Academic mobility at USI for incoming students

Università della Svizzera italiana and the International Relations and Study Abroad Service are pleased to welcome you and wish you a pleasant and successful stay on our campuses.

Here are the exchange programmes available at USI:

  • Swiss mobility programme, for students matriculated in other Swiss universities to study at USI one or more semesters;
  • SEMP programme (Swiss-European Mobility Programme, former Erasmus), for students coming from partner institutions to study at USI for one or two semesters. At present, USI has over 100 bilateral agreements with universities all over Europe;
  • International agreement programme, for students coming from partner institutions outside of Europe with whom USI has established bilateral agreements for one or two semesters. At present, USI has twelve international agreements;
  • Free-mover programme, for students whose home university does not have a bilateral agreement with USI (Lugano campus only).

Expand All

  • 7 ragioni per scegliere l'USI come destinazione di scambio

    Click here to find out the 7 reasons that lead students from our partner universities to choose USI as their exchange destination. 


  • Admission criteria

    The main conditions for admission are the following:

    • Exchange students must be enrolled in a university having signed a bilateral agreement with USI;
    • Exchange students may spend one or two semesters of study at USI;
    • Applicants must provide evidence from their home institution that the exchange term is fully acknowledged and accepted as part of their degree curriculum;
    • Exchange students must be approved by their home university for an exchange term at USI.
  • Application procedure

    Candidates are required to complete their registration on Mobility Online, the official tool in place at USI to manage exchanges. At the latest after the nomination deadline (1 May and 31 October), applicants will receive an email with instructions for registering in Mobility Online and information on the documentation to be uploaded.

    Please note that candidates must first create their SWITCH edu-ID account (if they do not have one already) before accessing Mobility Online.

    The documents to be uploaded are as follows:

    • Copy of most recent transcript of records;
    • Photocopy of relevant pages of passport or ID card;
    • Copy of your health insurance card;
    • Only for students requiring a VISA*: Short CV (resumé) and Motivational Letter (templates available in your Work Flow within Mobility Online);
    • Passport-size picture (full-face view facing the camera). Accepted formats: .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .pang, and in high resolution (<0.5MB). The photo will be printed on your student card.

    The candidate will receive a confirmation email with an attached letter of acceptance, together with other information relevant to the purpose of the exchange stay, as soon as the application is approved.

    Freemovers program

    If the student's home university does not have a valid bilateral agreement with USI, the student can apply with free mover status by contacting the International Relations and Study Abroad Service via e-mail ([email protected]), which will communicate the registration procedure.


    *VISA requirements:

    Students from non-EU/EFTA must request a student visa to the Swiss Embassy or Consulate in their home or residence country. On this subject, the International Relations and Study Abroad Service will send you a separate email with the additional details. Detailed information on Visa requirements by nationality is available here: Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality

    PLEASE NOTE: students from non-EU/EFTA countries who have a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen member state or a valid type D visa from a Schengen member state, are exempt from visa requirements (they do not need a visa to enter Switzerland).

  • Deadlines

    Autumn semester:

    • The official nomination must be submitted by the home university via Mobility Online no later than 1 May.
    • The registration in Mobility Online must be completed by 15 May.

    Spring semester:

    • The official nomination must be submitted by the home university via Mobility Online no later than 31 October.
    • The registration in Mobility Online must be completed by 15 November.
  • Tuition fee

    Please check which of the three options below applies to you:

    • Tuition fees are waived at USI Università della Svizzera italiana where a reciprocal exchange agreement has been signed, and students are formally nominated by their home university.
    • Students coming from a partner university but who have not been formally nominated, can still come to USI for an exchange period with freemover status, and benefit from a reduced tuition fee of CHF 2000 per semester.
    • Freemover students are subject to the regular USI tuition fee, for an amount of CHF 4000 per semester.

    Fee payment is an essential condition for matriculating or renewing one's enrolment. Please note that USI does not offer financial support to internationals students. These students are required to guarantee their own source of funding.

  • SEMP Studies Scholarship

    The SEMP programme entitles students to receive a scholarship if a partner university of USI officially approves the applicant.

