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  #41  
Old 14.09.2011, 14:51
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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Anyone else with children in Zug schools? .. is it true they do only Swiss German for the first 2 years of kindergarten? Baselland seems quite behind on this, but even here they are doing more and more German in kindergarten with the option now for the "German as a second language" special classes being offered just in German (in our Gemeinde at any rate). And anyway, living in CH, I would argue that the local language is rather important ...
They only teach Swiss German in Kindergarten. I was told they start teaching English from Grade 2 or 3 in Zug when I spoke to the admissions department earlier this year. I'm hoping they will change this before I have to decide about schools for next August. Currently my son is 5 and is in a bi-lingual Kindergarten to learn both languages. I see that English is so important for maths - he always switches back into English.
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  #42  
Old 14.09.2011, 14:54
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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In response to question by ecb:

www.thelocal.ch/202/20110517/
But that article is about Zurich, not Zug, or did I miss something? I think every canton must be different, no? Here in NW we also have kindergarten in Swiss-German, but with High-German lessons for non-native speakers (that is to say, foreigners - not non-native High-German speakers cos that would be virtually everyone!) Our son's High German lessons are 45 minutes twice a week. It hasn't been a problem at all, the teacher speaks High German to us anyway and it's better for the kids to learn Swiss dialect so they fit in locally.
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  #43  
Old 14.09.2011, 15:34
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Thanks, Swissconnors, you just helped make my point. Nidwalden isn't exactly the canton with the largest cities, and you have assistance for non Swiss German speakers.

Historically, kindergarten has always been taught in Swiss German. The whole debate of introducing German in kindergarten is only recent (won't go into whys and where fors since that will only spark a debate in itself which may well have already been discussed somehwere else on Englishforum). In some cantons it has come to the point where it was put to a vote which came out largely in favor of Swiss German.

In many places, English is introduced in second grade as the first foreign language.
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Old 15.09.2011, 16:25
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

That's true Swissmama, although we do have a lot of expats here because of Pilatus Flugzeugwerke (main employer in the canton, I believe). But certainly not as many as Zug!
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Old 15.09.2011, 17:48
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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But yes, you do need to figure out Swiss German if you do the "go local" option. Generally speaking, a 5 year old will have that worked out in no time, .
As an English family that has lived in Switzerland with a couple of small children (ages 2 to 5) don't expect too much on the bilingual abilities of your offspring. Yes, some kids manage to pick up languages easily and fit in with local kids, whereas others struggle. We put our eldest into the local school (Vaud) as we thought that would be best for his language, enable him to make local friends etc, but he wasn't a natural at the language, didn't make friends and hated it.

My brother had a similar experience with his children in Bosnia.
Maybe it is just our genes, but not every child finds it easy to resettle in a different country.

In my opinion, it is the children that make moving abroad difficult. When we did it before we had children it was easy.
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Old 15.09.2011, 19:56
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

It seems to me there are a few people who still think that moving to Switzerland (or other places "on the continent" really) is an "expat" assignment of some sort where you need special arrangements and companies should pay for your kids to go to international schools and make up the cash needed to live in some sprawling suburb. I don't mean on this thread necessarily. But keep that in mind when you are reading around the forum. With the free movement agreements, expat assignments are really few and far between these days.

The fact is that you are accepting (or not) a local contract. The same one that is offered to Swiss employees. That means CHF110K is a perfectly acceptable salary to live a comfortable Swiss life, ie apartment life like 70% of the Swiss, local schools like 90% of the Swiss, stay at home moms like 50% of the Swiss families, etc. etc.

If you, because you are foreign, think you need to live the same life you lived at home and want to spend extra for those things that's up to you. If you want to import London, life will cost you more. And let's not forget London is a world mega international urban city. Zug is a tiny town. You'll never get the variety, vibrancy, international-ity (!) you have in London.

Think of it this way, you are trading the fast lane in a country you know for the country road in one that you don't. That in itself can be a big shocker for a lot of people, especially for the "training spouse" who is often isolated at home with the kids.
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  #47  
Old 15.09.2011, 20:24
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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It seems to me there are a few people who still think that moving to Switzerland (or other places "on the continent" really) is an "expat" assignment of some sort where you need special arrangements and companies should pay for your kids to go to international schools and make up the cash needed to live in some sprawling suburb. I don't mean on this thread necessarily. But keep that in mind when you are reading around the forum. With the free movement agreements, expat assignments are really few and far between these days.

The fact is that you are accepting (or not) a local contract. The same one that is offered to Swiss employees. That means CHF110K is a perfectly acceptable salary to live a comfortable Swiss life, ie apartment life like 70% of the Swiss, local schools like 90% of the Swiss, stay at home moms like 50% of the Swiss families, etc. etc.

