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Wisco 10.12.2011 02:37

Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
My wife (a swiss native and naturalized American) are considering relocating to Switzerland. Strong family ties with employment opportunities immediate. I am a US corporate sales professional and am willing to be underemployed initially until aclimated and fluent. We are bouncing this change around between our home in Colorado and Switzerland. Both would be awesome but we would be starting over in Switzerland. Any pearls of wisdom or experience? Thanks for any feedback.

Malgummi 10.12.2011 06:22

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
I have no idea about Corprate Sales, It's a hard decission. Either you're both 100% in or 100% out.

onei 10.12.2011 07:19

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Hi Wisco

If you can't speak the lingo forget going through the normal channels, you've got more chance of getting your leg over the pope than scoring a decent job..

Look at sectors you have been most successful in the past and try and get in front of The Man just as you would if you were making a cold call, sell yourself as you would sell his product..Create a need for YOU !

If you can work commission only I have a nice product you could sell for me, $500 a deal, 3-4 deals a day..

What ever you decide, good luck !

lesCA 10.12.2011 08:22

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Hi Wisco,

It depends on your field I made the move from California with a US company no problem and have gotten more local offers since, I do not speak the lingo, at least not in a capacity I could work through. If you are into scientific sales in many cases the main language is English.

I would however suggest starting on the language as quick as possible as you can not integrate properly without it and it will always be advantageous,

Peg A 10.12.2011 08:29

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Knowing that some of the large international corporations have been laying folks off here recently, I would say definitely start working on the local language of your intended destination NOW - do not wait until you get here.

While there are some employment opportunities here which do not necessarily require you to speak the local language, many more opportunities will open up if you can speak in at least one - many of the cashiers at my local Coop speak German and French, some with English (sometimes it's a "rather than French" sometimes all three), some speak Italian, some Portuguese, some have Eastern European languages (I am sorry, I don't know those languages well enough to identify by ear). So, if you want to come off looking better than a shop clerk, make sure you add fluent (or at least actively working on it) in one or more local language to your resume.

Wisco 11.12.2011 16:25

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Thanks for your advice. I will have a job waiting for me as a landscaper working for my father in law. I plan on doing that as I become fluent. I just don't want to lock myself in as a grunt.....:msncrazy:

Sundog 11.12.2011 17:10

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Learn the local lingo. That's the best bit of advice. In the German speaking part, that means _High German_. Yes, it's true, no one really talks it here, but you need to know it. Knowing a bit of dialect will help, but not to speak it, just to understand it.

It took me four years to find a job in my field. And I was very experienced in my field. There might be some tough times, but don't give up hope. You can also volunteer to do various things. Try to network as much you can.

But, as you've got a Swiss wife, you'll have things a bit easier as far as having Swiss connections.

Good Luck! Once you've finally settled in, it's a nice place here. :)

poptart 11.12.2011 18:19

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wisco (Post 1431231)
Thanks for your advice. I will have a job waiting for me as a landscaper working for my father in law. I plan on doing that as I become fluent. I just don't want to lock myself in as a grunt.....:msncrazy:

You want to trade your career to be a landscaper working for your FiL? What could possibly motivate something like that? (the only thing that would get me to do something similar would be armageddon.)

You'll have better luck being married to a native and not being female in terms of being accepted and being offered jobs but I'd suggest you get more than just a touristy taste of this place before selling the house in the states and moving in. It's more than a 'little' different, it's not Europe and if you start to get the feeling it's not for you (it took me two weeks...) you'll have a way out before you're committed.

KeinFranzösisch 11.12.2011 19:57

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by poptart (Post 1431278)
it's not Europe and if you start to get the feeling it's not for you (it took me two weeks...)

Same... two weeks to get that gut wrenching feeling that this is... a mind-bending parallel universe and one day I'll wake up and find myself back in Washington and George Bush will be President and the recession will never have happened and... oh my god did I just say George Bush is better than Switzerland? wtf is wrong with me?

poptart 11.12.2011 20:20

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KeinFranzösisch (Post 1431364)
Same... two weeks to get that gut wrenching feeling that this is... a mind-bending parallel universe and one day I'll wake up and find myself back in Washington and George Bush will be President and the recession will never have happened and... oh my god did I just say George Bush is better than Switzerland? wtf is wrong with me?

LOL...well, I don't pick my countries by politicians but anyplace that makes Finland look relaxed and fun...Crazy. :)

Guest 11.12.2011 20:37

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wisco (Post 1430616)
My wife (a swiss native and naturalized American) are considering relocating to Switzerland. Strong family ties with employment opportunities immediate. I am a US corporate sales professional and am willing to be underemployed initially until aclimated and fluent. We are bouncing this change around between our home in Colorado and Switzerland. Both would be awesome but we would be starting over in Switzerland. Any pearls of wisdom or experience? Thanks for any feedback.

