Frequently Asked Questions

Overview: (Please find the answers below).

  1. What does a typical day at L’Abri look like?
  2. Is there a set course of study?
  3. Can I get credit for my studies at L’Abri?
  4. How do I get to L’Abri?
  5. Does L’Abri have any travel advice?  Should I purchase a rail pass for example?
  6. How much leisure money should I plan on spending while at L’Abri?
  7. Do I need to bring my own towels and sheets?
  8. What about toiletries?
  9. Can I do laundry while I’m there?
  10. Do I really only get two showers per week?
  11. Should I bring food with me?
  12. What kinds of clothes should I pack? What is the weather like?
  13. Is there WiFi access at L’Abri?
  14. Is L’Abri a Christian retreat center?
  15. Do I have to be a Christian to go to L’Abri?
  16. I would like to bring my family to L’Abri.  Does L’Abri accommodate families?
  17. My kids are under 18 – are we still able to come to L’Abri as a family or are we violating Swiss Law?
  18. I would like to work at L’Abri – what is the employment process?
  19. I am not very strong in the English language.  Should I come to L’Abri?
  20. Can I visit L’Abri for a day?
  21. I am interested in starting a new branch of L’Abri

FAQ 1: What does a typical day at L’Abri look like?

  • The day is divided into two main blocks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, each one 3½ hours long.
  • Each student works during one of the blocks, doing tasks that help promote community life such as cleaning, cooking, grounds, or laundry.
  • The other block is spent studying in the library.
  • Meals are taken together, with lunch in between the two blocks, breakfast before, and dinner after.
  • Evenings are generally free. For more information on the daily schedule, see the Work and Study page.

FAQ 2: Is there a set course of study?

  • No, students are free to determine their own course of study, using resources in the library and/or bringing their own. Students staying for a week or more will also meet with a tutor who can help them think through different topics, suggest books and lectures, and guide their study.
  • It is important to note that tutors do their best to work with what students bring in terms of questions and interest areas. Their role is to guide students to helpful materials and through complicated topics, not to create a curriculum for each student.

FAQ 3: Can I get credit for my studies at L’Abri?

  • L’Abri is always open to discussing university partnerships and credit programs. However, unless you have worked out credit requirements with your school ahead of time, L’Abri does not offer courses of study for credit.

FAQ 4: How do I get to L’Abri?

  • Please see the Contact page for directions or this link to Google maps.
  • When you make a reservation, we will send you a packet of information that includes detailed instructions on how to find L’Abri.
  • If you need additional information, please get in touch, using the contact form.

FAQ 5: Does L’Abri have any travel advice? Should I purchase a rail pass?

  • The days for traveling are on Thursday and Sunday, so buying a rail pass isn’t advisable unless you are making a short stop at L’Abri during a broader trip across Europe.  If you are here for a whole term,  it could be worthwhile to look into buying a half-fare card to cut travel costs within Switzerland. To minimize travel costs for your arrival to L’Abri you can also search for “supersaver tickets” on the Swiss Rail Website.  For more information about supersaver tickets and half-fare cards please visit the SBB CFF website.

FAQ 6: How much leisure money should I plan on spending while at L’Abri?

  • Day-off spending (on Thursdays and Sundays) varies from student to student.  Some are on a very tight budget and choose to spend their days off hiking in the mountains nearby while others like to make cultural excursions and explore the surrounding areas.  Restaurants, museums, and traveling are expensive commodities here.  The average person probably spends somewhere between 20-50 francs per day off (although others have pinched their pennies and spent less).

FAQ 7: Do I need to bring my own towels and sheets?

  • A bed, sheets, blankets, and towels are provided, and linens are washed bi-weekly, so no. You’re fine.

FAQ 8: What about toiletries?

  • L’Abri does not provide toiletries, so please bring your own. For those who wish to replenish their supplies, Villars and other nearby towns are easily accessible and have several stores that sell these items.

