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Old 21.07.2014, 15:59
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InShan InShan is offline
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Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??

I did the move Sydney to Zurich, my husband is non-Swiss but was resident in Europe already (in Germany) and had good German skills. I would say my husband and I have both loved our time (six years in October) here, for the following reasons:

1. We have taken advantage of our time here and have spent atleast one weekend every month travelling within Europe. We have also travelled extensively outside Switzerland - India, Mexico, North America, South America, North Africa etc. If you plan in advance, travel from here is pretty affordable.

2. We saved a lot, compared to what we would've been able to in Australia, given the similar cost of living, and increase in tax. However the key factors there have been both of us working, as well as budgeting and aggressive goal setting. We've also cut back in places after examining the costs and other factors such as health, and satisfaction with the services we've received (frequency of eating out, having a cleaner etc)

3. Switzerland has been a boon to us career wise. Both of us have managed to work for excellent organisations where we are both well treated, as well as well developed. Six years into our lives here and we are MUCH more developed than we would have been in Australia. Organisations here are much more willing to take a chance on junior staff than in Australia. However, I would also say we are aggressive when it comes to this and were both very lucky in our very supportive managers.

4. The ability to learn new languages- my German is now passable (sufficient to understand business conversation and occasionally contribute) and my husband has now got fairly business fluent French also. If I had school age children, this factor alone would make me want to move somewhere outside Australia, to develop fluency in another language in my child.

On the con side, we are moving back at year end (with a five year window to reassess our long term plan) for a few reasons:

1. We are having a baby shortly, and have zero family support here. Not that we need a 24/7 caregiver but the option of having siblings and parents around who would be delighted to spend time with our kid is pretty lovely. So is the fact that she will have cousins she can grow up with.

2. Being a mother here from everything I've heard is hard. The system is set up so that atleast one parent is strongly encouraged to be part time employed or a full time stay at home parent. I won't say more here, as I am not the voice of experience- but I'm sure others can elaborate or correct me if they disagree.
Day care is super expensive, and can be very difficult to organise (but I know it is in Australia also)

3. Might be just my experience, but in six years I have managed to make so few Swiss friends. I have a lot of friends who are like me, expats- even the ones that do speak fluent swiss german (the Swiss raised outside Switzerland) seem to have more expat friends than swiss friends. Its an insular place, where the friends you have are most of the time the people you grew up with. That's lovely, and charming but also can be very lonely and difficult.

4. The work/life balance. For me, 50 something work weeks, time during weekends etc is not unusual at all. This was something I loved while being just the two of us, but with a miniscule scrap of humanity dependent on us, having more reasonable expectations from work is extremely important. This again though might just be us.

I would say really perform an assessment of affordability for you (given your circumstances):
- whether you'd like your kids to attend local school or international school
- whether you'd like to own a car or use public transport
- what your child care costs/medical insurance costs etc are and if they'll be hugely different to what your current arrangements are

Socially:
- How well will you adjust without friends etc while you make some
- How important your environment is for you (Zurich is small compared to Sydney... I wouldn't have coped in Wil)
- What kind of activities do you and your kids enjoy? Travel? Surfing? Skiing?

Just thoughts off the top of my head. If there's anything more specific I can help with, feel free to PM!

I.
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