    The amount of the scholarship is calculated on the basis of the length of the stay (introductory activities and exams excluded), given that the recipient physically moves from the home institution to the host institution abroad. Scholarships do not provide for total coverage of the expenses incurred during the stay abroad period, but they nonetheless contribute towards travel expenses and part of the living costs: SEMP grants for students.

    There are no SEMP scholarships for students coming from non-European destinations.

    Payment of the SEMP scholarship

    Scholarships are paid by the International Relations and Study Abroad Service at the beginning of the semester and upon arrival at USI directly to the student's bank or postal account.

    Grant for eco-friendly travel (SEMP mobility only)

    For European mobility the grant for eco-friendly travel will be added to the balance of the SEMP grant to those students who decide to travel with a means of transport with low CO2 emissions such as train, bus, or car-sharing upon proof of purchase.

    For more information, please visit the SEMP programme section of the Swiss National Agency Movetia.

  • ECTS Credit System

    One of the most important objectives of the Bologna Reform is to enhance the creation of an open educational European space, in which students and teaching staff can move without obstacles. The accreditation of studies and their academic degrees is the fundamental condition for the success of a mobility period abroad. For this reason, the Erasmus program has adopted the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to improve the acknowledgement of studies abroad.

    The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System is a student-centred system based on the student workload required to achieve the objectives of a program. Students obtain credits by fulfilling the prescribed academic requirements (class attendance, course work, term papers, or final examinations).

    ECTS credits are assigned by numeric value (ranging from 1 to 60). One credit corresponds to 25-30 hours of work.

    In the ECTS system, 60 credits is the total amount for one academic year, 30 credits for one semester and 20 for a trimester. Instead of an absolute measure, the credits consist of a relative quantification of students' workload, representing the workload required by a student in relation to the total annual workload of a degree curriculum offered by an university or a Faculty. ECTS credits take into account the student's overall performance, and are not based only on class attendance. ECTS credits are valid for all available courses, either mandatory or elective. The level of difficulty of a course bears no relation to the ECTS system, and cannot be attested by the ECTS credits.

    Students are credited with ECTS points only after they have successfully completed a course and fulfilled all its evaluation requirements. In other words, students are not awarded credits simply by class attendance or by taking part in a study abroad period.

    At USI the following credits conversions outside the ECTS system apply: credits conversion sheet.

  • Language of instruction

    Bachelor courses at the Faculty of Communication, culture and society and the Faculty of Economics are mainly taught in Italian. Non-native Italian speakers are required to have a good knowledge of the Italian language (at least a B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

    Master courses at the Faculty of Communication, culture and society and the Faculty of Economics are mainly taught in English, with few courses offered in Italian. Bachelor and Master courses at the Faculty of Informatics are entirely taught in English. For non-native English speakers it is highly recommended to have a good knowledge of the English language (B2 is required, C1 is recommended).

    For the purposes of the mobility application, both official certificates (IELTS, TOEFL etc.), and internal certificates issued by the student’s home university are accepted.

    Wherever possible, course material is made available in translation too, for ease of reference.

  • Language opportunities: learn Italian!

    Being the only University of Italian language and culture in Swiss Academia, since 2006, USI is particularly committed to the organization of Italian language courses, both intensive and extensive. The programmes are designed for USI students and USI professionals at all levels who want to develop and improve their practical Italian skills. Each year about 600 USI students enrol in Italian language courses.

    Italian language courses do not count towards a degree at Università della Svizzera italiana. Only SEMP (former Erasmus), Swiss Mobility and International Exchange students are entitled to receive ECTS points after having passed the final test and attended at least 75% of the course. 3 ECTS points are assigned for the Intensive courses and 1 ECTS point for the semestral courses. The evaluation is expressed by a binary system (Pass or Fail).

    For more information about the schedule and content of the courses offered, as well as the application, please refer to the following link:

    Official Italian Language proficiency PLIDA

    Università della Svizzera italiana also offers an official Italian language proficiency test twice a year in cooperation with the Società Dante Alighieri in Italy. The PLIDA Certificate attests competence in Italian as a foreign language according to a scale of six levels. The levels advance from A1 to C2 in the progression of difficulty and correspond to the levels established by the Council of Europe. For more information, please visit the webpage:

  • Study programme

    Study outline

    Guest/exchange students are free to attend a variety of classes, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. Although they are enrolled in a faculty they are entitled to attend classes and sit examinations in the other faculties too. But overlapping of classes and of final exams is highly possible in case the student chooses courses offered by different faculties and/or at different levels. Exams can be taken only on the official dates and in the prescribed modality. No special session for exams will be organized and it is not possible to ask for rescheduling or extra-muros exams. Therefore we strongly advise you not to choose courses offered by different programmes, faculties and/or at different levels. The student will need, first and foremost, to make sure that the home tutor agrees with the study plan.
    For exchange students a credit load of 20 ECTS per semester is recommended.

