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Old 26.02.2012, 22:50
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Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

After living in Switzerland for almost 2 years, my husband has an opportunity to take a job in Oxford. We are at a crossroads because we just started to become acclimated to switzerland. We are finally learning the language, making friends, etc. We just put our son in the local preschool and he is now learning french as well. And finally, after 2 years, we finally felt like things were starting to go well for us here.

And then a new job opportunity opened up. This would be a great job for my husband and living in an english speaking country would make my life so much easier so we are both seriously considering making the move.

The problem we are having is that we don't want to go through the culture shock of moving countries again. Coming to Switzerland (after being born and raised in California) was more of a shock than we were prepared for. Like I said, it took us almost 2 years just to reach a place where we didn't hate our life here. And now, the thought of doing that all over again is a little terrifying.

So I am here to ask any fellow EF members who have lived in Oxford (or know of the area) to give me some insight. Is this a good place to live, raise a family, make friends, etc? We are pretty mellow people with 2 young kids so we are not looking for any nightlife. Just a safe place to live, lots of young families, a friendly atmosphere, etc.

Would love to hear from anyone else who has lived there. Thanks!
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Old 27.02.2012, 10:43
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

All these UK members and no one from the Oxford area?
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Old 27.02.2012, 10:59
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

I would say a lot depends on the industry, and employer support/package. If it was an academic position, then I think the Oxford area could be very attractive. Universities have good child care for staff, good feeder schools etc. Nice countryside, round Banbury area too.
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:06
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

Make sure that opportunity is safe, you dont want to "cut the branch below you"... Especially with those difficult economic times...

I would say it's risky to leave a current position to go into a new one because you'll pass again into the "probation period" and if anything happens during or after, you're husband would still be the less experienced employee, first on the firing chain

Oh I don't know oxford but I guess it's nice countrysidish-
Weather in UK is different than Switzerland or California (you know that, but have you experienced it?)
Night falls a bit earlier in winter so it's often dark sooner-

UK you'll be taxed shitloads to support the "system" (or neds ), and will probably never be in a position to get benefits or assistance if you are in troubles.

Well, having said that it's probably more "life going on" than Switzerland (not saying anything bad about Switzerland)
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:09
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

I was born and raised around Oxford (about 5 miles to the east of the city centre). Oxford is a very nice place to bring up children, although some areas are better than others! If you want information about specific areas in Oxford then let me know and I would be happy to help.
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:10
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

We lived in Oxford for 4 years before coming to CH. I loved the place, a great mixture of old-and-new and town-and-gown in the city, and some great little villages in the surrounding countryside, with great pubs for lazy Sunday lunches.
We lived mostly in Headington, just to the east of the city centre. Very handy for acces to the motorway, shopping centres and getting into Oxford itself. House prices can be high, especially within the ringroad and there are definitely places to avoid living, such as Barton and Blackbird Leys, for example. Something to bear in mind is schooling. Unlike here, you're not automatically guaranteed a place in the nearet school and it can be a lottery sometimes. Thankfully we didn't have kids at the time, but I know a lot of people who go through hell to get their kids into the local school, or school of their choice.
Good luck with it, I have very fond memories of my time there.
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:12
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

I'm from Oxford, born, bred and educated!
I'd give a lot for the chance to go home again too (been in Switzerland for 32 years, which is quite long enough).

As I've not lived there for so long I'm probably not the best person to advice you on schools, etc., but I'd certainly say that a move to Oxford was worth serious consideration. Lovely countryside, close enough to London to visit if you want to. There are some really nice towns and villages within commuting distance of the city as well, spoilt for choice really!

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Old 27.02.2012, 11:16
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

The fact that you have settled in here, shows that you can adapt and become comfortable with a new place.

I would be more concerned if you were hating it here and running away - chances are you would feel the same about the next place.

The first ove to a new country/culture/language is always the hardest one. After that, it gets easier - you sort of "Know" the system of how to make it work for a foreigner.

Going to the UK will also obvioulsy be easier, because of the lesser language barrier.
Look carefully at where you choose to live there - you may prefer to live in the town, or you may prefer to choose one of the nearby villages or a place in the countryside.

You will also find that you are moving to another very international community .