Hey, take the opportunity and do it! If you wait until things are "perfect" you'll never take the chance. Things are never perfect. You'll have some work with your FIL, so that's good it will keep you somewhat busy. The USA is turning into, or already turned into, half of a country. Why would you want to stay there now? The most important thing you can bring with you is an open-mind, have a positive attitude and enjoy the unique culture. Everything else will fall into place. Ignore the nay-sayers.

Be sure to include some Swiss friends, it will help you feel more comfortable. Don't just look for English speakers, you'll get more negativity, than uplifting encouragement. Your life is your own, and you must make the decision. Don't try to be a psychic, and want to know all the answers in advance. ;)

marksmadsen 11.12.2011 20:43

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wisco (Post 1430616)
My wife (a swiss native and naturalized American) are considering relocating to Switzerland. Strong family ties with employment opportunities immediate. I am a US corporate sales professional and am willing to be underemployed initially until aclimated and fluent. We are bouncing this change around between our home in Colorado and Switzerland. Both would be awesome but we would be starting over in Switzerland. Any pearls of wisdom or experience? Thanks for any feedback.

I can't supply pearls of wisdom, but let me try some perspective. Bear with me a moment and think this.

Some countries are great places to go for pure random opportunity. You pack your bags, grab you passport and ticket and go. You get off the plane and find a place to stay and start looking for work that suits you. Everything is easy, there aren't many rules that matter, and you can learn as you go. You start off with something, develop your life, and live happily ever after.

Examples might be India, where the rules can be broken for a small fee, Malaysia where the rules are subject to interpretation, or Australia where there aren't many rules anyway. (This being EF, I will be attacked on the grounds that I could have chosen better examples.)

Other countries can also be places that you can live happily ever after, but they require more preparation because you need to speak the language, you need to understand that there are a lot of rules, and trying to go around the rules will simply make you frustrated and unhappy. As will not understanding the cultural differences.

Examples are South Africa and Switzerland. Loads of rules, no way round them. Loads of cultural subtleties that you need to know about so as to pick up on them.

Don't go to the second kind of country unless you have done as much preparation as possible and really are prepared to accept the changes that you will have to make.

And in your specific case, I can say that about the only thing Switzerland has in common with Colorado is some fairly big lumps of rock with snow on them.

Guest 11.12.2011 20:56

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marksmadsen (Post 1431400)
I can't supply pearls of wisdom, but let me try some perspective. Bear with me a moment and think this.

Some countries are great places to go for pure random opportunity. You pack your bags, grab you passport and ticket and go. You get off the plane and find a place to stay and start looking for work that suits you. Everything is easy, there aren't many rules that matter, and you can learn as you go. You start off with something, develop your life, and live happily ever after.

Examples might be India, where the rules can be broken for a small fee, Malaysia where the rules are subject to interpretation, or Australia where there aren't many rules anyway. (This being EF, I will be attacked on the grounds that I could have chosen better examples.)

Other countries can also be places that you can live happily ever after, but they require more preparation because you need to speak the language, you need to understand that there are a lot of rules, and trying to go around the rules will simply make you frustrated and unhappy. As will not understanding the cultural differences.

Examples are South Africa and Switzerland. Loads of rules, no way round them. Loads of cultural subtleties that you need to know about so as to pick up on them.

Don't go to the second kind of country unless you have done as much preparation as possible and really are prepared to accept the changes that you will have to make.

And in your specific case, I can say that about the only thing Switzerland has in common with Colorado is some fairly big lumps of rock with snow on them.

Remember his wife is Swiss so that gives him a good start right there and besides, that's why I wrote to him "ignore the nay-sayers." He won't get much positive feedback from English speakers because their perspective of the culture is limited and biased. Not all, of course, but most. That's why he needs Swiss friends if he decides to come. He'll have a better perspective and fit in faster than if he only seek out English speakers, such as Expats.

Sky 11.12.2011 21:13

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Remember his wife is Swiss so that gives him a good start right there and besides, that's why I wrote to him "ignore the nay-sayers." He won't get much positive feedback from English speakers because their perspective of the culture is limited and biased. Not all, of course, but most. That's why he needs Swiss friends if he decides to come. He'll have a better perspective and fit in faster than if he only seek out English speakers, such as Expats.
Don't agree.. His spouse naturally believes that it will be an easy transfer for she is Swiss, but it's not, it really is not.
Wisco will definitely need a fine mix of both, Swiss to ease the way and English speaking expats for the know-how and a little nostalgia.

Guest 11.12.2011 21:28

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sky (Post 1431428)
Don't agree.. His spouse naturally believes that it will be an easy transfer for she is Swiss, but it's not, it really is not.
Wisco will definitely need a fine mix of both, Swiss to ease the way and English speaking expats for the know-how and a little nostalgia.