    Approval of the study plan

    Your study plan must be approved by the relevant Faculty or Department of the home institution. All students have to make sure that any examination papers taken during the exchange term will be accepted as fulfilling the requirements of the original degree programme.
    Students are kindly required to submit a learning agreement before the beginning of the semester. We accept either the official template provided by the home university of the student or the standard form that the student can find directly in Mobility Online.
    Any change to the Learning Agreement has to be submitted to USI’s International Relations Service for new approval. The home university will need to approve it too.

    Class schedules

    Class schedules or timetables are usually available few weeks prior to the beginning of classes.

    Courses list and description

    The workload per semester is 30 ECTS credits. Credits are awarded only for passed exam.

    The study plan must be approved by the relevant Faculty or Department of the home institution. All students have to make sure that any examination paper taken during the exchange term fulfils the requirements of the original degree programme.

  • Study programmes

  • Academic assessment system and transcript

    At the end of the exchange term, the student will receive an official transcript of examination results: the certificate will show the full title of each course, the number of ECTS points value and the grade obtained. All examinations and the Master’s thesis are evaluated and graded on a scale of 1 (minimum) to 10 (maximum), including half points (0.5). 6 is the passing grade. Examination results are released approximately 6 weeks after the end of the exams. 

    An official transcript will be made available to download from the student’s Mobility Online workflow.

  • Useful links


    Faculty of Communication Sciences
    Faculty of Economics
    Faculty of Informatics
    Academy of Architecture

    Study curricula

    Bachelor programmes
    Master programmes

    Visiting / exchange students are free to attend a variety of classes, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. Although formally enrolled in a Faculty, students are entitled to attend classes and take examinations in the other Faculties as well. Please note that overlapping of classes and of final exams are highly possible when choosing courses offered by different Faculties and/or at different levels. No special session for exams will in any case be organized.


    Academy of Architecture
    Faculty of Communication Sciences
    Faculty of Economics
    Faculty of Informatics

    Guidelines for the organisation and conducting of inter-Faculty examinations or examinations within the framework of inter-Faculty programmes

  • Housing

    USI manages a student house (USIHome), but cannot guarantee accommodation to all students. The housing service provides free one-to-one advice and information on what is available.

    Exchange students seeking accommodation for the duration of their study semester in Lugano or in Mendrisio are invited to contact the Housing Service directly by e-mail, for personal advice.

    To helps students seeking for an accommodation, USI has a Facebook page where messages from students who are looking for a roommate or are leaving their flat/room are published.

    Lugano Campus:

    Mendrisio Campus:



  • Visa requirements

    The International Relations Service will assist exchange students with the procedure before the beginning of the semester.

    EU/EFTA students do not need a visa to enter Switzerland. Non-EU/EFTA students bound by a visa requirement* must request a student visa to the Swiss Embassy or Consulate in their home country before entering Switzerland.

    All the necessary forms are available at the Swiss Embassies and Consulates. To start the procedure, candidates must contact the relevant embassy or consulate and provide the required documentaation. This includes the admission letter and a “Students’ financial means form” (a document declaring that the applicant has sufficient financial means to meet the costs of studying and living in Switzerland, as well as adequate accommodation and that the student is aware of the obligation of leaving the country after completion of the study programme), provided by the International Relations Service via the Mobility Online platform. Students are expected to pay any visa fees charged by the Consulate or Embassy. It is recommended that international students apply for admission as early as possible. Students will receive the visa to enter Switzerland only at the end of the procedure.

    Note: The visa process can take between 1 and 4 months. Entry into Switzerland is only possible after the application is approved. A tourist visa for Switzerland and Schengen residence permit cannot be converted into a student permit after entering Switzerland. Regardless of the visa, the student must apply for a residence permit. For additional information on the visa requirements and procedure, please refer to the Federal Office for Migration, the representatives of Switzerland abroad or the cantonal authorities.

