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Old 23.09.2016, 14:10
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Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

Hi all,

I am a dual citizen,moved to Australia in 2006. It was a long, difficult journey but Australia is the love of my life. Initially, a job brought me down under (employment sponsorship) and after a huge struggle with migration I became a permanent resident, eventually a citizen.

What I love about this country? the open spaces, the outback, the reef. The natural beauty. The lifestyle. You name it... Australia is incredibly beautiful.

My parents live in Switzerland, I visit every year. I now work in a Government job in Australia but have to say I never seem to find a healthy work/life balance in Australia (have to work much harder here). Financially I was better off in Switzerland. While most of my friends are Aussie I still feel a little foreign... I guess it must be my accent they pick up and constantly ask 'where are you from?', kind of annoys me.

Having said that... I will feel foreign in my own country should I return, however, plenty of expats to mingle with. I feel I have given up too much and want to come back, yet I know I will miss Australia. Aussies are easy going, I won't return for the Swiss but I want to experience the culture, the variety, the natural beauty and enjoy more financial security.

I am worried to take such a big step as I moved several times in Australia and it is expensive.

Can anyone give me some advice... possible Aussies... any ideas as to how to tackle this issue? How do you like it in Switzerland... how does it compare to AUS?

Cheers
Karin
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Old 23.09.2016, 14:19
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

How about the United Kingdom or Ireland as an intermediate step? It will help mitigate the effects of reverse culture shock, it'll be close enough to visit family regularly, and you might even enjoy living there after all.
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Old 23.09.2016, 14:25
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

Can't compare with Australia- but I did just that- returned to CH after 39 years living in the UK. We retired (UK OH and myself) and whilst looking for a little place to rent to come to CH more often on hols and to help my elderly parents- we found a very old house about 25km from where I grew up - totally fell in love with it and decided to make the move- despite never ever even considering coming back here to live.

Sometimes it feels as I never left- still have lots of friends here, many who lived abroad all their adult life too, so we have that in common as well- and I know and love the countryside around here, as well as living so close to FRance and being able to jump in the car, a plane or train to go back to UK regularly (not the case with OZ!) ... and sometimes, yes, I do feel like a stranger too, as I have changed and have lived and worked in a totally different environment, personally, socially, culturally, professionally.

One you've lived abroad for a significant amount of time - you'll always have mixed feelings - but for me, it truly has its positive sides too. Nothing wrong with looking at things from many angles. Where abouts are you planning to go back ?

Depends very much where 'back home' is- moving back to Zurich or Geneva = lots of expats. Moving back to Basel or Lausanne- great mix of both. Moving back to rural area could be more problematic- especially in some of the very traditional and conservative Kantons. Very lucky here that although in rural area- both the Swiss and French sides are very active and open culturally.
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Old 23.09.2016, 15:09
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

So much depends on your wants and needs, your age, profession, personality etc. and what Odile said, the area you plan to move to etc.

Just as Australia isn't for everyone, Switzerland isn't either, expat/local or not.

What do you expect from the move? Are you prepared for reverse culture shock?

Money won't buy you happiness and so on but depending on what your expectations are, it might go a little way .

Both places are very beautiful but also very different. For me it comes down to where I feel most at home, where I feel I can be myself the most. But in the end, that's just me and your motivation might be completely different.

I think it's important to have a long hard think about what you want out of life. You are lucky to be able to move from one amazing place to another more or less freely. The move will be expensive and if you decide to move you should give yourself enough time to get over the reverse culture shock and then maybe reassess the situation. Here or there, it's not like you will irreversibly shut a door, you can always go back if it doesn't work out. But here or there, I would always expect having to compromise on certain things (we are just in the progress of moving back downunder, so I totally get feeling torn about AUS vs CH).

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 23.09.2016, 15:15
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

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How about the United Kingdom or Ireland as an intermediate step? It will help mitigate the effects of reverse culture shock, it'll be close enough to visit family regularly, and you might even enjoy living there after all.
Won't help much on the financial security side, though.
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Old 23.09.2016, 15:40
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

As an Aussie, both countries share a lot but they are polar opposites on a lot of things.

CH - Financial security if you have a good job - locals are not much fun.
Aus - High cost of living vs Salary - locals are fun.
9 months warm weather vs 9 months cold weather.

Advice - don't return here without a job, get a 12 month contract or fill in for someone on Maternity leave, store your stuff in Australia and see how you go. You have moved on and changed but your friends here probably haven't so old networks might not be how you remember them.
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Old 23.09.2016, 16:03
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

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Won't help much on the financial security side, though.
...Or the weather
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Old 23.09.2016, 16:35
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

Can you move over with a "Plan B"? I.e. a temporary assignment with your current employer for 1-2 years, which would allow you to explore but keep your ties down under?

I think that would be the best scenario, keeping both doors open at least until you decide one way or the other.
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Old 23.09.2016, 16:42
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

It will be very different from what you remember left....
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Old 23.09.2016, 17:02
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

Thank you for all your messages. Much appreciated.

I return every year for a holiday to see my family. I have no siblings and might have to move back at a later stage anyway to care for my parents.

My current job might lead to an overseas posting in Europe but not within the next couple of years.

My friends are mostly Aussie and live in Sydney and Darwin. I would definitely not be able to settle back in if I had to live in a small Gemeinde (I grew up in a village near Fribourg). Geneva, Zürich and Bern are my preference. As for Swiss friends... they do not really understand me and the path I have chosen, so I would try to bond with some expats.

A temporary move would be best for me... I have to say the constant travelling between the two places can be stressful yet exciting at the same time.

There is no rush to return but my family are a priority, I would love to spend time exploring Switzerland (I have seen a lot more of Australia than Switzerland) and re-establish my AHV contributions (thinking long term/retirement).

