Geneva Orientation: Prepping, packing, and
Transcript Geneva Orientation: Prepping, packing, and
GENEVA ORIENTATION: PREPPING,
PACKING, AND MAKING HOME IN THE
LAND OF CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE
CLOE LIPARINI, DUKE GLOBAL POLICY AND GOVERNANCE
AND GLOBAL HEALTH FELLOWS PROGRAM
• Maggie Woods –2013 Program Alum/Humanitarian
Action Track: ILO-IPEC internship placement
(Duke University – MPP)
• Lissa Murseli - 2013 Program Alum/Global Health
Fellow: WHO – Essential Medicines Access and
Rational Use Division internship placement
(University of British Columbia – MPH)
• Bring copies of your prescriptions (medical and eye wear
and transport in carry-on).
• Make copies/pdfs of your passport, bank cards, credit
cards (for your records in case any goes missing/stolen).
• Bring info/card for your health insurance.
• Inform your bank/credit card company that you will be
going abroad, so they don’t flag any charges and shut
down your cards.
• International Student ID Card http://www.myisic.com/
• Contact your intern supervisor to learn the following:
• expected first day
• check-in process
• how to get to the organization and any other important details
concerning the start of your internship.
1 or 2 formal suit and formal dress pants (first day at the job/receptions)
Business casual slacks
Business casual shirts
1-2 sweater/s or fleece
Anorak/mid-weight jacket it can get cold at night
Raincoat and umbrella
Swimsuit, sunglasses, suntan lotion
Disposable contacts and contact solution (if relevant)
Cough drops, ibuprofen and-over-the counter medications/feminine products
Linens - etc. if not provided with your housing
Toiletries/mini-first aid kit (band aids- etc)
Easily portable snacks and food stuffs you can’t live without (oatmeal, granola
bars, peanut butter, sweetners - etc)
• Confirm your flight.
• Be aware of the quantity and weight of your luggage.
• Bring prescriptions and important documents as “carryon.”
• Look at information provided by your housing to identify
your transportation plan to arrive at accommodation – If
none is provided email and inquire.
• At the Geneva airport, you will find that in the baggage
claim area, there is a kiosk where you can get a 1 hour
Geneva pass (good for buses and trams)
• If you are arriving late and are concerned about
traveling by bus/tram, taxi’s are available and many will
take credit cards.
UPON ARRIVAL: WHAT FIRST?
• Once you have arrived to your
foyer/apartment/hostel and have access to a
computer: email me and your family/friends back
home to alert everyone of your arrival!
• Depending on the time and day of the week you
may want to get to a ATM/exchange to have some
CHF (swiss francs) in your pocket.
• Pick up some very basic groceries or inquire about
where you can do this near your housing – You are in
Geneva and store hours are very different than what you may be
accustomed to. Most shops close between 6 and 7pm. Thursday
nights, shops stay open until 8 or 9 pm. MOST everything is closed
SOME “WELCOME SPOTS” TO HIT
• GENEVA WELCOME CENTER
(GOOD PRACTICAL GENEVA TIPS)
• GENEVA TOURISM AND CONVENTION
• Physical office close to Gare Cornavin
• Gare Cornavin (if you are not in a hostel or foyer)
• To purchase a monthly bus/tram pass
• Geneva Central
• Geneva Info
YOUR FIRST WEEK: SETTLING IN
• At home you have your smart phone. Constant
access to websites, resources, maps and more….
What are you gonna do now?
• The easiest thing is to buy a pay as you go cellphone after
you arrive in Geneva. I recommend going to “Migro” (one
of the largest supermarket chains). You can get a phone for
as cheap at 40 CHF and add minutes on-line or in Migro
• In addition, you may also want to check with your current
cellphone provider to see if your service has an
international plan OR if you can buy a new SIM card in
Geneva to use with your current phone.