    Some Non-EU/EFTA countries are visa exempt, check VISA requirements:

    Students from non-EU/EFTA countries who have a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen member state or a valid type D visa from a Schengen member state, are exempt from visa requirements (they do not need a visa to enter Switzerland).

    Online Visa System:


  • Residence permit

    All foreign students wishing to stay in Switzerland during their study period must apply for a residence permit “L” for educational purposes, regardless of Visa requirements. The application must be submitted within 14 days from arrival in Switzerland following the procedure. After submitting the application, the candidate is free to live in Switzerland while awaiting the immigration authority's decision. Please be aware that the Permit of stay usually arrives only after 2-3 months. The permit allows students to work a maximum of 15 hours per week. After signing a work contract the student must report to the above Regional Migration Office to make sure that all is in good order. Foreign students residing in the frontier zone who return home daily do not need to apply for the Permit of stay.

    The International Relations Service will assist exchange students with the procedures upon arrival.

    SEMP students are exempted from paying any residence permit fee.

  • Residents’ Registration Office

    All foreign students and Swiss students residing in municipalities other than those where they are staying for study purposes must register to the town population office within 8 days of arrival in Switzerland.

    Puntocittà, Via della Posta, 6900 Lugano +41 58 866 60 00, [email protected]

    Ufficio controllo abitanti della città di Mendrisio, Via Municipio 13, 6850 Mendrisio, +41 91 640 3120, [email protected];


  • Health Insurance in Switzerland

    The International Relations Service will assist exchange students with the procedures upon arrival. Every person residing in Switzerland is required to have a health and accident insurance or to obtain the relevant exemption (see below) within three months from their first entry in Switzerland. Compulsory health insurance covers the costs of medical care in case of illness or accident.

    Under certain conditions, students may be exempted from contracting compulsory health insurance in Switzerland. This applies in particular to:

    • students coming from EU/EFTA countries holding a European Health Insurance Card;
    • Students with private insurance in EU/EFTA countries who can prove that it complies with Swiss standards, i.e. that it is unlimited
    • Students from Non-EU/EFTA countries who can prove that such insurance complies with Swiss standards, i.e. that it is unlimited.

    Swiss insurances

    If the student does not qualify for an exemption or if their insurance coverage is not valid in Switzerland, they must purchase a private insurance policy. All companies offer the same basic cover, but at different premiums. The premium will be based on the place of residence, the age and the level of deductible originally opted for. By paying supplementary premiums, extra benefits may be obtained (for example, private rooms in hospitals, special therapies, and indemnities). The amount of premium payable can be reduced as the insured party accepts a higher compulsory annual excess (It., franchigia) or other limitations imposed by some companies.


    In order to offer its foreign students more affordable compulsory insurance coverage, Università della Svizzera italiana has agreed with Europäische Reiseversicherungs AG (ERV) and Swisscare Switzerland AG an extremely convenient collective insurance policy named Swisscare. Swisscare provides basic coverage in the event of illness, accident and maternity equivalent to the mandatory insurance under the Swiss Federal Law on Compulsory Health Care (KVG/LAMal), but at a much lower cost.

  • Activities for incoming students

    Italian Language Courses

    Being the only University of Italian language and culture in Swiss Academia, since 2006, USI is particularly committed in the organization of Italian language courses, both intensive and semestral. The programme is designed for USI students and USI professionals at all levels who want to develop and improve their practical Italian skills. Each year about 600 USI students enroll in the Italian language courses.
    The courses taking place prior to the beginning of the autumn/spring semester are particularly designed for exchange incoming students. Participating students attended morning classes focused on grammar and writing, whereas the afternoon classes focused on improving listening and speaking skills, expanding vocabulary and developing confidence.
    A guided city tour, a guided visit of a museum and an Italian film viewing in the USI Auditorio are part of the course.

    For more information about the content of the courses and to apply online please read the following link:


    Erasmus Students Network (ESN)
    The International Relations Service collaborates with the ESN local section, following the motto "students helping students", ESN works to develop the conditions for present and future exchange students and to promote the exchange experience. Among their great variety of activities, the association helps new students from different countries settle in, by showing the region and organizing events.



