1. FMEL (For Masters students, only short-term options for Ph.D. students)
  2. Students.ch
  3. Anibis
  4. ImmoScout24
  5. Search.ch
  6. Petitesannonces
  7. Roomlala
  8. Ask on Facebook Group (post date of arrival & departure & ask for accommodation) or check out the Facebook page: EPFL-sell/search/gift/auction

You can also book the Lausanne backpackers hostel if you do not find anything, its always a safe option & cheap (or rather the same price you would pay for a room would be renting later on).

  1. Guest House
  2. Youth Hostel

However, you would need to book this pretty much in advance & enquire about the availabilities at Lausanne Guest House.

The Lausanne-Geneva area is facing the worst scarcity of flats in recent times. Working through agencies for finding a flat may easily end up as a nightmare! The general procedure is to look out for the availability of flats either from the agency websites or postings on the campus, etc. Visiting a flat in person is mandatory, and making an appointment for visit with the little French you know maybe another difficult hurdle in the process! Once you visit the flat, you have to file the application to the respective agency. They will take several weeks to process the applications and it is the major factor for creating a lot of uncertainty. You never know whether you have to go for something in hand which you don’t like or wait for the agency to take a decision on the flat you really wished to have! Typically one shortcut here is to make the house current tenant recommend you to the agency and you can make a deal with him to buy all his furniture! I could find my current flat through an agency only by making an Indian friend not to advertise it publicly and recommend me in person. So the agency didn’t have a choice and anyway, my application was more than just enough for them. Of course, sometimes they make public advertising as mandatory and you can be just unlucky in trying this shortcut.

FMEL offers many student housings. They are for MS students only but Ph.D. students can also get housing for a short duration (3 months). They usually run long waiting lists so it’s better to apply for housing here right after you are sure you will be coming to Switzerland. They ask you to pay for an advance which you can arrange through your secretary. It’s usually the same story with Lecazard, StudHome, PlanetBleu (google for them). EPFL Housing will be very useful and offer accommodation to PhDs as well. This is the closest residential place to EPFL. Gaspar (EPFL internal website) provides reliable info on available flats which I usually find very helpful.

  1. Colocation:
    Joining as a roommate in someone else’s flat. Rent usually ranges from CHF 400 – 600 per month.
  2. A room in an independent house through landlords:
    This is much much easier than dealing with agencies. Rent ranges from CHF 400-600 per month
  3. Open ads and then work through agencies.
    Rent ranges from CHF 700 for a single room to CHF 1200 for a double room.
    Usual terminology used in housing is:
    1piece: single room with a kitchen and toilets
    1.5piece: single room with a very small hall (usually just enough for keeping a table)
    2 piece: a hall + a bedroom
    2.5 piece: 2 bedrooms + a very small hall

There is a popular on-line fraud going on exploiting newcomers’ housing needs. Never make a contract unless you are sure about the address and the persons involved. Never make payments that look suspicious.

You have to doubt particularly when the owner says he is in some other country and will send you the key over the post. The fraud works this way usually – They send you the flat address, their passport details, then a contract which looks very genuine. They claim they are in a different country and will send a genuinely looking phone number. They offer to send the keys for the flat through the post and make paying 1-2 months rent in advance as mandatory. Once you make the payment (usually to a bank account), they disappear! Even the flat address they claim usually belongs to someone else. So make either your secretary or some of your friends visit the place and make a contract in person.

Some of the suggestions may help you and save a lot of money!

Useful App: SBB Mobile App (Android and iPhone)

Travel Options: This information may be useful to decide whether you wish to fly to Zurich or to Geneva.

  • Zurich to Lausanne:
    Duration – 2 hrs 30 mins
    Fare – CHF 40 (Latest fare information available on SBB Mobile App)
  • Geneva to Lausanne:
    Duration – 50 mins
    Fare – CHF 20 (Latest fare information available on SBB Mobile App)

I assume that you fly to Zurich. You follow your co-passengers!! A train comes to pick you to another building where your immigration check is done and your luggage can be picked. Follow the same gang and you will come out of the airport. Cross the road and continue to the adjacent building where a big shopping complex is situated. The train counter is on the 1st floor downstairs and the platform is still one more down. BUY HALF FARE CARD HERE ITSELF WHICH SAVES MORE THAN 30 CHF RIGHT AWAY. Half fare card costs around CHF 100 – 180 per year depending on your age. If you are a Ph.D. student, you will be reimbursed (EPFL issues a new card and u have to surrender the old card to get the money back). It gives a 50% discount on all your journeys (train, bus, etc.) in Switzerland. You need a photograph and passport to buy the card. They issue a temporary card and you have to give your residential address to get the permanent card which is shipped in the next 2 weeks.