• TO BUY A CELL PHONE OR SIM CARD YOU NEED YOUR
DON’T BE SHY
REACH OUT TO NEW FRIENDS
BANKING AND MONEY
• Checks are not used in Switzerland
• Credit cards and Debit cards are common
• The safest and easiest form of money are bank cards
and credit cards. The cards most used are Visa,
MasterCard and American Express. Many banks in
Switzerland have equipped their ATM machines with the
CIRRUS or MAESTRO system. Many other Swiss banks offer
ATM machines for cash advances with your credit card.
It is recommended to have a small amount of cash on
hand upon arrival in Switzerland for immediate expenses,
i.e. taxies, city transportation etc.
• TELL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY THAT YOU ARE
GOING TO BE IN SWITZERLAND!
FOOD & SHOPPING
• Lidl and Denner (least expensive grocery stores)
• NOT GOOD PRODUCE, but cheese & bread, drinks, wine
• Migro (largest grocery store) found all over town
• COOP (nice grocery store, just a little bit more
expensive than Migro)
• Open-Air Markets:
• Ferney-Voltaire (France on Saturday) – take bus from
• Carouge (Wednesday and Saturdays) – take tram or walk
• Plainpalais (Wednesday and Sundays)
• Place du Molard (Saturdays) Food and flowers
• Geneva Transit Card (in Geneva)
• Often provided for free at foyers,
hostel or hotels
• Eurail Passes (around Europe)
• CGN boat travel and day trips on
• Easyjet (around Europe)
FRENCH SWISS: LANGUAGE & CULTURE
• Inquire with your organization to see if they have
any French language courses available to
• Centre d’Accueil – Geneve Internationale
• Conversation Exchange program through the Geneva
Welcome Center: http://www.cagi.ch/fr/reseau-accueil/bel.php
• Registration form: http://www.cagi.ch/files/pdf/Leaflet-BEL-2009-_CAGI.pdf
• GIA (Geneva Intern Association)
• http://internsassociation.org/events/french-classes/ (Info on French classes, but tons
of other resources too! – started in 2011 by interns rich with info, tips and suggestions)
THE OLD TOWN –
ST. PIERRE CATHEDRAL (ST. PETER’S)
RULES & CULTURAL NORMS
• Sunday is a day or rest. You will find that Geneva is VERY quiet. Sunday
brunch at restaurants is the biggest activity of the day!
• No garbage or recycling on Sundays. We’ve been yelled at for this .
• If you are in a foyer, you will want to review rules as they will likely be
monitored and reinforced.
• If you are in an apartment, you will have neighbors that will have no
problems calling the police if you make noise outside of “active” hours.
• You are expected to have a Geneva card or to have purchased a bus
pass. It works on honor code and most people abide. Your tickets may
have a spot-check (maybe) by TPG staff that will board a bus or tram
and ask for your ticket.
• Tipping is not the norm, but you can leave a few coins or round up and
leave the change.
• Though not typical, you can ask for “tap water” at restaurants… “l’eau
• Many people speak English, but do not assume that everyone does. It is
useful to know some basic terms and to push yourself both for cultural
immersion and to potentially open the door to potential cross-cultural
• Greetings – Bises (three kiss greeting with friends)
• Gym outings
EVENTS WITH NEW FRIENDS
GENEVA & NEIGHBORING
• Montreux Jazz Festival
• Paleo Music Festival
• Fetes de Geneve 2014
(pre-fete July 17-July 30 / Fete July 31 to August 10)
• Fete de la Musique Geneve June 20-22,
• Bol d’Or Mirabaud 2014 (Sailing Race on Lake Geneva June 13-15, 2014)
• Outdoor Movies-Cine Transat http://www.cinetransat.ch
(July 10-17 August – Parc de la Perle du Lac)
TRAVELING OUTSIDE OF GENEVA
BERN, GRUYERE,MONTREAUX, ANNECY, LAUSANNE, MOUNTAINS
• Additional Resources on the blog:
• Questions for Lissa and Maggie?