  • Living on campus

    The information below is published in alphabetical order.

    Accessibility to the Campuses

    The Lugano Campuses, the Palazzo Canavée and the Mendrisio Library have been adapted for mobility-impaired individuals, with appropriate access ramps and facilities (WC, etc.).

    For further information and assistance, please contact directly:

    Pro Infirmis Luganese e Mendrisiotto
    [email protected]


    Lugano West Campus: an ATM is available in the main building (back entrance below the cafeteria).

    Mendrisio Campus: there is no ATM on the Mendrisio Campus. The closest ATM is located at the Regional Hospital OBV (next to the Library)


    The University’s Career Service aims at fostering exchange and contact with the business world, and to acquaint students with the working environment, thus ensuring a smoother and more successful transition from the academic world to the workplace. The key activities of the Service focus on the following:

    • Maintain a database with internships and job opportunities and weekly career newsletters;
    • Personal advice on career guidance and preparation of theapplication file;
    • Internship coordination;
    • Coordination of scholarships for internships abroad;
    • Company presentations;
    • “Career Management Workshops” Meeting Cycle;
    • Long Night of Careers;
    • Field Projects Coordination;
    • USI Career Stories;
    • Placement survey: monitoring of the professional opportunities of USI graduates.

    Copy Center

    The Copy Center is located on the Lugano West Campus (Level 1, office 121)

    • manages the printers on the Lugano Campus;
    • is the focal point for the production, distribution and sale of course materials on the Lugano Campus;
    • provides a thesis printing and binding service (subject to a fee).

    Contact: +41 58 666 45 86, [email protected]

    Equal Opportunities Service

    The Equal Opportunities Service undertakes activities aimed at ensuring and promoting an inclusive, transparent and non-discriminatory environment for studying and working at USI.

    Notably, the Service:

    • Supports students with specific needs;
    • Provides support, also of financial nature, to students who need to reconcile university and family life;
    • Encourages the choice of non-stereotypical study and career paths, also through the provision of scholarships;
    • Organizes events and activities aimed at enhancing and spreading, within and outside the USI community, a culture of equity and diversity.


    Lugano Campus

    The Lugano Campus cafeterias (commonly called “mensa” in Italian) are located in the main building of the West Campus and in sector C of the East Campus. They offer a choice of three daily menus.

    The menu prices are subject to change. To benefit from reduced prices, when asked you must show your student ID card.

    The cafeterias are closed during the Christmas holiday break and during the summer break (first two weeks of August).

    The weekly menu is available at:

    Mendrisio Campus

    Students can benefit from reduced prices at the Osteria Vignetta (Via Turconi, next to Villa Argentina – and at the Obivella Restaurant of the “Beata Vergine” the Regional Hospital of Mendrisio (next to the Library). For the special rates, the student needs to show, upon request, the USI student card.

    Internet Connection / Wi-Fi

    The following Wi-Fi networks are available for Internet access:

    • USI Wireless (all campus)
    • USI (all campus)
    • USI-5 (only certain areas of the Lugano campus)
    • USIGuestHouse (Lugano Campus - Palazzo Lambertenghi)
    • eduroam (all campus)

    USI Wireless is a network accessible to all, with an online time limit of four hours per session. To log in, follow the instructions on the page you see when you first access it. To access the other networks, you need USI credentials or credentials from other universities (eduroam)

    IT Support

    Lugano Campus

    For assistance with any IT device or system, contact:

    Help Desk Lugano Campus
    Main building, office 164
    [email protected]
    +41 58 666 46 10

    Mendrisio Campus

    For any issues related to IT infrastructures, the network, access to systems, payments of prints and supply of papers or inks for printers please contact [email protected].

    Laboratory for Models Mendrisio Campus

    The Academy of Architecture also has 2 laboratories (Palazzo Turconi and Palazzo Canavée) where students can learn to operate the various technical equipment for creating models of their design projects. In order to use these machines, students are required to take a 2-hour introductory course.


    The libraries hold a wide collection of books and periodicals in USI’s areas of study, providing individual study spaces and photocopying services.

    University Library Lugano

    During the exam sessions, the library has extended opening hours. The opening hours are reduced during the summertime.

    Academy of Architecture Library

    Special schedule during the exam preparation period. Reduced opening hours during the summer holidays.

