Coming with your family



Coming with your family

Many employees at the University have families. If you have just moved to Switzerland and/or to the region of Lausanne, you and your family might have many questions about life here. At the Welcome Centre we would be happy to try to assist you as well as we can. Below you will find information about childcare, schools, how to find a doctor/pediatrician, and some helpful ideas and information for partners.

Families at UNIL

Here you will find more practical information about living in Lausanne and information about language courses.

Here you can find information about Dual Career Couples.


General information

Arriving in a new place is exciting, but can also be challenging. Be prepared for the transition to be somewhat challenging and allow yourself time to get used to the new life. In order to get integrated in your new home country and to feel at home, it is important to discover your new surroundings, create new links and participate in the local life. Below we provide some useful information for accompanying partners to assist during the integration.
Do not forget to browse the other pages of this website for more useful information about life in Lausanne, learning French, and more. We are also providing specific help for Dual Career Couples. That is, if you are a partner, or you are coming together with your partner who wish to find a job.

Welcome to Lausanne

Shortly after moving to Lausanne (or another municipality in the area) new inhabitants receive an invitation to a welcome evening. This is an opportunity to learn more about your new hometown and meet other people in the same situation. The evening ends with a buffet and wine from the area.

Information about the Welcome reception in Lausanne.

The non-profit organization International Link offers Welcome events for foreigners who recently moved to the region (for a small fee). International Link also organizes workshops on different topics that are useful when you have just arrived, if you need HR support, or for building your network.

A useful brochure about living in Lausanne (available in several languages). This brochure is edited by the Lausanne Immigration Office (Bureau lausannois des immigrés) and exists in 11 languages. The BLI also organizes welcome and information events in several languages (English included). More information here about dates and how to sign up (in French, look under "Vivre à Lausanne: ateliers d'accueil et d'information"). 

Learn in Lausanne, lists different courses that help you get integrated.

Our colleauges over at EPFL (the federal technical university) have created a group for international spouses. On the website you will find some useful information.

Also, English website about how to get busy in Switzerland (e.g., finding a job, starting a company, volunteer activities, getting a hobby,...).

More about life in Lausanne

Discover the title Living in Lausanne on this website.

The blog The Lausanne Guide is written by two foreigners (in English) and give many ideas on what to do in Lausanne (with and without children), where to eat, shop, exercise...

For parents, the blog Lausanne Mom provides useful information (in English) about many topics related to parenthood but also weekly ideas about family activities and playgroups. Lausanne is a very green city with 350 hectars of parcs and gardens offering a place where the whole family can relax and play. Lausanne has also around 100 playgrounds for children. Here is an interactive map to find one close to you.

Swiss News

To get familiar with Switzerland and to follow local news there are two English language Swiss news websites: SwissInfo (in 10 languages) and Le News.
Local newspapers (in French)
Le Matin
24 Heures
Le Temps
20 Minutes (French, German and Italian)

Local Networks

The University is a member organization in the International Dual Career Couples Network (IDCN). If you are a partner looking for a job, you can simply let us know that you want to participate in the events organized by this network and we will provide all the necessary information. Read more on the page about Dual Career Couples.
International Link is an organization that offers many opportunities to extend your network.
Leman Events organizes conferences, seminars and events to connect people and businesses.

Networks for women

Business Professional Women
Organization of Women in International Trade
International Women’s Club



General Information

In Switzerland, quality childcare solutions can be very hard to find. There are not so many publicly funded nurseries and private ones can be very expensive. The waiting time for a publicly funded nursery can be as long as 2 years! Sometimes parents are lucky and find a spot very quickly, if they arrive at the right moment. The earlier you get into the waiting list, the shorter the waiting period.

Other types of daycare structures exist besides nurseries, such as babysitting, nannies, “day moms”, etc. Most cities in the Canton of Vaud (e.g., Lausanne) have centralized waiting lists for all offers.

For more information, please contact the Equal Opportunities Office.
For information about daycare offers in Lausanne, see Bureau d’information aux parents (in French).

Childcare at UNIL and EPFL

Three nurseries are available on the campus of UNIL-EPFL: La Croquignole , La Croq'cinelle and Le Polychinelle. These structures welcome children from ages 2 months to 4.5 years with at least one parent working at EPFL or at UNIL.

These pre-schools are part of Lausanne’s network of childcare structures. The spots are coordinated and attributed centrally by the Bureau d’Information aux Parents de la Ville de Lausanne (BIP).

