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Old 18.05.2006, 10:33
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Why I HATE Switzerland.

I've been here just over a year and I still can't speak the language, don't have a job, and live over 2 hours from anywhere! Currently we are living with my wife's dad in Brig in the canton of Wallis. My wife is going to the university and working part time, our only income. She is making 20 swiss francs an hour, which here is pathetic. I am at home with her dad everyday and our 11 month old daughter. I'm going crazy, literally. We can't find anyone to rent us an apartment around Bern, Basel, Zurich, Solothurn, etc. any central hub really, that's a 1-2 room cause they all say it's too small even though we are currently in an 11 m square room. We only have about 500 francs for it so can't go bigger. Anyways, today was the first time I snapped and got violent tendencies, I didn't hit anyone, but I attacked the wall and think I broke my hand. I don't know what to do anymore. I'm at my wits end. I've tried applying for teaching, have no experience, tried applying for cooking and no agency wants to help me, and have 5 years of sales experience, but can't prove it, because the company I worked for in the states, Ames went bankrupt. I'm seriously thinking they would be better off without my LOSER butt and contemplating going back to the states where I can talk to people and don't feel so stupid and isolated. Any advice?
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Old 18.05.2006, 11:04
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Have you discussed this with your wife? It seems that you've moved from the US with only a plan to use her folks as a stepping-stone and that she would go to university?

Have you been to the local job centre? What permit do you have? Also agencies such as Adecco might be able to help you with that first step - but it sounds like you would have to travel.

What's the tourism industry like in your area? I think there are ski/wellness/other businesses where the language should not be too much of a barrier as there will be many non German-speaking visitors?

Don't get too down, you need a checklist of things to do, see, places to visit and ask for advice or jobs.....focus - because your family needs you!
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Old 18.05.2006, 12:17
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Sounds like a very sub-optimal situation! But you've come to the right place - at the very least you can get some things off your chest.

I know you've probably been told this before - but at least beginning to make an effort with German will make a world of difference. I know the odds are stacked against you having to look after the child etc, but you really don't have much choice but to try!

What are your hobbies? Are there any clubs in the area where you could go to find people with similiar interests?

I see another stumbling block here is your location. This makes it very hard to do anything, and the dialect in Wallis is such that other people in the country can't understand anything.

If your budget is 500 francs per month for accomodation then you certainly won't get anything in Zurich!

Have you tried going to the Gemeinde (with your wife) and talking to them about your problems? Are you eligible for any social assistance, and maybe you could talk to their social worker? What about registering with the unemployment office - I know they won't shower you with jobs, but they might send you on a German course.

Jack and BaccusWines (Ed) are both on this forum and are in the food industry, maybe they can offer some advice as well?
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Old 18.05.2006, 14:11
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

I understand to some degree how you feel, I was not in an unsimilar position when I first arrived. My wife had a low paying job, I was unemployed and we were living with her parents who were quite poor. On the other hand, we have no children.

If you are in Brig, as stupid as it may sound, you might be better off learning French. There are a lot of english-speaking companies in Lausanne, which correct me if I am wrong is not that far by train from there.

Hitting walls and damaging your hand are not going to work. Language is critical here, I think that has got to be your first step. Practice with your father-in-law.
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Old 18.05.2006, 17:53
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Basically, gurutalon, you have received good ideas from the others. I can only understand your situation, would drive me stir-crazy as well. But the walls didn't put you where you are, so don't punish them.

Communications is number one. Remember also, the squeeky wheel gets the oil.

Good luck, if you need assistance, let me know... and take care of your hand!
Scott
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Old 18.05.2006, 18:08
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

