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Old 18.05.2011, 11:29
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Advice needed please

Morning all - my husband and I have been thinking very seriously for the last few months about moving to Switzerland but we need some info before we can continue..

We currently live in Brussels and have two young children, my hubby is Belgian and teaches French literature in a Catholic school and I am a PA working for an international firm. I am originally from the UK and have been living here for 6 years but now that we have a family we feel we do not want to bring our children up in a dirty crime filled city which still can't even decide on a government The list is endless as to why we want to leave Belgium but I won't bore you with that....

My hubby is quite enthusiatic about the possibilities of teaching in Switzerland but in order for him to contact the relevant education minister we need to focus on a which canton we would like to live/work in.

So the million dollar question: if my husband would like to teach in a French speaking school and I need to find work ideally in an English speaking environment (but I speak French too) and we don't want to live in a city which Canton might be a good option for us to raise our family?

Thanks for any input you can share.
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  #2  
Old 18.05.2011, 11:32
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Re: Advice needed please

Hi and welcome. My wife worked for 7 years in Brussels and has adjusted well here in Geneva. Best for French speaking is Geneva or Vaud cantons.

Last edited by grumpygit; 18.05.2011 at 11:48.
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Old 18.05.2011, 11:45
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Re: Advice needed please

There are many international schools between Lausanne and Geneva.

I used to live in Nyon, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
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Old 18.05.2011, 12:16
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Re: Advice needed please

We moved from Brussels to Neuchâtel last year. We really like Belgium (were there for 13 years) but we didn't live in the city so that makes a diffrence. I think city living in Switzerland is pretty similar to Brussels TBH.
We really like the Neuchatel area and there are a couple of international schools here too.
Tax is higher in Neuchâtel but accomodation is much easier to find and cheaper than Lausanne or Geneva. There are a quite a few English speaking companies too.

Edit: Just realized you're not looking for international schools so that's not an issue.
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Old 18.05.2011, 12:31
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Re: Advice needed please

Thank you for your replies, would i be right in thinking then that if I wanted an admin position and we were living in the Vaud region (say in somewhere like Morges or Rolle) my chances of finding something are a lot higher in either Geneva or Lausaunne??

Also does one commute? Sorry if that may sound silly - I currently spend about 45 minutes crossing the city each way on a daily basis and although given a choice I'd rather not do it, obviously if job opportunities were slim upon moving I would have to for financial reasons.

Also I presume accomodation is cheaper in somewhere like Aubonne or Cossonay than in Rolle, is it a lot cheaper??
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Old 18.05.2011, 12:38
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Re: Advice needed please

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We moved from Brussels to Neuchâtel last year. We really like Belgium (were there for 13 years) but we didn't live in the city so that makes a diffrence. I think city living in Switzerland is pretty similar to Brussels TBH.
We really like the Neuchatel area and there are a couple of international schools here too.
Tax is higher in Neuchâtel but accomodation is much easier to find and cheaper than Lausanne or Geneva. There are a quite a few English speaking companies too.

Edit: Just realized you're not looking for international schools so that's not an issue.
Thanks Belgianmum - I will look into Neuchâtel too
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Old 18.05.2011, 15:55
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Re: Advice needed please

Yes, I would focus on Geneve or Lausanne, and most of the places in between as well. While there surely will be more job opportunities for both in the two cities, there are more and more companies/and schools setting up shop in the middle due to the saturation of both Geneve and Lausanne. If you choose to live in the middle, it would also accomodate one working in Lausanne and the other in Geneve, if it turns out that way. I would focus your spouses' job search on the private schools in both areas/in between, as there are many fast growing private/bi-lingual schools where his expereicne will likely be rewarded and good pay. The public system is also possbile but likely harder/longer/more burecratic to penetrate.
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Old 18.05.2011, 16:09
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Re: Advice needed please

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The public system is also possbile but likely harder/longer/more burecratic to penetrate.
Actually, for a French speaker, not at all. Just have the diploma recognized by EDK.ch and try to push for local school. I would if I was in the position of your husband, better pay, fantastic chance to integrate, etc. International school would be good if you want to have discounts on your kids' tuition, but they don't integrate as easily, if they go to an international school.

It also depends how easily you yourself will find work, it might not be so easy in the area already filled with anglophones to the gills, but you speaking French is a great asset. Contact schools for your kids and daycare, when you are sure where you will live, since the waiting lists can be long. Place them first, then you have free hands to look for work for yourself. Do this asap, so you don't end up having a hubby working all the time, your kids not being able to place in daycare and you not having time and space to actually find work. I am not sure about cost of daycare in Belgium, but if you look around here, you will find out that paying 1000-2000fr per one child a month, or more, isn't rare at all.

Good luck and use the search function here, ton of questions have been answered already, plus we have a neat sticky in the Family/Health subforum focusing on day cares/schools.

Welcome here.
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Old 18.05.2011, 16:10
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Re: Advice needed please

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We currently live in Brussels and have two young children, my hubby is Belgian and teaches French literature in a Catholic school and I am a PA working for an international firm. I am originally from the UK and have been living here for 6 years but now that we have a family we feel we do not want to bring our children up in a dirty crime filled city which still can't even decide on a government The list is endless as to why we want to leave Belgium but I won't bore you with that....
Brussels is a crime filled city that's dirty?? What are you comparing to exactly??