If you study and/or work at the University of Lausanne, you can sign your child up at the preschool “Kids & Co La Source”, close to Vevey. Our partner Profawo runs this preschool.

Profawo can also:
- Put you in touch with an “emergency” babysitter.
- Help you find a childcare solution for shorter or longer periods.
- Give you advice and information about all things related to childcare and care for other family members.


Profawo Suisse romande, tel. 022 321 02 78,
Toll free number: 0800 FAMILY

For information and advice about childcare you can contact the Equal Opportunities Office. More information here.

You can find some general information in English here and here.

How much does childcare cost?

The costs of having your child in a nursery vary considerably as a function of the type of structure, if the structure is privately owned or receive public financial support, and according to the parents’ income.

The website of the City of Lausanne offers a childcare price calculator (in French).

Financial help for childcare

The Equal Opportunities Office can offer some financial help to parents with one or several children, by paying parts of their childcare costs. In a private day-care structure or a day mom where prices are not adapted to the parents salaries.

This support is only provided upon special request and if the parents fulfill the necessary criteria. Contact The Equal Opportunities Office for more information.
All information is available on this page.



General information

Switzerland has an excellent education system, free of charge. School starts at four years old and is obligatory for 11 years. All children must be registered with the school authorities where they live. The structure of the school system is regulated by the Canton. Therefore, the information provided on this page relates to the rules of the Canton of Vaud.

If your child does not yet speak French, the school will make sure that he or she gets extra French courses in the beginning, provided free of charge (see the last page of the pdf-document below).

Information about the school system in the Canton of Vaud

The website of the Canton of Vaud provides information in English about the local school structure. However, at the time of the editing of this page, the Canton of Vaud had not updated the information regarding age at school start. As of August 2013, obligatory schooling starts at 4 years old (in the old system, the first two years were optional). The website also provides information about starting school, the schools system and more. Complete information about the new system in French here. Below is a document to download with the necessary information in English.


Finding a doctor - dentist - hospital

Health care is of very good quality in Switzerland. Health insurance is obligatory, so make sure to sign up for insurance for all the members of the family as soon as possible.
Oftentimes, pharmacists can offer good advice and information if you, or your child, get sick. Do not hesitate to go to your nearest pharmacy to ask for advice. Switzerland has a high number of pharmacies and they are easy to find thanks to signs with a big green crosses (“pharmacie” in French).

The word for doctor in French is “docteur” or more commonly “médecin”. Pediatrician is called “pédiatre” or “médecin-pédiatre”. The word for dentist is “dentiste” or “médecin-dentiste”. “Hôpital” is the word for hospital and the emergency room is called "urgences".

The Canton of Vaud’s Doctors’ Association provides lists of doctors in the area. Click on “Trouver un médecin” and enter your location.

Finding a pediatrician in the Lausanne area. Parents try to find a pediatrician already before or at the birth of their child, and whenever the child is sick, the pediatrician is the first point of contact (unless in the case of an emergency, of course).

The website of Lausanne City provides a list of hospitals, emergency rooms, emergency dental clinics, private clinics and pharmacies with longer opening hours (“pharmacies de garde”).

In case of illness, a non-urgent accident (“urgence non vital”), or in the event that you cannot reach your doctor, there is a medical helpline open 24/7, free of charge. A medical professional will help evaluate the situation and give advice on what to do:
Medical helpline 0848 133 133.

Emergency numbers here.

Close to campus, at EPFL (our neighbor, the federal technical university), you will find a dental clinic with several dentists, also available without appointment (emergencies). There are many dental clinics like this one in the Lausanne area, but also an abundance of smaller dentist cabinets, offering high quality dental care. Children are taken care of through the school dentists. Here is a list of the school dentists in Lausanne.


Useful information for you and your partner

Your partner has just signed a contract with the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and you wish to find a professional activity as well, academic or not. Welcome to both of you.
The challenges that mobile dual career couples face are many times great. Combining work, partnership and family is not easy and might be even harder if you start from zero in a new country. This website gives an overview of the support that we offer at UNIL, but also some useful information related to finding a job.

The contact person at UNIL for Dual Career Couples is Marcelina Klaus Gaillard, Welcome Centre Coordinator. Do not hesitate to contact Ms Klaus for an initial meeting.


Ch√Ęteau de Dorigny  -  CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 20 20
Fax +41 21 692 20 05