Finding an affordable place to stay can be a challenge in Switzerland. Particularly in cities like Zurich or Geneva, searching for a low-rent flat can feel like a unicorn hunt.
Swiss students generally either live in shared flats, with their parents, or in a rented apartment or studio within commutable distance, cycling to the university or taking public transport. Rooms in halls of residence are limited.
The internet is a good place to start your search:
The universities' housing offices assist students searching for accommodation, like the University of Geneva's "Bureau des logements"external link or the Housing Officeexternal link of the University of Zurich and ETH. The latter has a limited number of rooms reserved for new international Master students (note the application deadlines on the website).
With average rental prices of more than CHF2,000 per month in Geneva and Zurich, shared flats are the most common form of accommodation for students and young professionals. Various websites can help you find a room in a shared flat: Erasmusu.comexternal link, WG Zimmerexternal link , Housing for Studentsexternal link or students.chexternal link are a good start (postings on students.ch are in German, French and English).
Monthly rents for rooms in a shared flat can range from around CHF400 to CHF900 or more, depending on the size of the flat, the available room and the flat's location. As a general rule of thumb: the further away from the city centre, the lower the price. You will need to weigh up the cost of public transport against the lower cost of rent.
If you're studying in Zurich, check out Wokoexternal link that lists available rooms in Zurich and Winterthur (a town located about 15 minutes by train from Zurich) and Ron Orpexternal link's housing platform. Women studying in Zurich also have the option of staying in the women-only Josephine's Guesthouseexternal link while they look for long-term accommodation. Josephine's offers monthly rates starting at CHF1,600 (minimum of 30 nights), including breakfast, internet, a cleaning service and a shared kitchen.
The Geneva Interns Associationexternal link offers useful advice on finding accommodation in Geneva, where affordable accommodation is hotly sought after. If you have been admitted to EPFL, check out the university's housing data baseexternal link.
Study in Switzerlandexternal link , a website of the Rectors’ Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions, lists useful websites for finding accommodation in different university towns.
The website ch.chexternal link provides useful information about renting an apartment in Switzerland, from signing a rental agreement to dealing with noisy neighbours. On the website of the Federal Housing Officeexternal link you can download the flyer "Living in Switzerland: All the information you need when renting a flat".