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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    FYI Housing in CH cities and towns like Zug is about the same pricewise as housing in Van. Housing in the resorts is not as pricey as housing in Whistler (basic supply and demand)
    Sounds pretty dreamy. I have met my fair share of Swiss girls whilst travelling, maybe i should have not wrapped up so often...

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    I did 10 days there a couple of years ago for work. Had a good friend show me around a bit.
    1. Bring your wallet. If you've ever been to Bermuda, or lived for a couple of weeks at a ski resort (paying ski resort prices for everything), then you'll start to have an idea of what the cost of living is there.
    2. Do you speak any of the local languages or dialects or any of the regional languages? I never ran into issues just using English, but I was also no farther than ~35 km from Zurich for most of my stay. Closest I got to Lugano was Lucerne. A lot of people there speak English as a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language but having German (high German, since the only place to learn swiss german is in Switzerland), French, Italian or even Spanish as a back-up in Lugano would probably not be a bad idea. I ran into a spaniard in Lucerne... seeing the look on her face to have encountered a black spanish speaking american in Switzerland was amusing.
    3. Most Swiss will rent their entire lives. They get paid well, and even small towns are well developed but the real estate costs there are redonkulus.
    4. It is as great as it seems. All countries and regions and people have their issues, but my short time there was like a breath of fresh air compared to the USA. Kids walking to school (by themselves), church bells waking you up on Sunday, local markets that aren't the size of a football field. You still might not find a place to park, but why are you driving? There are trains, bicycles and your own two feet to get you around.
    5. Traffic can still suck and they enforce traffic laws with an IRON FIST. Don't overtake on the right (might get your license revoked). I got a 50 CHF ticket for going 5 km (~3.5 mph) over the speed limit on a mostly empty highway on the weekend. Camera got me. Even my Swiss escort was surprised because I had been heeding his advice to drive conservatively.

    Its on my list of dream countries to spend a few years living in... its also notoriously difficult to immigrate to. They also take their democracy and local politics very seriously. I might have just been lucky, or have had a biased sample of people to draw from (I was working with an engineering company), but I did not meet the same assortment of dingbats, yahoos, or cloistered yokels that you run into every day in most places in the USA. Lots of reasonably well informed and reserved people in their populace.

    Have fun

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    I was born there and have been back a number of times. Have thought many times over about moving there. The mountains there are absolutely incredible. Nothing I've seen (yet) in the US compares. You can take a train anywhere. I went from downtown Bern (capital) to the top of Mt Titlis in like 4 hours, all by train. There's public transportation is amazingly on-time. I traveled there for 2 weeks all by train and I don't think the train was ever more than 2 minutes late. Most people speak english but you get props if you can speak a local language. Yes it's expensive but they pay incredibly well. I talked to a Swiss-American who work there as a cashier at a alp restaurant and she said she made $29/hour. It'll be a nice to speak english because all the tourist jobs want you to speak english. Once again, never seen mountains like that before. You're in for a hell of an experience.

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Zurich, Switzerland
    I've been living in Zurich since June. Moved from Colorado. Everyone's done a decent job of summing it up.

    It's expensive, but you get paid well. The income disparity between my tech job and the cashier at the grocery store is wayyy more sane than when I was in the US. Expect your living space to be smaller, no matter where you came from. Housing prices are incredibly high but mortgage interest rates are also around 1-1.5% last I checked, so it's mainly you just need that big down payment to afford to buy. But yeah, most people seem to be happy renting their whole lives. It's not like you're losing out on an major investment unlike it is in the US. If you stay here you don't really need to stress much about money, savings or retirement. The system works. Just roll with it.

    Trains are awesome. I don't own a car and don't need to. Yesterday I took a train at 630 to the ski resort, worked on the way there, skied pow all day, and worked on the way back. 5 hours of work, 6 hours of untracked powder.

    Travel across Europe is phenomenal. I live in Zurich so that helps. It's 45 minutes from my door to boarding an international flight. About an hour+ in the air to Paris or London. Cheap vacations in warm climates down in Greece or many other eastern Euro areas.

    It's pretty isolating. People are nice and courteous, but abrupt and not super friendly. They don't want to be your friend. Friends will take time unless you live in a major expat area like Zurich. Be patient and friends will come. I haven't needed to know any other languages but English, but knowing German will help. I'm taking lessons.

    Everything is very much by the book and orderly. This has plusses and minuses. Trains, etc everything is reliable. Paperwork and rules are everywhere. It's a bit of a hassle but you get used to it. Everyone waits at the crosswalk for the light to change even if there's no traffic. Kind of funny.

    Food sucks for the most part. You have Italian... And Italian... And meat, cheese, bread and potatoes. Service is generally subpar - maybe because tipping isn't a thing here? I prefer to cook at home for the most part. It is wayyy cheaper, the food is way better, and I don't have someone being short with me or have to go out of my way to try to flag down my waiter. At many restaurants there's an obvious lack of care that permeates across the entire experience. There are a few gems but they're an exception to the standard.

    The mountains are insane and amazing, but conditions are more fickle than the intermountain and continental mountains. You'll want a flexible job if you want to ski powder regularly. Given the propensity for rules and strict adherence, it may be challenging to find a flexible one.

    Be ready for 3 months or so of really struggling to get your life in order. Moving internationally is no joke, and Switzerland seems unusually difficult to jump through all the necessary hoops.

    That's all I have for now

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    What he said ^^^
    For an outdoor enthusiast CH is hard to beat. Skiing in the winter, biking/hiking/lake in the Summer. High standard of living, safe, everything runs like clockwork. Euro cities / beaches within an hours flight for variety. What’s not to like...

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