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Old 28.12.2011, 19:43
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Canuck family looking for info..

Greutzi!

Long time lurker, first time poster...

Our family of three (hubby, kidlet, myself) will be moving to Switzerland for me to do my PhD in March at the University of Geneva. We're currently living in Ottawa and have a small nest egg financially (thank you paid maternity leave!) so that we can live on our student income for a bit, but our main concern now is - wait for it..finding housing!

The kicker is that I already have Swiss citizenship. Hubby does not (we haven't been married long enough for him to apply) and kidlet is in the process of getting his. Does anyone know if this will help us in any way during our house/appt search? I've searched the forum extensively, as we would really like to minimize the time spent in a hotel so we can get settled, and I haven't seen this come up.

Last, I am asking anyone and everyone to BRAG about where they live and why they like it. We are open to living anywhere, as long as the commute is less than an hour into Geneva (please, we're Canadian! Long commutes are our specialty!).
We are considering France, but again, our knowledge of the surrounding towns is limited to what we've read on this board and interwebs. I am pretty much resigned to not living in downtown Geneva, and I think we're OK with that. We'd like to live somewhere family-friendly with lots of other little kidlets and minimal reliance on a car. We're francophone so I'm thinking Vaud would be our best bet? Thoughts? Please keep all snark regarding the french-Canadian accent to a minimum

Thanks in advance! I look forward to meeting vous tous!

Lulu
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Old 29.12.2011, 14:31
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Re: Canuck family looking for info..

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The kicker is that I already have Swiss citizenship. Hubby does not (we haven't been married long enough for him to apply) and kidlet is in the process of getting his. Does anyone know if this will help us in any way during our house/appt search?
I really don't think having swiss citizenship will help that much in the apt. search, but being francophone will certainly help in the communcations and documentation. I am a bit surprised that the university doesn't help or have some leads for you though. Being Swiss/EU does help a bit if choosing France.

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Last, I am asking anyone and everyone to BRAG about where they live and why they like it. We are open to living anywhere, as long as the commute is less than an hour into Geneva (please, we're Canadian! Long commutes are our specialty!).
I think you need to clarify what type of commute you are looking for. Presumably those long Canadian commutes are by car, do you plan to have a car here? or have a train pass? or both. Cars can be prohibitly expensive to buy and run if you are here for a short time. The commute to/from France will almost definitely require a car, so think about this, and the associated formalities of importing all things including car to France may or may not be worth the bother depending on how long you are here. Parts of Vaud will also require a car in my opinon. Living downtown close to the train stations in Nyon, Gland, Morges, etc is possible but the housing market knows this as well and you will pay for this, if there is any availability. The smaller villages of Vaud often have decent bus service, but outside of rush hours and weekends it can be infrequent, and for other conveniences you may well need a car.

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We are considering France, but again, our knowledge of the surrounding towns is limited to what we've read on this board and interwebs. I am pretty much resigned to not living in downtown Geneva, and I think we're OK with that. We'd like to live somewhere family-friendly with lots of other little kidlets and minimal reliance on a car. We're francophone so I'm thinking Vaud would be our best bet? Thoughts?
Have a look around the forum, there are pros and cons to a lot of places. Having the ideal, perfect family friendly place, with available commodites, with reasonable commute, and reasonable prices may not exist without compromises. Much of your choices may depend on the type of commute you plan to have (car or public transport) and availability.
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Old 29.12.2011, 16:16
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Re: Canuck family looking for info..

Oh wow! Thanks runningdeer! Are you a runner, by any chance? I'll be looking for some mileage peeps once we're moved in.

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I think you need to clarify what type of commute you are looking for. Presumably those long Canadian commutes are by car, do you plan to have a car here? or have a train pass? or both. Cars can be prohibitly expensive to buy and run if you are here for a short time. The commute to/from France will almost definitely require a car, so think about this, and the associated formalities of importing all things including car to France may or may not be worth the bother depending on how long you are here. Parts of Vaud will also require a car in my opinon. Living downtown close to the train stations in Nyon, Gland, Morges, etc is possible but the housing market knows this as well and you will pay for this, if there is any availability. The smaller villages of Vaud often have decent bus service, but outside of rush hours and weekends it can be infrequent, and for other conveniences you may well need a car.
The car is getting sold. We thought we'd use the cash for the famous three month deposit that so many landlords require. And it was my understanding that bringing a car over was a logistical nightmare so out she goes. Anyone want a 2003 Mazda Protege with 200K on it?

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Have a look around the forum, there are pros and cons to a lot of places. Having the ideal, perfect family friendly place, with available commodites, with reasonable commute, and reasonable prices may not exist without compromises. Much of your choices may depend on the type of commute you plan to have (car or public transport) and availability.
Absolutely. I was more looking for people to tell me where they live and why it rocks or they weren't keen for xyz reasons. The public transit thing matters as I won't be having a strict 9-5 type schedule so I can't be reliant on peek hour service.

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I am a bit surprised that the university doesn't help or have some leads for you though.
They have been somewhat helpful, but I don't think they really understand what it's like to live with a toddler. Maybe I'll ask one of them to babysit and they'll get the idea!

Thanks again!
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Old 30.12.2011, 13:15
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Re: Canuck family looking for info..

If I understand correctly, you will not have car and rely on public transport. As such, this more or less eliminates France and parts of Vaud. You should really focus along the main transport network. See www.cff.ch and www.tpg. ch for train and GVA transport. Another possiblity is outlying Geneva such as Satigny or Russin, there is a train out that way it is quite nice.

Also, you did not mention the needs of your spouse and child, but if daycare and commuting/amenities are necessary, this also should be taken into consideration. For example, livng in small village can be very isolating even when speaking the language. If play groups or child activities are needed, then living in or very near the city may be necessary.
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Old 30.12.2011, 13:27
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Re: Canuck family looking for info..

Nyon, and it is pretty good. Gland would be ok too, though the commute times would be a little longer. Coppet would work, too. Signy wouldn't be bad, add a few more mins to commute as well.

What campus will you be at? It takes about 25mins to get to Bastions or Dufour, cca 30min to Uni Mail from my Nyon door. Nyon is very family friendly, let me know if you move here and need some info on socializing, mom's stuff, lib resources for PhD, etc.

Welcome to the EF.
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Old 03.01.2012, 17:24
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Re: Canuck family looking for info..

Thanks for the info everyone!

MusicChick - I'm not exactly sure what campus but I would LOVE to meet up! My husband will be the one doing most of the household schtuffs since I will be pretty busy with school so you will likely be a huge help. Count on me to send you some PMs in the very near future : )

Thanks runningdear! Keeping the kidlet occupied is pretty much a full-time job so your advice is appreciated. Since we'd be downsizing significantly in terms of space we're going to need a lot of amenities.

Off to keep searching...
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