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Old 09.09.2016, 05:21
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One Way Ticket To Geneva

Well folks, the time has come in my life where I am in need of an adventure, a change of lifestyle, and new experience. I am a dual Swiss/US citizen, and have spent the last 20 years of my life in the states (and I'm 24 years old for reference ) I've put a lot of though into this - it's been a long time coming!

I decided that I am going to purchase a one way ticket to Geneva, leaving in 90 days, to begin a new life in the country that I am originally from. I have a bachelors degree in a science field and I am a very determined, hard working individual. I have some family in Switzerland, however I do not want depend on them to survive, I want to get on my feet on my own once I arrive.

So. . .am I crazy for doing this? How big of a challenge will I face? I will come equipped with a month or two of living expenses to support myself while I look for work. What's it like finding a job as an english-only speaker? Is it possible to get some sort of income flowing, with the language barrier, if I hit the ground running hard when I arrive? I'm open to any and all sorts of work!

What should I be prepared for? What advice do you all have to share?

I go to visit every couple of years so I am familiar with the french speaking part of the country, the high cost of living, etc. I reached out to the Swiss consulate and they basically advised that I need to arrive before they can begin assisting to arrange language lessons/job scouting/etc. What should I be doing now to make this transition as smooth as possible?

I appreciate any commentary or direction that could help me out with this transition and looking forward to reading your replies!

Kind regards,
dunoJ
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Old 09.09.2016, 09:50
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

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Well folks, the time has come in my life where I am in need of an adventure, a change of lifestyle, and new experience. I am a dual Swiss/US citizen, and have spent the last 20 years of my life in the states (and I'm 24 years old for reference ) I've put a lot of though into this - it's been a long time coming!

I decided that I am going to purchase a one way ticket to Geneva, leaving in 90 days, to begin a new life in the country that I am originally from. I have a bachelors degree in a science field and I am a very determined, hard working individual. I have some family in Switzerland, however I do not want depend on them to survive, I want to get on my feet on my own once I arrive.

So. . .am I crazy for doing this? How big of a challenge will I face? I will come equipped with a month or two of living expenses to support myself while I look for work. What's it like finding a job as an english-only speaker? Is it possible to get some sort of income flowing, with the language barrier, if I hit the ground running hard when I arrive? I'm open to any and all sorts of work!

What should I be prepared for? What advice do you all have to share?

I go to visit every couple of years so I am familiar with the french speaking part of the country, the high cost of living, etc. I reached out to the Swiss consulate and they basically advised that I need to arrive before they can begin assisting to arrange language lessons/job scouting/etc. What should I be doing now to make this transition as smooth as possible?

I appreciate any commentary or direction that could help me out with this transition and looking forward to reading your replies!

Kind regards,
dunoJ
Despite being Swiss, with no local language knowledge you may find it very difficult, think 6 months for a job (if you're lucky).

All depends what your qualification is in whether you find a job easily or not.

Why would the Swiss Consulate assist a Swiss citizen in Switzerland ?

You'll find it VERY different from the US perspective
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Old 09.09.2016, 10:16
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

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Despite being Swiss, with no local language knowledge you may find it very difficult, think 6 months for a job (if you're lucky).

All depends what your qualification is in whether you find a job easily or not.

Why would the Swiss Consulate assist a Swiss citizen in Switzerland ?

You'll find it VERY different from the US perspective
Thanks for your reply. To clarify- the Swiss consulate would not directly assist me, they advised that the commune d'origine would be able to assist with my transition into Swiss society upon arrival.

So I'm getting the impression from your post that English only speaking jobs are very difficult to come by. This is not the first time I've heard this and I appreciate the honesty. Nevertheless, it is still a challenge I will have to face and overcome. Any additional insight is very much welcomed

Could you expand on the perspective difference that you mentioned?
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Old 09.09.2016, 10:46
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

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Well folks, the time has come in my life where I am in need of an adventure, a change of lifestyle, and new experience. I am a dual Swiss/US citizen, and have spent the last 20 years of my life in the states (and I'm 24 years old for reference ) I've put a lot of though into this - it's been a long time coming!

I decided that I am going to purchase a one way ticket to Geneva, leaving in 90 days, to begin a new life in the country that I am originally from. I have a bachelors degree in a science field and I am a very determined, hard working individual. I have some family in Switzerland, however I do not want depend on them to survive, I want to get on my feet on my own once I arrive.

So. . .am I crazy for doing this? How big of a challenge will I face? I will come equipped with a month or two of living expenses to support myself while I look for work. What's it like finding a job as an english-only speaker? Is it possible to get some sort of income flowing, with the language barrier, if I hit the ground running hard when I arrive? I'm open to any and all sorts of work!

What should I be prepared for? What advice do you all have to share?

I go to visit every couple of years so I am familiar with the french speaking part of the country, the high cost of living, etc. I reached out to the Swiss consulate and they basically advised that I need to arrive before they can begin assisting to arrange language lessons/job scouting/etc. What should I be doing now to make this transition as smooth as possible?

I appreciate any commentary or direction that could help me out with this transition and looking forward to reading your replies!

Kind regards,
dunoJ
There are worse times of life than the mid '20s to do crazy things.

Be aware that this is different from packing your stuff in the car and moving to Iowa, or Sarnia, or even Thunder Bay.

Your Swiss family in the States, Switzerland, and even your vacations here will have revealed various things about Switzerland. Not that these are untrue, but they relate to a Switzerland that is a construction.

There are a few things that you need to be aware of:

Language is crucial. If you can't communicate with those around you, you won't be able to see Switzerland as "home". Home is about a lot more than a physical place.

