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Old 22.04.2012, 01:52
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Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Hi everyone!!!

I am 27 year old girl and will be moving to Geneva in September since I will be taking a MBA program at UNIGE. I am super excited and cannot count the hours to get there!!! But I'm also quite lost on basic everyday stuff...

For example, how do I get my mobile phone to work there? Can I buy some sort of chip, and how much does one cost?

Also, is everything situated at a walking distance or will I need to buy a bike when I get there? (My apartment has a garage for bikes, so I assume its a popular way of transportation there.) I also heard there's an annual pass for public transportation; where can I buy one??

Anyone who knows their way around Geneva, I would really appreciate your help!! Nice to meet everyone, and I hope we can plan a get together when I get there!!!
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Old 22.04.2012, 11:51
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

welcome to EF

I am waiting for hubby to hear about a job in Geneva... hope you have a great time... I know what it means about counting the days...
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Old 22.04.2012, 13:59
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Welcome to Geneva

If your phone is not SIM locked (check it by trying a SIM from a friend on another network) then you can buy a SIM card in lots of places - from Swisscom (generally best coverage) or other providers (generally cheaper). If your phone is not unlocked get it unlocked before you come or plan to buy another. A new PAYG SIM card from most providers is no more than CHF 20, and may give you some of that cost back in credit. A contract SIM will get you a cheap phone for free ... look at orange.ch, swisscom.ch, sites for examples. The big supermarkets (Migros and Coop) also have subsidiaries offering phone SIMs/contracts, take a look at their websites, they'll have links to the subsidiary websites.

Comparis.ch offers a comparison service for some things - I think they cover insurance, mobile phones, credit cards.

Travel passes can be bought at a TPG office: Cornavin station has one. Keep ID (passport, residence permit) with you when you first arrive as everyone will keep asking you for proof of identity. Scan/copy them (and your new travel pass) too, in case you lose them. The pass will let you use trams and buses across the Canton, and the mouettes (river buses) that cross the river. I think it's CHF 70 per month, and a good deal if you ride most days.

If you have a TPG pass you will not need a bicycle unless your route is inconvenient or you want to travel around at odd hours of the day. You can rent bicycles in Geneva too - I think they're even free from a couple of locations during the summer for short rentals. But its nice to have the freedom of your own bicycle and there are a fair few bicycle lanes in Geneva - so if you have the option, bring a bicycle anyway.

Good luck.
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Old 22.04.2012, 16:19
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

I should have also said that you need an address (and proof thereof) in Switzerland before you can get a SIM card. There's no such thing over here as anonymous PAYG SIMs (whereby you walk in off the street and buy a phone without proof of who you are.)
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Old 22.04.2012, 20:27
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Thanks, this is all very helpful! Yes, I'm actually planning on buying an unlocked phone. I'm living there for a year, do you recommend a one-year contract SIM? I'm wondering if it could be a better deal than a PAYG...

If you don't mind, I have more questions :P especially regarding living expenses. I will be living on a tight budget so I'm wondering what could be some good tips to live as cheaply as possible. I've read that going out to dinner could be very costly, so Im thinking probably buying groceries and cooking my own food will be the way to go??

I'm also a little concerned about the cold. I'm from Central America so you can imagine I'm not used to cold weather. But since GVA is expensive, I was thinking of buying clothing for the cold before I get there. Does this sound like a good idea???

Any tip or comment will be very much appreciated!!!

Thanks! Wow, I hope he gets the job, I wish I could stay in GVA longer than a year, sounds like an awesome place to settle down. Good luck!!

Last edited by jrspet; 23.04.2012 at 05:57. Reason: Merging of successive posts
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Old 22.04.2012, 20:45
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

OK, first ... if you're coming from the US, you'll probably get a shock at how much phone calls and mobile phone contracts cost here. Europe is generally more expensive than the US, and Switzerland is even more expensive. You can get "decent" phones on a 1 year contract, but that' still means a relatively sizeable commitment, especially if you add international calls and/or data.

The biggest single cost is accomodation. If you're not already set on somewhere (sounds like you may be) then your best bet to save money would be either a sub-let a room in an apartment or (if your study hours will allow) perhaps to find some live-in accomodation in exchange for child minding, chores or similar.

