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Old 17.12.2011, 19:50
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London v. Zurich

Hey Everyone,

I'm 25 and from the states, and I've recently been offered two jobs in the accounting field, one in London and one in Zurich.

I'm single and the big concern I have about Zurich is how will the transition be? Since I'm basically come over alone, I'd love to know from someone else around my age found the transition to be. I know the first few months are going to be tough, and I think they would be in London also. But have you found yourself able to make friends here and feel like your fitting in? From what I've read in the forum here, it seems like it is definitely going to be difficult to make Swiss friends, but I'm hoping that it's easier to meet other expats - definitely why I'm hitting up this forum

I've been to Switzerland several time for vacation, and I really do love the country, and I love the outdoors and hiking. But that was only for a few weeks and this will be for a few years. So, I'd really like to hear any experiences you guys can share about your transition to moving to Switzerland and how you've found it to be. Since I'm a single guy, this is the best time for me to do an international rotation, but that also comes with the drawback of being alone and not having a support network.

The money is obviously more in Switzerland, even after COL is compared, so my only hesitation is - will I like it?

Really look forward to hearing you thoughts and experiences, and if I do make it over there, hopefully making some friends with you guys as well.

Dave
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Old 17.12.2011, 21:50
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Re: London v. Zurich

London and Zurich are two very diferent cities. What are your priorities?
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Old 17.12.2011, 23:54
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Re: London v. Zurich

I probably should have named thread title different. Im notpretty really looking tofor compare to cities. I just wanted to get other peoples experiences so I can make see what the transition will be like.

Im pretty sure id like London, given that its a really lively city. Im really going overseas to expand my career, and it will most likely only be about two years. During that time I defintiely want to travel and learn a new culture and given Zurich's central location, I think it will be great. But im nervous about the "culture shock" and would appreciate any inputs you guys have.

Thanks,

David
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Old 17.12.2011, 23:57
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Re: London v. Zurich

for 2 years, i'd go for zurich. ok, it's not as fun as london, but you can quickly integrate into an expat lifestyle.

london isn't that easy to get into and you get the most out of if if you are there for a long time and get to know its quirks.
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Old 18.12.2011, 00:53
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Re: London v. Zurich

Hi Dave, I am 26 and will be making the move to Zurich alone on new years day. I am moving from the UK.

I too have had the same concerns as you with integrating well socially etc. one bonus is that I already know many people within my own company who I will be working with in Zurich and will also help In getting used to life out there.

Even so, it is still daunting, I have concerns about the friendliness of people and becoming part of a good social network

For me though, the possible bonuses outweigh the possible negatives. There's so much on offer out there, with the outdoors being a big pull for me, the mountains, skiing, hiking, the lake and the close proximity to many other cultures. I am also looking to learn German so another big bonus with being immersed in a German culture.

If the worst does happen and I find myself unhappy then I can always come back, but I could never have not taken an opportunity such as this to work in a new culture with everything Switzerland has to offer.

If you do make the decision to move out there let me know, would be good to catch up and share stories
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Old 18.12.2011, 01:03
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Hi. I've lived in London for 10 years aged 26 to 36 and now just moved here with my wife and kids. Honestly I would do it exactly the same again.
Go to London not Zurich. It's great here for families but for singles in your age group London is the place to be. And in regards to travelling and central location - londons airports offer superb connections to all over Europe. I really think its a no brainer once you got kids come over here good luck.
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Old 18.12.2011, 01:09
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Re: London v. Zurich

For young, single people - I'd say London for sure. Zurich is great but definitely not in the same league as London when it comes to entertainment, things to do, etc.
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Old 18.12.2011, 01:10
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Re: London v. Zurich

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Hi. I've lived in London for 10 years aged 26 to 36 and now just moved here with my wife and kids. Honestly I would do it exactly the same again.
Go to London not Zurich. It's great here for families but for singles in your age group London is the place to be. And in regards to travelling and central location - londons airports offer superb connections to all over Europe. I really think its a no brainer once you got kids come over here good luck.
I have heard the same point of view from others also Marco. For me London is not my type of city, I am more of a country boy as you may deduce from my user name. This is why I have chosen to work in Zurich over London.