    Lost and Found

    Lugano Campus

    For all lost items, contact the reception of the main building (ground floor at the entrance) according to the opening hours.

    Mendrisio Campus

    For all lost items, contact the reception of Villa Argentina according to the opening hours.

    Monthly Budget

    Accommodation (shared single room or one-bedroom apartment): CHF 450/800
    Food and other household expenses: CHF 450
    Health Insurance (if required): CHF 110/280
    Public Transportation: CHF 50/100
    Books and study materials: CHF 50
    Free time expenses: CHF 200
    Total / per month: CHF 1’300/1’900

    This budget is an average of the monthly budget for a USI student, excluding however the one-off expenses such as residence permit, regional foreign office, security deposit, etc.


    Lugano Campus

    An underground car park is available on the Lugano Campus. It is possible to pay only with Swiss francs (CHF). Credit cards are not accepted.

    Around USI there are a few blue zones available (maximum 1 hour) and white zones (CHF 2 per hour).

    It is possible to rent a parking space, subject to availability, at the car park of the ‘Ospedale Italiano’.

    Mendrisio Campus

    There are no available parking spaces for students on the Mendrisio campus. Car parks are available in town.


    Lugano Campus: students may use the following printers:

    Students may print only in A4 format, in black and white. They are entitled to 1,000 free printouts per semester. You can consult an overview of your printouts on your system profile USILuNET (to access the page from outside the campus IT network, you need to log in with your CAMPUS account).

    Mendrisio Campus

    Students can use all printers and plotters located in common areas. There are two types of printer available: - laser, for small sizes (A4 - A3) - inkjet plotter for large formats (> A3). All prints / photocopies are deducted from an initial printing credit assigned to each student at the beginning of the academic year. The remaining credit is automatically displayed on the screen each time you log in on the faculty PCs

    Psychological Counselling Service

    The Psychological Counselling Service offers a counselling service in cooperation with the ATP, the association of psychologists in Ticino, to help students in need to seek professional support. Emotional distress may come in different forms and degrees, from a short term to a more complicated and long-lasting discomfort. When a disorder or a problem interferes with one’s daily routine affecting relationships, family, the workplace or school, seeking assistance from a qualified psychologist is certainly an option.

    Counselling is not a free-of-charge service; supplemental health insurance will cover the fees for Cantonal appointed qualified psychotherapists. USI will cover the fees for the first session.

    Sosta Project

    The general objective of the “SostA... towards a sustainable university” project is to achieve environmental, economic and social responsibility at USI.

    The specific objectives are:

    • to improve energy efficiency;
    • to introduce and strengthen sustainability criteria in daily management and purchasing;
    • to raise the awareness of the USI community;
    • to guide USI towards a sustainability model.

    As part of the project, useful information is available concerning sustainability (rubbish collection, water and energy consumption), mobility arrangements (bike sharing in Lugano and Mendrisio) and other aspects.


    A Service for Sport and Leisure has been created to promote sporting activities and to coordinate local members’ participation in national and international university sports events.

    The Sport Service USI/SUPSI organizes several sports activities addressed to the university community (students, PhD, academic and non-academic staff). The goal is to create adequate opportunities to complement the intellectual or office-based routines with an attractive offer enhanced by social and cultural components.

    The programme includes courses and special events offered throughout the academic year, as well as between semesters, with a selection of weekly activities, training courses, camps and events. Sport Service USI provides equipment for many sports activities and relevant facilities, e.g. for water sports, and has a few agreements and facilitations with several partners.

    To be able to use the services and equipment of the Sport Service it is necessary to purchase the sports card by subscribing to their website. It guarantees a multitude of advantages and reduced prices for the activities of the sports programme.

    Student Card

    The student card provides proof of enrollment at USI, it is delivered at the student’s arrival from the International Relations Service.

    Lugano Campus

    The card enables students of the Faculties of Communication, Culture and Society, Faculty of Economics and Faculty of Informatics to:

    • renew their enrolment automatically;
    • access the common areas of the campus 24/7;
    • use printers, make photocopies and scan documents;
    • obtain up-to-date certificates;
    • register for sports activities;
    • register for the bike-sharing service;
    • benefit from a variety of promotions.

