About Geneva

Geneva, also known as the “Capital of Peace,” is home to the European headquarters of the United Nations and is considered the most international city in Switzerland. Only one-third of its 185,000 residents are natives of the area, making Geneva a truly diverse city. The presence of many other multinational organizations, such as the Red Cross, adds to the international dynamic of the city. However, Geneva isn’t all about business and politics. Located on the western end of Lake Geneva, between the Jura range and the Alps, the city provides the outdoor enthusiast with boat trips on the lake, hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Those looking for a cultural experience can go to the theatre, opera, ballet, cinema or one of Geneva’s thirty museums. French is the most widely spoken language in Geneva, but students will find most of its citizens to be conversant in German, Italian and English as well.

The Program

Geneva, Switzerland is home to a multitude of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including a variety of UN-affiliated entities and the International Red Cross. The Geneva program focuses on issues associated with globalization as well as the work of international organizations based in the city. Students will be introduced to these issues and organizations through courses and a field-based research project. As Geneva is located within the French-speaking area of Switzerland, students must take at least one course in French at the college level prior to the beginning of the program.


Spring 2010 Director’s Seminar: Why Place Matters: The Economic Geography of Switzerland
This course will use basic theories of economic geography to examine how culture and geography have defined the economic development of cites and regions in Switzerland. The course will focus on culture, the economy, and urban development and examine the interactions of economic development policies with culture and geography. We will also examine the effects of globalization and the role of international organizations in the globalization process. Switzerland is an ideal laboratory for such a course, because of the confluence of three cultures in three distinct regions of the country. This course will complement the course on Swiss Life and Culture, helping students make the connections between culture and development, and its focus on globalization will help them put their internships in a broader perspective.

Internships are arranged by EUSA, the Colleges’ on-site partner in Geneva. Insofar as is possible, students will be placed in an internship according to their particular field of study and interests following a placement interview with the EUSA internship director. Students will work four days per week and will meet periodically in a seminar setting to discuss their work experiences. Internship placements are available in a variety of fields, including numerous international organizations working on a wide range of public policy issues.

French Language
Students will be enrolled at the Migros Language School and will take French-language classes at a level determined by their previous experience and a placement exam on-site.

Swiss Life and Culture
This course will explore Switzerland’s unique culture and its place in Europe in the classroom as well as on a series of integrated excursions. Students will keep travel notebooks and write a short paper in addition to required readings, group discussions and final exam.

Academic Focus

This program would be of particular interest to students studying economics, international relations, political science, public policy and other social sciences.


Open to all sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5. At least one course in college-level French is required along with at least one of the following courses: Econ 160 (Principles of Economics), Econ 120 (Contemporary Issues in Economics) or Env 120 (Human Geography and Global Economy). Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.


Program participants will be housed in a student residence, the Cité Universitaire (CU) alongside Swiss and other international students. Each student will have a private room in a suite of 5-7 rooms with a common bathroom, kitchen and living room.


The program’s excursions are designed to provide students exposure to Switzerland’s distinct cultural regions. Specific destinations will vary depending upon the academic focus of the program and the individual faculty director’s interests and objectives. Typically, one of the excursions will be to the German-speaking region and include Bern, the Swiss capital, and Luzern. A second excursion to the Romansch and Italian-speaking region will typically include a visit to Lugano, among other places.

Going Abroad With the CGE

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and room fees and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, housing and class-related excursions. Note that no board charge is included. Students should plan to bring their board fee to Geneva to cover meal expenses. While these expenses will vary according to individual tastes, we estimate that about $2,000-$2,400 should be sufficient for students who typically prepare their own meals. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books and personal expenses (visa fee, laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $750 from the East Coast and books at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1,500 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.


  • This program is offered every spring semester.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office at a selected date in March.
  • For specific date contact the CGE.

NOTE: The information contained in this brochure is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.





Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.