When I lived in the UK, I was surprised at the number of Americans who lived in the neighbourhood ( parts of Surrey) with there being three "American" schools on the western side of London.
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:17
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

thanks for the replies. How is the weather in Oxford compared to Switzerland? We don't mind experiencing the four seasons, but places that tend to be rainy/dreary most of the year are a little depressing.

I've done some researching on Oxford and it seems that people only have positive things to say (for the most part). It looks like a great place to live and I'm getting somewhat excited that this may be in our future. Any other tips from people who are familiar with this area are greatly appreciated
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:22
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

Bear in mind you'll have to learn everything again, so even though it will be English, it's not necessarily "easy" as someone said before.

Council taxes, NHS system, taxes, income tax, job center, etc, etc, all that to learn!
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:22
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

All dependant on the opportunity in Oxford but ignoring all the financial implications, job security and transitional risk, Oxford itself as a place to live and bring up children compared to Biel for an English speaker should theoratically be more accomodating culturally and language wise too, I don't know that much about both and having only visited Oxford a couple of times I know which one I would pick.

Additionally, the weather in the whole of the UK is not that great, but having lived in the north where it rains more than 50% of the year, I would say it's not so bad. It actually makes you appreciate the sunny days more and subsequently you enjoy them more. The weather in Oxford will probably be relatively better but not so much. British weather, it's a way of life Lovely when it's bad and wonderful when it's good!
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:24
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

The weather in Oxford? Cold and rainy in autumn, winter, and spring. Warm and rainy in summer. The weather in Oxford is not that different to the rest of England.....

If you want somewhere that isn't rainy/dreary then you probably don't want the UK!
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:25
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

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thanks for the replies. How is the weather in Oxford compared to Switzerland? We don't mind experiencing the four seasons, but places that tend to be rainy/dreary most of the year are a little depressing.
oops

for daylight, look here:
http://www.gaisma.com/en/location/oxford.html
You'll see in winter it's daylight only from 8am to 16h30 approx, then complete dark...
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:26
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

For a techie or middle management position I would say no on financial grounds. For Academic type work, the Uni or former Polytechnic, I would say could be very interesting.
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:28
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

Quote:
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oops

for daylight, look here:
http://www.gaisma.com/en/location/oxford.html
You'll see in winter it's daylight only from 8am to 16h30 approx, then complete dark...

Compare it to Biel...
http://www.gaisma.com/en/location/biel.html
It's not that much better...
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:33
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

The job would be in collaboration with the university (apparently the founder of the company is a teacher at the university). Very high tech work, very interesting for my husband. Apparently the pay is standard for his level of experience/education. He was told that on his new salary he would be able to afford "to rent a house." Whatever that means, I don't know for sure. All I know is that it would be nice to have some disposable income again. Switzerland seems to have a way of sucking every last penny out of us each month even though my husband does have a very good job and we live fairly cheaply.
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Old 27.02.2012, 11:39
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

If the job is very interesting to your husband then I would only worry about the job risk and the financial numbers.

Take a look at www.rightmove.co.uk for information about rental prices in Oxford. I am not very familiar with the prices there but I would say something between GBP1000-2000 per month. My own rule of thumb is that the gross monthly pay should be at least 3 times the rental amount for very basic living, for a family I would say it will have to be at least 4 times, specially if you want to visit the US once a year or so.
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Old 27.02.2012, 12:04
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

My sis lived in Oxford, it is a very pretty little city, great shopping, good restaurant scene, good transport links to London, beautiful surrounding countryside and it has an international feel to it thanks mostly to the Uni. I always loved visiting her. I think you will have fun. You will be well positioned to visit a lot of Britain too.
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Old 27.02.2012, 14:46
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

If you can get into the academic lifestyle/mentality, you should have cash to spare whatever. Plenty of University lecturers go on sabbatical, often not renting their houses, wary of the type of tenants agencies supply. Try and get the founder of the Co to persuade someone to let you rent their house directly. Letting agents in the UK take a bigger cut than here, providing less service.
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Old 27.02.2012, 15:33
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Re: Possibly leaving Switzerland for UK (Oxford) - Need info, advice, etc

So it turns out that we will want to live around the Abingdon area. Can anyone tell me if this is a good area to live? Or somewhere nearby that would be better. (We're looking for family friendly, safe, quiet (no nightlife is okay))
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