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Jack and BaccusWines (Ed) are both on this forum and are in the food industry, maybe they can offer some advice as well?
I definitely agree with everything the other members have so far offered. It is a difficult situation for sure, but it is not a mountain that can not be climbed! Language is a huge barrier - it can create a terrible sense of isolation. Perhaps this should be your first challenge... Try visiting a school and seeing if they can help you out, or as someone else pointed out...visit your local government office and see if they will put you in school! As for work... Canton Wallis has the most restaurants per person in all of Switzerland (last time I checked it was something like one restaurant for every 25 residents). These restaurants serve a tourist industry, and they are always looking for help. Have you tried knocking on doors - literally? You might be surprised as to what will open up for you. Try going to the larger hotel/restaurants first, and don't expect a dream job. If you have the skills in the kitchen, you will move up rapidly... If you don't like knocking on doors, then try writing letters and sending them directly to the chef. The best paper to look in for a job is the Hotel Tourismus...it comes out every Thursday, but you will need some German to navigate the ads. The challenge is yours...no one will fix the problem for you. As Mark pointed out, though, this is an excellent forum to get a bit of feedback...the rest is up to you!

good luck,
Jack
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Old 18.05.2006, 18:39
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Just thought I'd offer a positive note (tongue-in-cheek) - at least your phone isn't tapped here
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Old 18.05.2006, 19:33
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

We have tried social services, but the ones in her town won't help pay for anything out of that town and the ones in Bern, where she wants to be, won't help, cause we are not registered there. I have a B permit. I didn't really have plans moving here, because I assumed that with an English Lit. degree I couldn't do much and wanted to get a cook job when I learned the language, but I also assumed learning it would take me less than 6 monthes. The employment office in town lists many restaurants, like you claimed, but they all have the requirement of Swiss deutcsh mutter sprechen, which is not me by a long shot. I did 4 weeks intensive in Zurich and can get by in present tense, but that is about it. Also my cooking experience is 3 and 1/2 years in a diner, so I don't think that will help much. I found an English bookstore in Bern and hope that if I keep my eyes peeled a postion will open and I can use my English Lit. and sales exp. to get it.
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Old 21.06.2006, 12:47
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Hi there !

Hey, life here in Europe is totally different from life in the US. Don't compare them ! There are pros and cons in both sides of the ocean.

It is a shame, though, that you are in a foreign country for 1 year, sitting at home and yet, do not speak the language ! Are you learning it ? do you want to learn it ???? you do have to sit down and study it ! when I arrived here, I immediately bought cds with books and was studying 4 hs a day ! Three months later, I was able to do simple job interview speaking some basic German, endless opportunities started to land into my email box ! I am here since 1995 and simply love it. You are lucky that you have a roof and food for free - I was alone, had to pay for a cheap room and buy cheap food for a number of months !

Keep applying as an English instructor - that's your best shot for a better wage. Have no experience is not an excuse. I did not have any experience and was hired in 3 different places (English school, supermarket and hotel kitchen) plus was teaching private classes for kids. Put an add at the local newspaper - you've got to move your butt, baby, because it won't happen if you ain't do a thing.

Don't forget that you are not in the US - you are the one who has to adapt to your life in another country, not them !

hugs,

Robyn
ps: if the worst happens, there are always possibilities to work from home for some US company providing that you have an internet connection - and where home is, it really does not make any difference. Good luck.
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Old 13.07.2006, 21:38
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Hi, gurutalon

How are you? Have you been able to improve your situation? Has any of the advice you received helped you? I do hope so. Some of us talked about your miserable situation, so I just wanted to let you know that.

Enjoy the sunshine
Britta
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Old 15.07.2006, 12:20
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Yeah, things have gotten a little better, my wife is working part time, and even though where she works is 2 and 1/2 hrs. away and she hasnīt worked in 2 weeks cause of lack of contracts it is extra money. Also her dad sold his run down house in the middle of nowhere, he only got about 1/2 of itīs value, but we get a small portion of it,so that helps and in Sept. we are moving to Bern. So until then I am waiting til Bern and hope to find something there.
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Old 16.07.2006, 23:31
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Hi there

i tried to contact you through private mesaging, but don t know if it worked out or not..

I have friends working as English teachers in Basel area and heard that they lost some teachers due to relocation etc..

dont know if it might be interesting for you or not, but might be worth a try..

let me know what you think and we can sort out the contact detsils etc

cheers
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Old 17.07.2006, 17:04
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

I hope you are not getting too much advice... Here's my bit.

There cannot be too many native english speakers in your area, and with a degree in English literature TEFL may be a good initial career for you while you learn the language.