I find I have to work harder in Australia, longer hours etc. Work/life balance was better in CH.

Having said that nothing beats the great outdoors here in AUS!

So yes... trying to find a way back temporarily... building that bridge... I would even consider a seasonal job in tourism if nothing else comes up.

Thanks again.

Karin
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Old 23.09.2016, 17:04
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

@Karin
EDIT - my post crossed with yours, so perhaps my answers are not applicable.


The success of any move lies in one's true purpose in the move, an inner decision to make it work as best one can, and in keeping one's expectations realistic. Yes, to be closer to your family. Yes, to gain greater financial security.

Did you move back to Switzerland in 2011 (your other thread)? Or were you contemplating it then, and are now thinking of really doing it, this time?

I ask because it seems to me that you've had the idea of returning for quite a while, and if that's the case, then something here in Switzerland seems to be pulling you back, or you're afraid or fed-up with something in Australia (to over simplify matters rather!).

Of course you know you've changed and Switzerland has changed, and why you like(d) Australia. It's a matter of the proportions. Some of the things you were so glad to leave behind, when you left Switzerland, or glad to encounter when you met them in Australia, might have a greater or lesser value to you now.

If you'd be coming "home" in some sense, if some part of your heart would feel it'd finally clicked back into place, if a yearning would be filled and you would exhale, an ache calmed, a worry laid to rest, then do just that: come home.

If you're considering leaving Australia because the phase of life you enjoyed there is coming to an end anyway (e.g. children grown up, or a relationship ending, or an interesting work project wrapped up or further education over) and you find yourself wondering who you will be next, how much effort you'd need to make to build your new niche, to make your nest comfy, all the networking it would involve... then this is a good time to imagine doing this and compare the processes in both countries.

If someone in Australia is telling you to go or asking you to stay, or if someone in Switzerland is begging you to move closer... then it's worth trying to separate the voices of the others from your own, as much as possible. Moving to somewhere you don't really want to be, just because someone else is putting pressure on you to do so, is a much, much harder task than if it is truly your own choice.

You might find the thread by Kiwi2Swiss interesting.
https://www.englishforum.ch/employme...fications.html
I think her situation was different from yours, as she writes initially about finding work for her husband, yet that thread looks at things like finding work and a home, from many angles.
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Old 23.09.2016, 17:06
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

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I am a dual citizen,moved to Australia in 2006. It was a long, difficult journey but Australia is the love of my life.
As a matter of interest, what is your first language, and do you speak any of the other national languages?
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Old 23.09.2016, 17:08
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

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I would love to ....re-establish my AHV contributions (thinking long term/retirement).
As far as I understood, you could be contributing to the AHV even while outside of Switzerland.
http://www.bsv.admin.ch/themen/ahv/0...x.html?lang=de
If you are eligible, you should grab the opportunity.
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Old 23.09.2016, 17:15
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

I'd chop my arm off for the chance to move the other way and move from Switzerland from Australia.... you're nuts ... but then I'm not Swiss!
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Old 23.09.2016, 17:17
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

But - WHY don't you? Honest! Why not? (this to IslandMonkey - life's too short... if that is how you feel).
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Old 23.09.2016, 17:21
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

My first language is Swiss German, my French used to be fluent, have to work on it...

I did not return in 2011, I ended up in a relationship, we broke up one year ago.

I will always be torn between the two countries. When I left CH I had a very comfortable lifestyle but the love for AUS was stronger and I was prepared to give it all up...

Ten years later, I long for an 'easier' life, more balanced etc. But I know the Switzerland I once knew does not exist anymore and I changed.

I miss the pretty landscape, mountains and lakes... Australia is awesome but I feel little tired and went through lots of challenges, spending time in Europe would be good for me. But I will most probably return again.

Yep... confusing. But I am grateful for this adventure.
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Old 23.09.2016, 17:23
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

Since you've mentioned work/life balance as a priority:

What field/industry are you in?

Be aware that the famous Swiss promotion of 'work/life balance' is not necesarily universal. In some companies there might be lip service paid to the notion, but the reality may be quite different. Just make sure that what you are looking for still exists.


Another thing to consider is your age. If you are in your 30s, no problem. However much has been reported over the 'Ü50 problem', where employers seem to get rid of older employees pretty much as a matter of course - and older folks often have difficulty finding work again. (Some articles claim the problem starts in the late 40s) Age is an issue in the Swiss employment market.

---

I'll second what others have said - find the job first, don't burn any bridges, and have a plan B in your pocket.

But aside from that - life is too short to be unhappy if you don't have to be. You are fortunate to have options that many don't; if you think this is what you want, do it.

Wishing you all the best.
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Old 24.09.2016, 02:08
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

No matter what you do, don't burn your bridges.

Several people have said it, in one way or another: Make plans to be able to return to Australia if you feel you need to / have to / want to.

Good luck!
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Old 24.09.2016, 10:40
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

The work-life balance thing really depends on where you work, in what industry, what type of job.

Rest assured I know plenty of people who have zero work-life balance here and plenty of Aussies who work substantially less than they would here and still have a very decent life (I spent considerable time there and have many Aussie friends)

There's also aspects to consider especially if you plan on having kids (measly maternity leave, insane cost for childcare etc) as well as long-term considerations on pensions etc. No idea how old you are so some things may be more important, some may be less.
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Old 24.09.2016, 11:00
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Re: Back to Switzerland, after 11 years in Australia?

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But - WHY don't you? Honest! Why not? (this to IslandMonkey - life's too short... if that is how you feel).
Hmm... maybe for the same reason that we say to non-EU people "you can't just move to Switzerland". I couldn't get a skilled work visa. Not to mention I have a husband who is very happy in Switzerland. I'm going to OZ for 2 months next year though... can't wait!
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