FAQ 9: Can I do laundry while I’m there?

  • Laundry is done for all students on each of the five working days per week (i.e., not on days off) and is included in the cost of your stay. Clothes are washed in a machine and then dried on the line. Please note that, depending on the weather, clothes may take up to two or three days to dry.

FAQ 10: Do I really only get two showers per week?

  • In order to keep costs down, we do ask that students take not more than two showers per week. All students are provided with wash-cloths to do daily washes by the sink if they want. Most students quickly get used to the new routine and find it becomes a natural part of community life. For those who are concerned washing hair some students have found it helpful to bring along some dry shampoo.

FAQ 11: Should I bring food with me?

  • During your stay here, three meals are provided every day, with the cost included in the nightly fee. The staff and students tend to find the quality of the food very high! If you are a person who prefers to eat more than three times per day or has special food preferences, we recommend that you bring snacks with you and/or purchase food in Villars or other nearby towns before you arrive or on days off. For additional information, please see the Meals at L’Abri page.

FAQ 12: What kinds of clothes should I pack? What is the weather like?

  • The atmosphere at L’Abri is very casual. Formal clothing is never required or recommended. (Some do like to wear a nice shirt on Sundays). We ask that everyone take shoes off in Bellevue, and many students have found it helpful to have a pair of slippers for wearing around inside. See the questions above for information on linens, laundry, and other considerations which will likely impact the number of clothing items you bring.
  • Summers are warm, generally staying between 18°C and 24°C (65°F and 75°F). Spring and fall can be cooler, with temperatures dropping closer to 10°C (50°F) on cold days and at night.
  • Spring through fall can see rain intermittently and sometimes for longer stretches, so appropriate clothing is highly recommended.
  • In winter, we get snow off and on, and temperatures can stay at and below freezing. The chalets are heated, but it is best to pack warm indoor and outdoor clothing.

FAQ 13: Is there WiFi access at L’Abri?

  • No. Internet access on site is restricted to a communal computer that is available in the evenings and on days off. If you would like to use a personal electronic device to access the internet, you may do so on days off in Villars or other nearby towns, where there are a variety of cafés and restaurants that have WiFi.
  • A note for those in career transitions: many people come to L’Abri hoping to think through God’s calling on their life, their next career step, and other employment-related questions. We welcome these questions and believe L’Abri is an excellent place to think through them and receive guidance. For those who would like to actively pursue job opportunities while they are here, we have found this to be a challenge given the limited internet access and, for many, the time change. If days off (all day Thursdays and afternoons on Sundays) will provide sufficient time for career pursuits, we think L’Abri will provide a great space for your needs. For those looking for more frequent time to pursue job applications, L’Abri may not be the best place to do that.
  • For more on use of tech while at L’Abri

FAQ 14: Is L’Abri a Christian retreat center?

  • No and yes.
  • When thinking of a retreat center, many people imagine a place where all their needs are provided other than minor contributions, set times for devotion, lessons or sermons preached once or more per day, and some form of midday leisure time.
  • While many of these things happen at L’Abri, at least in part, this is not how L’Abri is structured.
  • Look through the Work and Study page to answer the question “What does a typical day at L’Abri look like?” and to get a good idea of what to expect from daily life here.
  • With that said, many find that L’Abri is a much-needed retreat from busy or oppressive situations. For those looking for a place with a slower pace of life than the normal Western experience, community with others, teaching and study on relevant topics, a break from the demands of technology, and other benefits of “retreating” for a time from other pressures, L’Abri is an excellent choice.

FAQ 15: Do I have to be a Christian to go to L’Abri?