If you, because you are foreign, think you need to live the same life you lived at home and want to spend extra for those things that's up to you. If you want to import London, life will cost you more. And let's not forget London is a world mega international urban city. Zug is a tiny town. You'll never get the variety, vibrancy, international-ity (!) you have in London.

Think of it this way, you are trading the fast lane in a country you know for the country road in one that you don't. That in itself can be a big shocker for a lot of people, especially for the "training spouse" who is often isolated at home with the kids.
Very well said. Indeed, if you are lucky enough to be offered an "expat" contract, you will have the luxury of demanding whatever you think is right. Otherwise, it will be a local contract, and the locals would be perfectly happy with CHF110K. And look at the quality of life, especially for a family with children!
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  #48  
Old 15.09.2011, 21:11
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

I would say that 110k in Zug is going to be quite tricky, especially first off with no savings. Doable if you scour the forum, and come with about 15k chf min to set up up shop. Have the others that replied lived recently in Zug with 2 kids on 110k, I think not. There are paper articles about local families Zug born and bred moving out because they can't afford it. Every month I seem to be hit by One Off costs of a few hundred that I didn't expect.

You really want that to be 13 months, plus a decent pension from a big company like UBS, CS, Roche whatever. I would forget about a car to start with unless you fix it yourself. That will cost another 150chf to park it anyway, or 60chf in the street once you have a permit. Your wife won't be able to get a job for about 6 years, because of schools and child care. State schools can be excellent. Private schools not doable unless you work for one anyway. A decent apartment for a family of 4 will be 3Kchf plus bills, plus 7Kchf deposit. You will need clothes and activities for kids, which cost superficially little, but all add up.

If you lived in Neuheim, an apartment in a farm house, it is doable with a car, but your wife would go nuts if she stayed there 24/7, wonderful though it is, you can have too much of a good thing. If she drove and you had a motorbike, that could work out really well.

It does depend on the job though. If you are working in a private school, with subsidised accommodation, free meals, free schooling for your kids, then that is another matter. Could be a fantastic offer.

I don't regret moving, and think it is worth lowering your expectations and standard of living for the first 2 years to come over.
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Old 15.09.2011, 21:22
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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They only teach Swiss German in Kindergarten. I was told they start teaching English from Grade 2 or 3 in Zug when I spoke to the admissions department earlier this year. I'm hoping they will change this before I have to decide about schools for next August. Currently my son is 5 and is in a bi-lingual Kindergarten to learn both languages. I see that English is so important for maths - he always switches back into English.
The kindergarten has extra German classes for English only speaking kids. Plus there are usually a few bilingual kids there to help out, and the teachers all speak some English. Extra German glasses for kids are available outside school, not too expensive.
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Old 15.09.2011, 22:05
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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The kindergarten has extra German classes for English only speaking kids. Plus there are usually a few bilingual kids there to help out, and the teachers all speak some English. Extra German glasses for kids are available outside school, not too expensive.
We'd be looking for extra English lessons since they miss 2-3 crucial years of not teaching English in school.
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  #51  
Old 15.09.2011, 22:15
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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We'd be looking for extra English lessons since they miss 2-3 crucial years of not teaching English in school.
And presumeably those English classes are English for non native speakers? In which case, it is not really appropriate for native speakers. My son (who is bilingual French/English) has started French at his primary school this year. Last week he asked me to speak to the teacher because he was embarassed to tell her she was telling them something wrong .. "comment tu t'appelles?" was what she was teaching them instead of "comment t'appelles tu?"

But it is great in Zug that they seem to get German as a second language in German at Kindergarten level - my son got 2 years of Swiss German for these classes, and given that he was spending the rest of the week in a totally Swiss German environment in the kindergarten class, I felt it was a bit of a wasted opportunity.
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Old 15.09.2011, 22:55
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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There are paper articles about local families Zug born and bred moving out because they can't afford it.
That's because they are on 1/2 that salary.