    Mendrisio Campus

    The student card allows students of the Academy of Architecture to access the buildings on campus 24/7, to benefit from the Library loan and a few student reductions (OBV Restaurant, Osteria Vignetta).

  • Free time and life outside of the campus

    Bank Account

    To open a personal bank account in Switzerland, students are required to present a valid passport or identity card and a certificate of enrolment issued by USI. Certain banks may ask for additional documents. It is recommended to open a student account, which generally offers a series of benefits.


    With the student card, it is possible to activate an annual subscription to the PubliBike bike sharing service available within the city of Lugano. One of the bike stations is located at USI’s main entrance: the first 30 minutes, i.e. the time required to move from one station to another, are free of charge; after this period, the user will be charged a fee per minute. At the Mendrisio campus, bike sharing is available to students only within the university campus.


    The buses guarantee efficient mobility in the city of Lugano and the surrounding areas. In addition to the city buses, surrounding towns can be reached with the yellow coaches (Autopostale) or by the Lugano public transportation network (Autolinee Regionali Luganesi). Detailed information on Lugano’s public transportation (TPL) is available on: (only in Italian). In Mendrisio, city bus nr. 1, as well as a yellow ‘Autopostale’ coach, provide regular connections between the Academy and the cities of Chiasso and Como. Information on bus passes is available on the website


    In Switzerland, you must be at least 18 years old to obtain a driving license and driving is on the right. For further information on the foreign driving licence (validity, change, etc) refer to the “Sezione della Circolazione”: (only in Italian)

    Post Office

    Post offices provide a variety of products and facilities: stamps, stationery, money transfers from abroad (international money orders are handled only by the main post offices) and other products. In addition, the Post Office offers the “PostFinance account” as an alternative to a bank account. To open an account at the Post Office, students are required to provide an identity document (passport or ID), a residence permit and a certificate of enrolment issued by USI.,


    The main supermarkets are open Mondays to Fridays from 8.30am to 7pm, Thursdays from 8.30am to 9pm, and Saturdays from 8.30am to 5pm (in the summer until 6pm). Smaller shops stay open until 6.30pm (also on Thursdays) and close on Saturdays at 5pm.


    To call Ticino from abroad, you must dial 0041 91 (land lines) and then the phone number. In Switzerland, there are several mobile phone operators. Information on rates, subscriptions and prepaid cards may be obtained from the specialist shops throughout Ticino and at post offices. Generally, prepaid cards and contracts can be used with all standard GSM mobile phones on 900/1800 Mhz.


    Students can purchase a “Swiss Half-Price Card” from a Swiss Railway ticket office ( that entitles them to a 50% reduction on all train fares in Switzerland. Swiss Rail also offers season tickets at special rates for commuters, i.e. people who live just across the border in Italy and travel to Switzerland every day. Another train pass, “Night GA”, entitles the holder to travel for free after 7pm until the last train (only for students under 25). For additional information, visit the SBB website

    USI Student Discounts

    USI’s students can benefit from the discounts and special rates showing the USI student card. The list is available at:

    Useful Links and contacts

    Lugano Cantonal Library of Lugano:
    City of Lugano:
    Lugano Tourism:
    Medical Centre:
    Dental Medical Service:
    Cantonal Hospitals:
    Cantonal Library of Mendrisio:
    City of Mendrisio:
    Mendrisiotto Tourism:
    Canton Ticino:
    Ticino Tourism:

    USI USI Security number
    Lugano Campus
    +41 58 666 4730

    Mendrisio Campus
    +41 58 666 5820

    Helpline (Volunteer Emotional Support):143
    Traffic conditions: 163
    Swisscom Info Service (fee liable): 1811
    Emergency Swiss Numbers
    General Emergency Number: 112
    Police: 117
    Fire Department: 118
    Ambulance: 144
    REGA: 1414
    Roadside Assistance: 140
    Toxicological Institute (in case of poisoning): 145

  • Before you leave USI

    At the end of their exchange semester at USI, exchange students are kindly invited to complete the following procedures:

    • Write an end of study report
    • Fill in the online survey on the mobility period

    Relevant information is shared by email and the forms will be available on Mobility Online.

    All students are required to complete the reports. It is a very important tool for us and very appreciated feedback: it is a valuable source of improvement.