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Old 06.10.2021, 03:48
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Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

Hi all,
we are currently in the USA, but wanted to move to Europe and my employer offered me a transfer for a remote position in Switzerland. Initially, we thought about Zurich, where we've lived for a few years before, but since it is fully remote we started to consider Lugano (or some other place in Ticino) more preferably (weather, costs of living, language sounding to us much more enjoyable to learn;-). Our concerns are around "expat-friendliness" of Lugano:

- is gov paperwork, renting apartment, and doctor/hospital, bank, ... visits manageable without basic Italian (at least at the beginning that will be the case)?
- are public schools in the area friendly to 6yo English-speaking children? (is it likely to have other expat children in the class, are some extra Italian language lessons provided, etc? )
- does the expat community exist in the city? I'd be great to meet with some other expats from time to time;-).

In general, we have found Zurich very expat-friendly, and we are afraid that it might not be the case for Lugano/Ticino.
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Old 06.10.2021, 07:13
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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- is gov paperwork, renting apartment, and doctor/hospital, bank, ... visits manageable without basic Italian
No. Everything is in Italian.

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- are public schools in the area friendly to 6yo English-speaking children? (is it likely to have other expat children in the class, are some extra Italian language lessons provided, etc? )
Unless things have changed recently, no. But that may depend on the town, as many things do.

I've been here 31+ years, kids born and raised here.

Tom
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Old 06.10.2021, 07:29
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

There is a Facebook group of English speakers in Lugano

https://www.facebook.com/groups/expatlugano/?ref=share

Perhaps they can also be a source of info?

In general Lugano and Ticino are smaller than Zurich and with less big multinationals so I would think the expat community not be as big, but I do not have data for it.

At 6 years old the children will pick up the language very quickly, I would not worry.

Does your employer have a legal entity in CH? Are they planning to pay you Swiss salary level wages?

K
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Old 06.10.2021, 07:49
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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There is a Facebook group of English speakers in Lugano

https://www.facebook.com/groups/expatlugano/?ref=share
Hmmm, seems that I've been blocked from that group.

Tom
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Old 06.10.2021, 08:48
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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there is even an Irish pub here - The Trinity
The Trinity sucks, much better is Irish Club Alpino in Tesserete.

Tom
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Old 06.10.2021, 08:56
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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The Trinity sucks, much better is Irish Club Alpino in Tesserete.

Tom
How exactly do you drive and drink there ?
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Old 06.10.2021, 09:03
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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How exactly do you drive and drink there ?
Easily.

Tom
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Old 06.10.2021, 09:38
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

Can US citizens on B permit choose which canton to live in?
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Old 06.10.2021, 09:47
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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I recently moved here, what I can say from my experience

yes, most of that speaks basic english. sometimes you will face xxxxx who ask you to speak IT/FR/DE, but if you try to get another person, they are usually friendlier and try to help in english.
Xxxxxxs??? Seriously?? Many professionals speak German or French depending on where they studied. English is not always available.

The Italians who work in Switzerland tend to speak English. My hairdresser does, the veterinarians do....

Last edited by Belgianmum; 06.10.2021 at 12:39. Reason: Edited out the rude part of the post.
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Old 06.10.2021, 09:47
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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yes, most of that speaks basic english. sometimes you will face xxxxx who ask you to speak IT/FR/DE, but if you try to get another person, they are usually friendlier and try to help in english.
Great attitude! People asking you to speak the local language are idiots?

Actually I have found it really difficult to manage just with English. Even German can be a challenge. Tax papers for example. There is a rudimentary summary of the basic form in German, but that is it.

Sometimes you will get lucky with local government offices with German, English or French, but for the most part I have had to struggle with the Italian that I learnt over 40 years ago in school.

Outside of government offices, there is always a good chance you will find someone who speaks another language such as French, German or English. But which of the three is always rather random.

Last edited by Belgianmum; 06.10.2021 at 12:37. Reason: Edited out the rude part.
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Old 06.10.2021, 09:56
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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The Italians who work in Switzerland tend to speak English.
As they don't speak German, and at best a little French.

Ticinese, on the other hand, tend not to speak English, but either French or German.

Tom
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Old 06.10.2021, 10:01
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

Guys, otec wanted to provoke on purpose, just ignore him until moderators consider the case

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Can US citizens on B permit choose which canton to live in?
Unless the permit is explicitly tied to an employer and a place of residence, I think so.
I know a Canadian who had similar limitations, but he was clearly informed about it.

When the B permit is the one without limitations, there is a procedure to change canton, but I never heard of constraints in the initial choice of canton.
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Old 06.10.2021, 10:03
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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Can US citizens on B permit choose which canton to live in?
Normally, no.

Tom
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Old 06.10.2021, 12:30
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

OT, but what's the use of removing otec's post when you can see the quotation of it a few responses farther down?
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Old 06.10.2021, 13:12
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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Normally, no.

Tom
That may be something for the OP to consider before making other plans ...
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Old 06.10.2021, 13:27
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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How exactly do you drive and drink there ?
Surely that’s more of a problem getting home?
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Old 06.10.2021, 14:21
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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Normally, no.
And which canton should US citizens live in? Sincere question - I did a quick search and could not find rules, except maybe the involvement of the employer. But then I guess the expact could have a discussion with the employer before coming? E.g. if one finds a job in Kanton Zurich but wants to live in Argau next to the border...?
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Old 06.10.2021, 14:29
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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And which canton should US citizens live in? Sincere question - I did a quick search and could not find rules, except maybe the involvement of the employer. But then I guess the expact could have a discussion with the employer before coming? E.g. if one finds a job in Kanton Zurich but wants to live in Argau next to the border...?
When I first moved here from the US, doing that was not an option (worked in ZH, but could not live in AG)

Tom
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Old 06.10.2021, 14:29
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

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Surely that’s more of a problem getting home?
Indeed, I can always walk 3 km, downhill, so easy!

Though normally, if I figure not to be fit to drive home, I walk there as well!

Tom
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Old 06.10.2021, 15:12
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Re: Expat family moving to Lugano/Ticino?

This will sound terrible, but I've been here 31 years and never learnt the language! My wife is local so translates when needed, otherwise it's English and sometimes French. In fact the locals seem friendlier if you speak French to them rather than German!! I've never had a problem anywhere.

As for expat life, there are many native English speakers living here, S. Africans, Brits and Americans to name a few. There are associations such as the Swiss American, the British Swiss and the Swedish Swiss Chambers of Commerce among others.

If you are a church goer, there is an Anglican Church with a Sunday school, and you'll soon meet other parents there.

The public schools in Lugano are fine, mine went to one, and you do get some Anglophone kids there. In my son's class there was a Canadian and a South African. To the annoyance of the teacher, they would speak in English together and she could not understand them. But as Tom said, at age 6 they will quickly pick up the language.

If you're renting, you'd be surprised how quickly the landlord learns to speak English. Of course, any problems after you've signed the Italian contract and he'll have forgotten it all!!!

In my case I provide the contract in English and Italian, but then I'm not like most landlords here. But again as Tom said, all official documents are in Italian but you do occasionally come across a helpful person in the Commune that will speak English.

In any case, good luck with it all.
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