That will remain to be seen, it doesn't mean that he shouldn't try. :rolleyes:

marksmadsen 11.12.2011 21:46

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Remember his wife is Swiss so that gives him a good start right there and besides, that's why I wrote to him "ignore the nay-sayers." He won't get much positive feedback from English speakers because their perspective of the culture is limited and biased. Not all, of course, but most. That's why he needs Swiss friends if he decides to come. He'll have a better perspective and fit in faster than if he only seek out English speakers, such as Expats.
Unfortunately you diverted from the main point of what I was saying by your (completely uncalled-for) characterisation of my post as nay-saying. :(

The point is that one needs to know as much as possible in advance.

A Swiss spouse is a great advantage for making friends, learning the language, and knowing one's way around. It's the stuff that seems obvious to the spouse that the OP doesn't know that will cause more angst.

tapazoh 11.12.2011 22:24

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wisco (Post 1430616)
My wife (a swiss native and naturalized American) are considering relocating to Switzerland. Strong family ties with employment opportunities immediate. I am a US corporate sales professional and am willing to be underemployed initially until aclimated and fluent. We are bouncing this change around between our home in Colorado and Switzerland. Both would be awesome but we would be starting over in Switzerland. Any pearls of wisdom or experience? Thanks for any feedback.

Do you have kids? Have you visited? Where in switz, where in Colo r u from? I lived in Colorado, boulder. Loved it. This is not Boulder. But its great if you have or plan to have kids. If you love outdoors, you will be fine. If you never lived outside US, then be ready to give up a lot and gain some too. If you dont need culture stimulation you will be ok. There is some but its expensive and if you have a family, hard to come by.

your wife being swiss is huge. if planning on family, have them close by. nothing like having built in babysitter. we dont and its supper hard.

If you like skiing, this is not colo skiing, most is above treeline, little to no tree skiing to be had, groomed slopes, no bumps to speak of. For me, perfect, knees bad, dont ski all day, enjoy the groomed treeless runs. Sledding is awesome, my favorite thing winter time here.

Dont speak the language, but i am sure it would help. with a swiss wife, I am sure you will learn. if your family is in colo just remember, its not an quick nonstop to get there or them here. and its expensive. but then your inlaws are here.

good luck

Guest 11.12.2011 23:26

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marksmadsen (Post 1431450)
Unfortunately you diverted from the main point of what I was saying by your (completely uncalled-for) characterisation of my post as nay-saying. :(

The point is that one needs to know as much as possible in advance.

A Swiss spouse is a great advantage for making friends, learning the language, and knowing one's way around. It's the stuff that seems obvious to the spouse that the OP doesn't know that will cause more angst.

That's all he needs! :D

meloncollie 12.12.2011 01:20

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Wisco, how much time have you spent in Switzerland?

I'll always recommend a stint in another country/culture if only for the sheer adventure, for the opportunity to expand your horizons. So from that standpoint alone, I'd say: do it.

HOWEVER - MarkMadsen's excellent post sums it up perfectly. Switzerland is not a 'soft landing', especially for those from more... open... cultures. Just prepare yourself for the fact that there will be surprises, that the things that 'you don't know that you don't know' can and will trip you up. As long as you are ready and willing to roll with the punches, you'll do OK.

I asked about your hands-on familiarity with Switzerland because many Americans are surprised to find that the country is nothing at all like the way it is portrayed in the US media, and end up disillusioned. If you haven't spent much time here in the past, I'd suggest a trial period: come on over, put your heart and soul into making it here - but keep a plan B in your back pocket if you find that Switzerland isn't to your taste.

(Were it me, I'd go for Colorado. But then, after 14 years in this beautiful but tiny and crowded country, claustrophobia has taken over; I yearn for some open space, for room to breathe. I'll probably end up in Michigan. Or Wisconsin. ;) )

Wishing you all the best.

Brooks85 12.12.2011 08:40

Re: Starting over in Switzerland from US
 
Hi Wisco,

My situation has some similarities to yours. I'm also American and married to a Swiss native. We moved here after being in the US together for 8 years.

I don't know how long you've been married, but you might consider applying for Swiss citizenship. If you've been married longer than 6 years, you can apply without having lived here. It could make finding jobs easier in some cases, but since you can get a work permit anyway, to most companies that might want you, it shouldn't matter at all.

This is also a good Yahoo group for foreign spouses of Swiss:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Foreig...wissNationals/

I would also not forget about your wife and the adjustment she will have to go through. Everyone's situation is different, but my wife is Swiss, grew up here, and yet would agree with much of what the "nay-sayers" are saying on here. If I told her we had to move back to California, she would probably have her bags packed before I finished the sentence. ;)

As others have said, I would definitely start learning German, after 3 years of that, and being frustrated that you feel more at home in Germany than here, you can then start on the "local language". ;)

I wish you the best in figuring out your situation. You'll learn something, no matter what happens.

Dan


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