Schools will , in the most part, insist upon a CELTA qualification (ask me later when you are at that bridge), but in the meantime why not try teaching conversation classes to intermediate level Swiss. I am sure there cannot be a lot of competition where you live. You could put signs up in supermarkets etc. A qualified teacher can charge about 80chf an hour in the cities, so I imagine 40 might be considered a bargain.

Any teaching experience you acquire prior to a course will be invaluable. Although the CELTA is a very worthwhile course, you really only learn by doing. So why not give it a try?

Good luck!
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Old 12.06.2007, 15:53
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

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Yeah, things have gotten a little better, my wife is working part time, and even though where she works is 2 and 1/2 hrs. away and she hasnīt worked in 2 weeks cause of lack of contracts it is extra money. Also her dad sold his run down house in the middle of nowhere, he only got about 1/2 of itīs value, but we get a small portion of it,so that helps and in Sept. we are moving to Bern. So until then I am waiting til Bern and hope to find something there.
Hi gurutalon,

I think the language teaching option might indeed be a good option, especially once you move to Bern. Try applying at Berlitz (http://www.berlitz.ch/front_content.php?lang=3&idcat=62) first. They have the crappiest pay rate (26.50CHF or so per 45min lesson) by comparison, but they donīt require any special teaching quals or experience and they put you through a free Berlitz methodology training course before you start.

You poss wonīt get loads of classes to start with (maybe a couple a week, if at all, as and when they need you) but once you get in to it and they learn that youīre available any time and do the job well, they start calling you lots.

It worked for me and I didnīt have a working permit yet, so I hope it helps you too!

Meanwhile all the best to you and your family.
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Old 12.06.2007, 15:55
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

puddy, I think gurutalon's gone home mate
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Old 05.08.2006, 14:32
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Quote:
Any advice?
I've been here for about 6 years now. Up until this year, I was working all over the place, trying to make ends meet. I'd never had so many jobs in my life since moving here! I've done : private English lessons (quick and easy way to make money), cleaning (don't need the language), worked on the vinyards (don't really need the language), worked in a shop, posed for art classes!, babysitting, maman de jour... I can't even remember everything I've done since being here...

I now have 2 jobs! (bit of a workaholic I know...). I work at the cinéma and I'm also an independent insurance advisor.

What I'm trying to say is, just keep going. You will find something you enjoy. Unfortunately, experience and foreign qualifications don't seem to count much over here. I just never gave up.

I also never knew any English people over here for at least my first 3 years. I couldn't speak French when I got here, never had any lessons, and am now fluent. It's not easy at the beginning, but it is possible.

I know Brig, and I know it's in the middle of nowhere, lol. It literally is at the end of the line :P (train Genčve - Brig)

Maybe you could try in Sion? It seems to be slightly more happening.
I would suggest learning French too. It really does help.

Good luck

Jenny
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Old 05.08.2006, 20:39
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

More big changes. My wifeīs part time job was temp and the time ran out and she decided not to stay. It was good at first, but after the first month or so she kept having to call every week to check and see if they needed her in. They didnīt have enough buisiness to keep her going, so she quit and now I am paying what is the last of our money in a last ditch attempt for a job. I am going to London for a month to do the CELTA course. I only hope that it all pays out when said and done, because this is a gamble and I REALLY donīt want to go back to the states to work for minimum wage. I hate the slow progression of language here, but have kind of warmed up to a lot of the other things and made a few friends, so I am really hoping it works out and if I can get in teaching English when done than the language can take itsītime coming and I wonīt care.
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Old 07.08.2006, 20:16
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Hi Gurutalon,

I don't mean to pry or anything, but I'd like to offer you something I wish someone would have offered me when I was going through a bad patch here - simply someone who would listen. If you want to talk, you're welcome to contact me.

Try to cheer up and don't do anything rash, alright?


-Phos
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Old 11.08.2006, 18:01
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Hey Gurutalon,
Did you ever complete that CELTA course'? I'm interested in doing it, too. But how are are you doing? Are things better? I'm hoping to hear that you did the CELTA exam and are now working somewhere! Fill us in!

Elle
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Old 11.08.2006, 20:58
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Havenīt started it yet. I am enrolled and I go the 27th of August until the 24th of September. I will keep you posted.
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