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And presumeably those English classes are English for non native speakers? In which case, it is not really appropriate for native speakers. My son (who is bilingual French/English) has started French at his primary school this year. Last week he asked me to speak to the teacher because he was embarassed to tell her she was telling them something wrong .. "comment tu t'appelles?" was what she was teaching them instead of "comment t'appelles tu?"
So what did you tell your son?
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Old 15.09.2011, 23:08
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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That's because they are on 1/2 that salary.
In that same article I think I remember reading that one ladies' husband was a carpenter and earned around 55k.
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  #54  
Old 15.09.2011, 23:10
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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We'd be looking for extra English lessons since they miss 2-3 crucial years of not teaching English in school.
Their English is definitely suffering at this point. Not sure how crucial those years are though. There are so many nice regional accents in the UK, plus cult movies, from Mary Poppins to The Italian Job, relatives "Up North" to package them off to in exchange for "Skiing holidays" here on Zuggerberg, computer manuals, books. Perhaps we should persuade Jule Andrews to open an English Language school here. Otherwise I would suspect the quality of English lessons available locally. The English teachers in schools make mistakes in the written work. But that happens in the UK these days!
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Old 15.09.2011, 23:15
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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Their English is definitely suffering at this point. Not sure how crucial those years are though. There are so many nice regional accents in the UK, plus cult movies, from Mary Poppins to The Italian Job, relatives "Up North" to package them off to in exchange for "Skiing holidays" here on Zuggerberg, computer manuals, books. Perhaps we should persuade Jule Andrews to open an English Language school here. Otherwise I would suspect the quality of English lessons available locally.
Look at English lessons online, we're going to do that for the kids (online Dutch then). Our focus will be on spelling. Even if they stop speaking Dutch like they did in the US they will pick that up very quickly if they end up in an all Dutch environment, it's the spelling I am worried about.
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Old 15.09.2011, 23:18
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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So what did you tell your son?
I told him to stay quiet and that I would not do his dirty work for him .. and took the chance to lecture him (again) that not everyone has the luck to be fluent in 4 languages (due to accident of birth I might add ..) by the age of 8 and that a little tolerance on his part is required .. (oh then I checked that he really did know how to ask what is your name in French as Grandmere would be onto us if she heard ..)
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Old 15.09.2011, 23:47
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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My son (who is bilingual French/English) has started French at his primary school this year. Last week he asked me to speak to the teacher because he was embarassed to tell her she was telling them something wrong .. "comment tu t'appelles?" was what she was teaching them instead of "comment t'appelles tu?"
Apologies to the OP for going wildly off topic (and turning this into a language query), but 'Comment tu t'appelles?' is exactly what I have been taught recently at a Migros French for absolute beginners class....
Possibly one of those subtle differences between 'French' French and 'Swiss' French??
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Old 15.09.2011, 23:55
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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I told him to stay quiet and that I would not do his dirty work for him .. and took the chance to lecture him (again) that not everyone has the luck to be fluent in 4 languages (due to accident of birth I might add ..) by the age of 8 and that a little tolerance on his part is required .. (oh then I checked that he really did know how to ask what is your name in French as Grandmere would be onto us if she heard ..)
Oh, I was hoping you would have told him that both* are acceptable and the there is more than one way to say the same thing.

As well as "tu t'appelle comment?"

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Apologies to the OP for going wildly off topic (and turning this into a language query), but 'Comment tu t'appelles?' is exactly what I have been taught recently at a Migros French for absolute beginners class....
Possibly one of those subtle differences between 'French' French and 'Swiss' French??
No. It's the same thing.
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Old 16.09.2011, 01:57
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

For the benefit of the OP I'd re-iterate the health insurance point made in a few posts.

Health insurance is compulsory for all members of the family and has an inflation rate all of its own each year.

Costs can be seen by logging into comparis.ch

Expect to pay 400-800 a month or more depending on the level of cover required.

Whereas your employer will cover you for accidents, you may need to insure your family in addition to basic health coverage, dental, and optionally semi-private for unlimited cover.

One advantage is that for the basic minimum coverage, you can't be refused cover regardless of previous health issues. Only additional optional complementary coverage may be subject to health history, but this won't affect basic cover eligibility. Naturally EU rules won't apply.

Finally when considering your package, ask clearly on the pension contributions your employer will make to your occupational pension, and what match you might be expected to make. Participation is normally compulsory, but some employers make both contributions. A sample salary statement as part of the offer normally clarifies this.

Good luck with the decision!
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Old 16.09.2011, 07:43
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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Apologies to the OP for going wildly off topic (and turning this into a language query), but 'Comment tu t'appelles?' is exactly what I have been taught recently at a Migros French for absolute beginners class....
Possibly one of those subtle differences between 'French' French and 'Swiss' French??
OK for us oldies who learnt our French in France at school, it is not the same ... but it is perfectly possible that this is one of the French/Swiss French distinctions as there do seem to be quite a few ... and of course in spoken language, lots of variations are tolerated that are not totally correct.

I think the fact that you are doing the course and have learnt how to ask this question is far more important In German, I too am just pleased to make myself understood too (and that is hard going ..)
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