As with the visa and travel arrangements, the Openlab team also helped us with our accommodation. For our stay, we had two options:
- Business Park Hotel (pet name: BPH)
- Find our own accommodation in Geneva, Saint Genis Poully, Thoiry etc.
As someone travelling from another continent, who had not had the experience of living abroad before, I chose the safest option, BPH. Moreover, I had heard that a majority of Openlab students have been staying there for the past years, so that seemed like the best option for me.
I got two lovely roommates. They made the stay so easy and fun for me. The room was good. It was large, but not too much, just enough for the three of us. It had a small kitchenette, a terrace, TV and aesthetically pleasing furniture. An Italian restaurant “Le Casanova” right next door, an Indian buffet in the backyard, a French restaurant “Leon De Bruxelles” close enough and the supermarkets “Carrefour” and “Migros” near enough (walking distance 15-20 minutes) made eating and shopping very easy and doable even in the most hectic days.
However, there were a few cons that could not be ignored.
There were problems with the WiFi that were fixed quite late during our stay. So it was not possible to do much work at the hotel. SSH was also blocked initially, which was opened later on.
The cleaning staff was either not consistent, or did not have a schedule to follow initially. The reception, whenever asked, informed us that there is one big cleaning day, which none of the people knew about. Twice in the two months, the cleaning days were skipped and we lived in a mess. However, later on, with the insistence of Openlab admin, the problem was solved. We were informed of he schedule and it was followed strictly.
The reception staff was not consistent with the rules it followed. It seemed like every person made their own rules on the spot and stuck to those, despite of the students having different experiences in the same situations earlier.
Most of the staff was cooperative and kind, however, some exceptions existed. First, a guy flirting with anything female, and second, a guy acting like a prison guard. These two people became inconveniences that we had to live with.
There was much room for improvement. And I hope they improve by the next year so the next batch of the students’ lives are made easier.
For those who wish to find their own accommodation, Young @ CERN might be the best place to look for apartments (and also bikes, roommates, advice and what not).