As a city it has a lot more outdoors type of activities on offer than London, especially the mountaineering and skiing

London to me feels very claustrophobic. Each to their own I suppose!
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Old 18.12.2011, 12:45
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Re: London v. Zurich

I am 25 and love London, but I am very happy about living in Zurich (moved here 1 year ago). London has definitely got more to offer when it comes to clubbing, eating out, etc, but earnings are much higher here and the flights from Zurich to London are quite cheap! So what we do with my boyfriend is go to London every 2 months or so for shopping, clubbing, etc
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Old 18.12.2011, 13:25
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Re: London v. Zurich

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Hi. I've lived in London for 10 years aged 26 to 36 and now just moved here with my wife and kids. Honestly I would do it exactly the same again.
Go to London not Zurich. It's great here for families but for singles in your age group London is the place to be. And in regards to travelling and central location - londons airports offer superb connections to all over Europe. I really think its a no brainer once you got kids come over here good luck.
I did exactly the same and agree with this verdict. Young and single, first time working in Europe? London is the place to be.

Been here a while and ready to settle down? Then it's time for Switzerland.
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Old 18.12.2011, 13:28
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Re: London v. Zurich

I see you're from NJ - are you near the city or in the country? If you like NYC, you'll love London. If you're more partial to the countryside, then Zurich may appeal to you more.

One thing, don't think if you go for London you won't have any culture shock. Most Americans who move to the UK think that because the language is the same (well, mostly) and the culture is similar, there won't be any culture shock - most people suffer from it. With Switzerland, you'd be expecting the culture shock, so it won't be as unexpected.

You'll most likely be able to make friends among the locals in London, whereas in Switzerland you'll probably end up making most of your friends out of the expat community.

It depends on what kind of a lifestyle you want, really.
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Old 19.12.2011, 00:59
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Re: London v. Zurich

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I did exactly the same and agree with this verdict. Young and single, first time working in Europe? London is the place to be.

Been here a while and ready to settle down? Then it's time for Switzerland.
I am an australian accountant and lived in London, NJ (Hoboken), and now Zug ( not Zurich).

On lifestyle I agree totally with the above, go to London. Without seeing the money difference can't see if Swiss is THAT much better. If you love hiking, road cycling, and skiing a lot then maybe Switzerland. If you like drinking and football London. And the other poster is also right you will find culture shock moving to either. You can travel Europe easily and cheaply from London.

Good luck.
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Old 19.12.2011, 01:54
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Re: London v. Zurich

The last 2 posts are very similar to my thoughts. If you like outdoors activities and are indifferent / don't like being in a big city Switzerland could be a good choice.

If you do like the vibrancy and liveliness of a big city, then London wins hands down. As to moving to a place by yourself, it can be done (did so myself) in Switzerland but you do have to be very proactive to meet new people, whereas my experience in London and some time in the USA indicates in that part of the world it's a little easier to meet people.

Also how much do you like planning things in advance? Here you find yourself planning laundry, shopping and other little details of life to a timetable...small but important detail.

Good luck with your choice.
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Old 19.12.2011, 02:20
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Re: London v. Zurich

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The last 2 posts are very similar to my thoughts. If you like outdoors activities and are indifferent / don't like being in a big city Switzerland could be a good choice.

If you do like the vibrancy and liveliness of a big city, then London wins hands down. As to moving to a place by yourself, it can be done (did so myself) in Switzerland but you do have to be very proactive to meet new people, whereas my experience in London and some time in the USA indicates in that part of the world it's a little easier to meet people.

Also how much do you like planning things in advance? Here you find yourself planning laundry, shopping and other little details of life to a timetable...small but important detail.

Good luck with your choice.
If however somebody is "outdoors" minded and does not like to be in a big city, places like Zürich and Basel and Geneva may not exactly be the correct place. It would rather be, while working in one of the three places, having lodgings in places a bit outside. That many people here love to make their detailed planning five weeks in advance may be a challenge
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Old 19.12.2011, 02:35
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Re: London v. Zurich

I'd definitely go for London. I used to live in Switzerland when I was younger and I didn't like it very much. There's a lot more to do in London and people are much friendlier.
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Old 19.12.2011, 05:43
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Re: London v. Zurich

Wow. Thanks everyone. You guys have definitely given me a lot to think about.

I didn't really grow up in the "country" but I'm definitely not a city guy, always lived in the suburbs. I like the idea of London, there always being something to do, but I'm really more interested in going out and exploring than going to party every night. That's basically why I thought of Switzerland, from my travels there in the past, it's definitely an amazing country, with a ton to see.

It's going to be a tough decision, and hopefully I make the right one, and all of your input has help. So thank you. If I do end up in Switzerland, hopefully I'll get the chance to meet many of you..

Thanks.
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Old 19.12.2011, 10:38
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Re: London v. Zurich

Dave,

Two more points to consider, which I didn't consider prior to moving here (and maybe I should have). One: if you are someone who likes to be and is an active part of the community - through keeping up to date with what's going on around you locally, volunteer work, networking events, etc. - it will be very, very hard for you to keep doing this if you are not familiar with the local language. And by local language I don't mean German, I mean Swiss German.

