International, Student Life

Students Welcome Desk: a look back at 2022

On The February 10, 2023

Each year, at the beginning of the academic year in September, the Université de Lyon sets up its Students Welcome Desk (SWD), a special service to welcome and assist international students upon their arrival in Lyon and Saint-Étienne. The 2022 SWD was open from September 5 to November 30.

The 2022 Students Welcome Desk combined a telephone service – via its hotline – with individual appointments for students in special situations. In 2022, more than 1,600 calls were received and more than 300 face-to-face meetings were organized to help students with their administrative procedures.

Among those who contacted the SWD, 79% were from one of the Université de Lyon institutions – the service is also open to students outside the ComUE perimeter. The majority of people (56%) who contacted the SWD were from Africa, followed by Asia/the Middle East and South America. More than half of the students who contacted the SWD had lived in the area for more than three years, and their main issues they were facing were:

  • Renewing residence permits;
  • Help for students on daily life issues (the SWD team was able to refer them to the Student Assistance Portal: and help them complete qtheir requests);
  • Procedures related to the end of studies (Temporary residence permits/Job hunting/business creation, change of status, etc.). 
Many students made a point of thanking the SWD and shared their thoughts on the help they received.


The SWD helped me by providing solutions to various administrative problems. The SWD team made me feel very welcome and is attentive and responsive to our needs.

Ismail, a student from Tunisia studying at the Institute of actuarial and financial sciences (Institut de Sciences Financière et d’Assurance – ISFA)

I received a notification about my application to renew my student residence permit. The SWD helped me by explaining what the notification was for. I felt very welcomed and they were very responsive to all our concerns.

A. Gladys, a student from Togo studying at the EBM Business School

I am a new student in Lyon, and I struggled a lot during my first few days. The SWD helped me better understand a number of things and helped me a lot with my administrative procedures. Since my French is quite good, I felt comfortable expressing my needs. I felt very welcomed. The SWD is a [structure] that helps a lot of students.

Habib, a student from Senegal studying at the Université Lumière Lyon 2

I just arrived in France this year on a student visa, but I was only granted a 4 month visa. The SWD made me feel very welcomed, comfortable and confident to talk about my problems. [The SWD is a great help to foreign students who have just arrived in France and are not yet familiar with the procedures to be followed.

Bacar, a student from Comoros studying at the Université Lumière Lyon 2

I was looking for a place to live on a limited budget. They advised me on the different housing options, and helped me with other inquiries, like student jobs, banking options, and where to make an appointment to find out about PhD offers. My French is not very good, but I felt at ease, I was able to express my needs [...] thanks to the support I found at the SWD. I felt welcomed. The people who handle calls are very patient. The SWD offers friendly help and advice. You can really count on the team to support you and give you more confidence.

Deydri, a student from Cuba studying at the Université Lumière Lyon 2

I had a problem with my residence permit at the prefecture and I needed financial assistance. The SWD helped me by guiding me on what to do and providing me with all the websites I could use to get help (e.g. for food). This service is great for foreign students who know nothing about life in France.

R.B., a student from Lebanon studying at the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1

I had questions about the CAF and my residence permit. They explained everything to me, what to do, and so on. I felt very comfortable expressing my needs. They made me feel very welcomed. It’s a great service that really helps students.

Daria, a student from Russia studying at the École de commerce Euridis (Euridis Business School)

The Students Welcome Desk is now closed; what do I do now?

Find out more on the Students Welcome Desk