  • No. L’Abri is a place for seekers, for those who want to dig in to the deep questions of life, for those who are hungry for truth. People of all backgrounds come to L’Abri, including atheists, agnostics, and believers in a variety of religions and Christian denominations. We strive to create an environment of hospitality and safety, where all are welcome regardless of belief.
  • It is also important to be aware that all the staff are Christians, living and speaking from that conviction. Lectures and chapel services often cover Christian topics, and many discussions focus around the Christian spiritual life.
  • As those whose lives have been changed by Jesus Christ, we aim to show all students his love, both in the ways we welcome all comers, and in our commitment to communicating what we believe to be the truth of the Gospel in our words and actions.

FAQ 16: I would like to bring my family to L’Abri. Does L’Abri accommodate families?

  • We love to have families here! Our  accommodations are mostly suited for singles, but we do have limited options for families.  Please contact us to see if our family accommodations are available.

FAQ 17: My kids are under 18 – are we still able to come to L’Abri as a family?

  • Children under the age of 18 but accompanied by their parents are welcome and not in violation of Swiss Law. They are, however, unable to take part in the L’Abri schedule but are otherwise welcome at informal meals and lectures.
  • Usually one parent stays with the children while the other takes part in the L’Abri daily activities, either working, studying, or joining a lunch discussion. The parents most often alternate, but it’s possible for one parent to be with the children full time.

FAQ 18: I would like to work at L’Abri – what is the employment process?

  • It’s perhaps fair to say that employment at L’Abri is fairly nontraditional – some have even called it a long and uncertain journey. At Swiss L’Abri the process goes like this:
  • First you need to be a student for at least one term (which is 8-10 weeks), then you can apply to be a helper, which is something like a volunteer or an intern.
  • If you get accepted as a helper, and after being a helper for a total of 3 terms, you can then apply to be a worker. Other branches might do it a bit differently. For those who want to end up working here, the year spent as a student and helper is an important time of discernment for yourself and the L’Abri staff to see if you are being called to this work.
  • All L’Abri Switzerland workers affirm the L’Abri Statements.

FAQ 19: I am not very strong in the English language. Should I come to L’Abri?

  • We are an international community and often have students from a variety of countries and continents, but our primary and shared language is English.
  • If you are not fluent in English but would like to visit a L’Abri, please visit our Global page.

FAQ 20: Can I visit L’Abri for a day?

  • Absolutely! If you would like to come for the afternoon, please contact us so we can anticipate your arrival. If there is a worker or helper available, a tour of Chalet Bellevue and the grounds can be arranged as well.
  • If you would like to come to a lunch or dinner please contact us at least 3-4 days in advance so the correct amount of food can be purchased in time. Meals for day guests are a suggested 5 franc donation per person.
  • For large groups we are usually unable to provide a meal, although we happily will serve you a cup of tea.
  • Every Wednesday and Friday at 9:15 a.m. we have lectures that are always open the public.
  • Additionally, we welcome anyone to join us on Sunday morning for our 11:00 a.m. Bible study.

FAQ 21: I am interested in starting a new branch of L’Abri

How do I go about starting this process?

  • L’Abri as an international ministry is not built for fast growth, and planting new branches is not a goal of our ministry in the way it is for many churches. Developing new L’Abri branches is a rare and slow process that involves years of discernment.
  • Without exception, every L’Abri branch started with a person who first came to L’Abri as a paying student for an entire term. After a student has been with us for at least one term, he or she is eligible to apply to be a helper. Once a person has served as a helper for at least two terms, he or she may present herself to the staff to join the ministry as a worker. After a worker has served for a minimum of three years, he or she may become a member of L’Abri Fellowship International—a part of the voting body of the international ministry. It is only at this point in the process that discussions of planting a new branch are prayerfully and seriously considered, and these discussions take place within the context of the annual international members’ meetings and among the board of trustees. In other words, there are several years of investment before the vision of a new branch comes to fruition.
  • However, many people find that they are able to incorporate aspects of L’Abri into their own ministries of hospitality, evangelism, apologetics, and prayer, without explicitly using the L’Abri name. We are happy to encourage our students to take what they learn at L’Abri and to apply some of our same rhythms and values in a variety of contexts all over the world.