If you want to convey to your parents about your safe arrival, you can do so using one of the Swisscom booths around you. You need to have a telephone card to do that or you can use the free WiFi at the station (Read this). 

Now relax peacefully on the train to Lausanne and enjoy two hours of breathtaking sceneries! Bad luck if you come at night or you are too tired and want to sleep. If you are a first-time international traveler, I suggest you pack some food from India which may help you if you are too hungry.

Once you arrive in Lausanne, it will be easy to reach your residence if you already did little home work. Try to locate your place on map.search.ch or use SBB Ticket App and find out the nearest metro/bus to your place. 

Probably the very next thing you have to do is get a metro pass for local travel in Lausanne, you need it for daily commute to EPFL. You can get it for 58 CHF per month (580 CHF per year if you pay at once, initially go for one month only as you may later want to use bicycle for your daily commute). The official counters are there in EPFL (EPFL-SBB office) and one in Place Chaudreon.

Once you are in EPFL, finish off all admin work (take laptop!! find your office room, meet other fans, get EPFL student card, …..). Within 1 week, you should register yourself with the commune for the work permit. You can also be in contact with one of our YUVA-Indians members for more information.

  • Asian Shop, Jehanathan & associé

Address: Avenue de France 2, 1004 Lausanne.

  • Asian Shop, Prilly

Address: Avenue de la Rapille 12, 1008 Prilly

  • Online options
  1. Click & Pick
  2. Logam
  3. Hethey

NOTE: We do not endorse anyone. We recommend them based on their popularity among the local community.

Currency exchange should be done in your home city. Exchange rates at the airport terminals comprise a higher transaction fee. The official currency of Switzerland is called Swiss France or CHF (Confoederatio Helvetica is the Latin name for the Swiss Confederation). In Spetember 2020, 1 CHF is approx 80 INR. We recommend getting started for the first month after arrival, you can bring 1000-1500 CHF from India. 

The following guide can be a useful reference for your shopping. If you are a Ph.D. student, almost everything can be purchased in Switzerland, but for cost reasons purchasing a few crucial items, from India is preferred.

  • Leather jacket/Winter jacket with cap – It should be able to sustain negative temperatures as well.  A good one in Switzerland may cost nearly 100 – 200 CHF.
  • Thermals – Full hands preferred, of course, anything might be fine.
  • A sufficient number of inner wears – You might get a chance to wash once per week depending on the available slots for the washing machine.
  • Jeans, T-shirts, and normal wear, belt – Since summers are hot (can go up to 300C), everyone wears shorts and T-shirts. Bring a few good quality shorts as here they are very expensive (30 -50 CHF)!
  • Shoes, Socks, Flip-flops
  • Blanket (optional), towels. Of course, any important clothing stuff that is not mentioned above.
  • Cellphone
  • International UNIVERSAL ADAPTOR (important) or converters if you are bringing your own electronics.
  • Kitchen items
    a. Pressure cooker (compatible with hotplate/electric stove) is a MUST for rice or dal (get a prestige 3L one).
    b. Electric rice cooker can be bought here at almost the same or even cheaper prices, if u bring from India, you have to bear an additional 15 to 40 CHF for the converter!!)
    c. Some basic utensils which one needs for cooking (compatible with hotplate/electric stove), spoons (small and big), plates, glasses, bowls, some stuff (strainer) for making Tea if you are a tea lover.
    d. All basic food items- masalas, chili powder (of course you get all of them in Indian shop here, if you have space in luggage, prefer to bring them)
  • Bags – one for laptop (anyway they give one for free if you are a Ph.D.), one for local journeys, one for carrying shopping stuff if you wish.
  • A cap, an umbrella (MUST) – You can buy them here (10 CHF each)
  • Get good quality headphones for listening to music or calling to India (they are around CHF 10-30 here)

  1. Associations: Apart from YUVA – Indians Association (contact us) you can contact Indian Association in Lausanne (IAL).
  2. Indian Embassy: The Embassy of India is located in Bern.
    Website: https://www.indembassybern.gov.in/
    The Embassy of India
    Kirchenfeldstrasse 28,
    CH-3005 Berne,
    0041 31 350 11 30
    (Emergency:+ 41767763688) 

This website is managed by Richa Agrawal.