Food is expensive here, even in supermarkets. It's cheaper in France, if you can get across the border to shop in a supermarket there. The more you cook yourself, the more you will save. If you buy pre-prepared foods ready to cook you will save, but not as much if you cook from basic ingredients yourself. If I were you, on a limited budget, I'd plan only to eat out for social reasons (with friends, to meet people) - never simply to save time or effort.
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Old 22.04.2012, 20:59
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

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. I'm from Central America so you can imagine I'm not used to cold weather.
I remember being very cold in Chirripó ^^
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Old 23.04.2012, 05:33
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I remember being very cold in Chirripó ^^
Haha true, but you have to climb a lot to get there... In the valley it's pretty hot. That's so cool that you went to Chirripo, I've never been there myself.

thanks madfuzu, so seems like a PAYG sim card might be cheaper... I will be renting a room in an apartment for 4 people for 600 CHF, which after doing some research sounded like a good deal, especially considering I just have to share a bathroom with one person.

Last edited by jrspet; 23.04.2012 at 05:56. Reason: Merging of successive posts
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Old 30.04.2012, 17:57
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Hiya gvagirl and all,

I am moving to Geneva in Sept to pursue an MBA as well. It is the IOMBA program, not sure if it is the same so you.

Either way, lets make a deal:

I will share all the info I find about cheap student living, foreigner registries, etc if you do the same.

Bueno?
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Old 01.05.2012, 02:51
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

hey gregd, sounds like we're gonna be classmates and you got a deal!
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Old 01.05.2012, 16:38
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

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hey gregd, sounds like we're gonna be classmates and you got a deal!

Bad ass ! I'll see you in September
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Old 04.05.2012, 05:21
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

I'm wondering if it would make sense to buy winter clothing before arriving at Geneva? I can imagine clothes are also a lot more expensive than they would be in say, the US, but I don't know if the difference is large enough to make it worthwhile. Buying winter clothes in advance would mean carrying more clothing in my luggage, or even maybe carrying an additional piece of luggage. What do you suggest?
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Old 04.05.2012, 05:48
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Buy them now!!!! Clothing is really really expensive. In the us you have like 10 cheap options for clothing. In Switzerland all you have is like h and m.
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Old 04.05.2012, 23:52
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

I think winter clothes would be hard to carry over in your luggage, better to buy used clothing here at a reused clothing place. Then when you leave donate it back to them. Greetings!
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Old 05.05.2012, 22:21
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Thanks both of you! Sliced, that's what I was thinking... but do you have an idea of how much a reused winter coat could cost?
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Old 05.05.2012, 22:58
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

I second buying as much as you can before you come. Second hand stores are rare, with little selection, and sometimes still high priced (in my opinion).

Basically, do/buy everything you possibly can before you come. Haircut. Dental work. Any medical procedures or medications you need including tylenol, etc. Clothing. Shoes. The only thing I've found to be cheaper here is cheese...so you can leave that out of your luggage

Also look into if your canton will accept medical insurance from out of country as a student. If permissible you'll likely need to make a lot of phonecalls and get some swiss paperwork filled in, but it can save you a lot of money if you're here for a bit (thousands).
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Old 06.05.2012, 01:44
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Haha got it, no cheese... thanks!
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Old 06.05.2012, 10:05
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Lots of second hand everything, as well as activities, on the www.worldradio.ch classifieds section, and also www.glocals.com. Register for free on both. Both these sites are geared towards the expat market. And both websites are in English.
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Old 08.05.2012, 17:57
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Hey,

A very imformative thread!I will be moving to Bern from South Africa to study a Masters at the University of Bern.

I face similiar problems like buying winter clothes. Our winter clothes in SA are not produced for harsh winters and snow so ive decided to buy a good snow jacket when i get to Bern.

I just dont know whether to buy a laptop here in SA or in Bern....

I hope you enjoy Geneva!
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Old 13.05.2012, 00:21
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Re: Student moving to Geneva in September, so excited!!!

Hi! Thanks and congratulations on being accepted to Bern I've heard it's a very good university. I know what you mean, you have to analyze price versus comfort and luggage size... I have no idea how expensive SA is, but judging by the suggestions people have given me, I think it's better to buy as much as you can before arriving. Have you considered buying the winter clothes online?? Maybe it is cheaper that buying it in Switzerland. I bought a laptop a while ago through the internet, thinking that it could be much more expensive in CH but I don't really know... Have you researched prices on electronics in Bern yet?? Good luck!!
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