In Zurich you will meet a lot of people - Swiss and expats - and I don't think you will be lonely or bored if you get out there. I am certainly not. You also will be able to communicate, don't get me wrong - people here speak English and a variety of other languages. However, at least for me, the lack of local language has been/is a major issue. I see it most clearly when I go to Romandie and Ticino (I speak French and Italian), being able to just understand without effort what is going on around me is like being on another planet. It will take a lot of time (for me) to get to the level of "community interaction" that I like to have, so as I said, a point to consider.

Two: professional environment. Switzerland is a small country, and, for certain fields (I am in a field similar to yours), a very, very small market with a "glass ceiling" on top. If it is for the adventure of challenging yourself with something entirely different, I'd say go for Zurich. But if it's about a fast professional advancement, which implies the ability/effectiveness to network and a high degree of social interaction (based on my personal experience) going to London is a no brainer.

Good luck with whatever you choose!
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Old 18.10.2012, 17:46
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Re: London v. Zurich

Hi folks,

I am sure this London vs. Zürich discussion might be a little bit boring allready (read more or less all the forum stuff about it allready) but couldn't really make my mind if I take the offer from a company in Zürich and leave London.
I would like to ask you kindly for your impression if it would be a good step for me.

I am German around 30 and working in the financial service in London. I like my after work (or sometimes during lunch) pint of Stella and love to go out in Shoreditch, Camden, Mayfair or one of the city clubs and the possibility to find crowded bars, clubs, pubs more or less 24/7 also the diversity and different culture in the city. Nevertheless I am not clubbing 7 days a week and can also enjoy a lazy day. I am Single and thanks to the diversity and the open minded culture of London it is great being Single in this city. I also like it that everyone can more or less run around like they want without resulting in attracting attention (in a negative way). Most clubs have more or less no door policy (beside of the member stuff or when you are coming too late) - so I can go in a suit to a punk/metal club and the people are friendly - even started small talk with me. I also get to know a lot of good blokes and mates and becoming a fan of Arsenal London. Never felt foreign in this country (or lets say the city - might be different on the country side) and beside of others I never felt insecure in London.

When you read that - ok, you will say, better stay in London bloke. But there is the other side of me and I have to admit - I miss it and I am not getting younger, so focus on nightlife and single life might reduce in the coming years.
I luv Nature, Swimming and Mountainbiking and after 3 years living in London I really have withdrawal syndrome. My MTB is allready full of dust while I even did a ride out in the hills after work when I lived in Frankfurt - this is not possible in London. I also like trekking and enjoyed my trip to the alps this summer so much. In Zurich I would love doing BBQs, swimming in the lake and being able to travel to france (wine) and italy (food, culture) as well as to my friends in Munich, Miland and Vienna. Having a car again and a better quality apartment with a big balcony would be also big points. I been in Zurich just for a 3 weeks business trip in summer and I liked it - were swimming in the lake, cocktails at the lakes etc.

From a financial view I am happy with my salary in London but Zurich would be after tax and the social security stuff quite a high number more than London.

So you see - I am caught between the devil and the deep blue sea and cannot made my mind.

I am tending to London at the moment - mostly because of my friends here but the company has also a big office in London and in my job area there might be the opportunity to go back to London if I realise that Zurich is not my thing. So maybe I should give it a try.

Unfortunately I have to decide next week and do not really have to time to travel to Zürich. Will be there next Tuesday but not sure if that is the best day to make my mind...
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Old 18.10.2012, 18:11
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Re: London v. Zurich

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Hi folks,

I am sure this London vs. Zürich discussion might be a little bit boring allready (read more or less all the forum stuff about it allready) but couldn't really make my mind if I take the offer from a company in Zürich and leave London.
I would like to ask you kindly for your impression if it would be a good step for me.
Speaking German will surely help you find your way around Zurich.
Personally, having the opportunity to go back to London as a plan B, I would give Zurich a try as one never knows...

In the mean time, have a look at those threads:
6 months... still no Swiss friends.
I have no friends. Do you want to be my friend?
friends or maybe no friends

Best of luck in your decision!
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Old 18.10.2012, 18:38
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Stannis,

I think you have to go with your gut feeling...did you feel comfortable with the people, language and general way of life when you were in Zurich? Do you know any Swiss people? I don't want to generalize but you will probably feel some hostility here as a German...

I lived in both places and I am in a similar personal situation and age. I think you would miss London as I do. Zurich can be brilliant in the summer but the its generally very short and wet. Believe it or not but its rains more in Zurich than London.

But if you do decide to move here let me know, maybe I can take your job in London as I am also in financial services
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