Stop thinking of Michigan as "home", think of it as where you came from. Drop the idea of "X is better back home" and substitute "X is different back home". "X" may very well be better "back home", this is of no use to you if you intend to be happy here. (It is tremendously effective if your aim is to be unhappy, but this has nothing to do with Switzerland.)

The job market is a lot more formal than in the US, and your BSC will probably not be seen as equivalent to a local one.

2 months living cost is a bit too optimistic, in my opinion, it will give you just enough time to get your bearings approximately and make a start on the language. Most people hit a wall at 3-6 months when it sinks in that the population really does speak a different language, the food is different, and they miss Cheesies. If you arrive tomorrow you would be hitting the wall just around Christmas time.

I deliberately planned my arrival for March, so that I would have the weather, and the fact that Christmas was a long way off on my side.

When I came, a one way ticket was a LOT more expensive than a 3 month one. I took a 3 Month one, part of the rational being that if I arrived and felt after 3 months that I could not possibly survive here I could just take the return flight and chalk it up to experience.

I came for a relationship. Until we married we kept a separate account, in my name, with enough money to cover a flight home, so that if we had a mother of a blowup and the relationship ended I would have the means to escape. The relationship did indeed end, many years later, and I chose to stay.

There are all kinds of soft factors that will affect your experience one way or another. Get these on your radar and if you can't eliminate the bigger risks, at least be aware that they are there.

Bring an open mind, and lots of Cheesies.
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Last edited by JagWaugh; 09.09.2016 at 10:54. Reason: minor grammar
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Old 09.09.2016, 11:43
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

One more thing. Geneva is crazy expensive, and flats are really difficult to come by. If you dont have a place to stay when you arrive, the easiest is to stay in a serviced flat, and that can easily cost 2k a month. Not including food mind you!

Also, finding somewhere of your own without a job is going to be difficult. The swiss passport doesnt make things better in this case
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Old 09.09.2016, 11:54
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

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Thanks for your reply. To clarify- the Swiss consulate would not directly assist me, they advised that the commune d'origine would be able to assist with my transition into Swiss society upon arrival.

So I'm getting the impression from your post that English only speaking jobs are very difficult to come by. This is not the first time I've heard this and I appreciate the honesty. Nevertheless, it is still a challenge I will have to face and overcome. Any additional insight is very much welcomed

Could you expand on the perspective difference that you mentioned?
-If you don't speak French, I imagine you'll be shit out of luck.

-A month or two of living expenses? Be forewarned that housing is competitive - difficult to come by and generally requires equivalent of 3 months rent as a deposit. As stated in a previous post, you'll be lucky to find a job within 6 months. It often takes local Swiss, with local connections, local language, local qualifications/education longer than this to find a job.

-How do you expect the commune d'origine to assist you? Get you a flat, teach you the language, find you a job? Don't expect them to do anything for you-because they likely won't. I know a UK/Swiss who moved back here with little money, a dependant spouse & infant - and they wouldn't help with even a language class. If you end up on social welfare, which I guess you would be eligible for if you go broke, it pays something around CHF 1000/month. Poverty level is figured at around 2200/month.

But hey- you're young, life is short, and there's lots to see and do in this world. Maybe you'll make it and prosper, who knows. Even in a worst case scenario, you probably won't be homeless or starving, just broke and miserable. Best to ensure you have $1000 set aside for an emergency flight if you need it, though.

Bonne chance
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Old 09.09.2016, 11:55
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

At 24 you can never do wrong taking a lifestyle change and an adventure . You're not crazy for trying, far from it. You'll be better with an international experience at 28.

I can't offer much more advice except that with only 2 months worth of living expenses I would find it risky... I takes time to find a place, get a job, get some steady income. It's not impossible but it would not hurt to have extend your backup for a longer period

One option would be to go for some more studies - try some additional university courses/masters/etc. This may give you more time to settle in and at the same time beef up your CV and local knowledge.

I'm not sure if the commune will offer some social help as you are swiss - or how the funding situation would be if you were to go to university for instance. But worth looking into
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Old 09.09.2016, 12:03
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

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At 24 you can never do wrong taking a lifestyle change and an adventure . You're not crazy for trying, far from it. You'll be better with an international experience at 28.

I can't offer much more advice except that with only 2 months worth of living expenses I would find it risky... I takes time to find a place, get a job, get some steady income. It's not impossible but it would not hurt to have extend your backup for a longer period

One option would be to go for some more studies - try some additional university courses/masters/etc. This may give you more time to settle in and at the same time beef up your CV and local knowledge.

I'm not sure if the commune will offer some social help as you are swiss - or how the funding situation would be if you were to go to university for instance. But worth looking into
I agree. You are not crazy to try however expecting to find something within 2 months is a little optermistic so perhaps extend your expectations and come with funds to cover you for a longer time.

English only speaking jobs are out there - it took me around 4 months to find one and I've been told that was quick, however that was in Zurich and not Geneva.

Good luck with what you decide.
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Old 09.09.2016, 14:04
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

If you have a good uni degree, try to apply for a master course and ask for a swiss scholarship. But the timing might be a bit off because the new semester starts in 10 days.
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Old 09.09.2016, 14:18
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Re: One Way Ticket To Geneva

Wow, thank you everyone for the responses! I will reply specifically to each once I get some time today.

I will say - for housing my plan is to sublet a room in a shared flat. I'm a member of a few groups on Facebook that are always posting temporary rooms for rent in the range of 700-1000 chf/month. Hoping I can arrange accommodation that way.
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