of their studies, for example first term health insurance payment, first semester tuition fees, first rent payment, which often includes an obligatory security deposit and foreign student medical exam bill.


The national languages of Switzerland are German (North, Central and Eastern Switzerland), French (Western Switzerland), Italian (Southern Switzerland) and Romansh – a derivative of Latin (South-Eastern Switzerland). It is possible to study in all three official languages in Switzerland. A good knowledge of the language of instruction is required. English is widely spoken in Switzerland. However, English is not one of Switzerland’s national languages. UBIS is unique because it offers courses in Business and International relations which are taught in English or “sur mesure” upon request.