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So the million dollar question: if my husband would like to teach in a French speaking school and I need to find work ideally in an English speaking environment (but I speak French too) and we don't want to live in a city which Canton might be a good option for us to raise our family?

.
Try Jura, it's Francophone and city-less.
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Old 18.05.2011, 16:26
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Re: Advice needed please

The best canton is one close to your job. In my opinion is a bit early to discuss places to live. You may get a job in Zurich. Then commute to Geneva will be a nightmare
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Old 18.05.2011, 16:33
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Re: Advice needed please

Love all the Belgium escapees!
We lived in Brussels 4 years then we also moved to Geneva. However, we quickly moved from Geneva to Lausanne. If I were you and I could only pick on canton (?) I'd pick Vaud. Why can you only pick on canton?


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Brussels is a crime filled city that's dirty?? What are you comparing to exactly??
I was wondering the same thing. But whatever. Clearly they are no longer happy there and want to leave.
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Old 18.05.2011, 16:40
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Re: Advice needed please

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Contact schools for your kids and daycare, when you are sure where you will live, since the waiting lists can be long. Place them first, then you have free hands to look for work for yourself. Do this asap, so you don't end up having a hubby working all the time, your kids not being able to place in daycare and you not having time and space to actually find work. I am not sure about cost of daycare in Belgium, but if you look around here, you will find out that paying 1000-2000fr per one child a month, or more, isn't rare at all.
MusicChick has a good point here. Childcare in Belgium is fantastic compared to here. I don't know how old your kids are but if they're older than 2 1/2 I guess they're in the local school system where you don't have to pay anything for normal school hours (8 until 4 ish) and only a small amount (1€ per day) if they stay longer than that. Forget that here. They can only start school at 4 (if you're lucky) and the hours are just rubbish. 2 hour lunch break where they have to come home etc etc.

I too would look at local French speaking system rather than the international schools.
I would sort out hubby's job first, then childcare then find a job for yourself.

Feel free to PM me if you want any more info.
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Old 18.05.2011, 16:43
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Re: Advice needed please

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Also does one commute?
Lots of people commute between Geneva and Lausanne. Many from even further afield like Vevey and Montreux, even Aigle and Monthey these days since accommodation is cheaper in Chablais than on the Côte/Riviera. The train service along the Rhône valley and lakeshore is pretty good if you don't want to drive.

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Also I presume accomodation is cheaper in somewhere like Aubonne or Cossonay than in Rolle, is it a lot cheaper??
Certainly Aubonne won't be cheaper. All along the lakeshore villages, the problem is availability rather than price. Low supply feeds into higher prices.
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Old 18.05.2011, 17:24
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Re: Advice needed please

Anything around the lake will be pricey. The size of the actual community does not matter, you will in fact find very pricey lake places in tiny communities that do not offer that much infrastructure, because people value their peace here. Further up to the mountains, away from the lake, or inland, things get cheaper. But then there you both will have a commute to do for jobs. It's a fine juggling situ, to synchronize housing, one job, day care, 2nd job, and often it takes a year or three to fine tune. But after that, you coast through the pretty, safe (and expensive ) life.
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Old 19.05.2011, 11:07
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Re: Advice needed please

Thank-you all!

Indeed I spent most of yesterday doing lots of research and wow I just can't get over how expensive accomodation is . On the website I was looking at yesterday I did a general search in various areas of the Vaud canton and it seems renting a house under 3,000 CHF would be quite hard to come by - is this right?? How do you manage financially paying anymore than this, unless your a CEO??

I also didn't take into consideration the cost of day care so thanks for that. We would anticiapte moving in 2012 so my children would be 4 and 2.5 - so I now need to add child care to our budget. Out of curiousity what are you meant to do if you both work and have to collect your children from school and look after them for 2hrs at lunchtime - is there no such thing as a garderie??
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Old 19.05.2011, 11:45
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Re: Advice needed please

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Thank-you all!

Indeed I spent most of yesterday doing lots of research and wow I just can't get over how expensive accomodation is . On the website I was looking at yesterday I did a general search in various areas of the Vaud canton and it seems renting a house under 3,000 CHF would be quite hard to come by - is this right?? How do you manage financially paying anymore than this, unless your a CEO??

I also didn't take into consideration the cost of day care so thanks for that. We would anticiapte moving in 2012 so my children would be 4 and 2.5 - so I now need to add child care to our budget. Out of curiousity what are you meant to do if you both work and have to collect your children from school and look after them for 2hrs at lunchtime - is there no such thing as a garderie??
Yes accomodation is expensive. I think Vaud an Geneva are probably the most expensive.
To give you an idea of Neuchâtel prices we are paying 2600chf a month for a 4 bedroom house with double garage, basement, office and reasonably large garden. That's about average for around here.

There are 'mamans de jours' who will look after kids at lunchtime for mothers who work but lots of mothers either don't work or they have grandparents who help them. It very much depends on the school and the area you are in. I think they are gradually moving towards providing lunchtime facitilies but it will be a long time yet before it becomes normal.

This was the biggest shock for me when we moved here as I had been used to the Berlgian system.

Coming from Belgium I don't think you will find the cost of everyday things too much of a shock though. Belgium is not exactly a cheap country either and taxes are pretty high there.
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Old 19.05.2011, 12:13
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Re: Advice needed please

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Coming from Belgium I don't think you will find the cost of everyday things too much of a shock though. Belgium is not exactly a cheap country either and taxes are pretty high there.
Very true!! I'm sometimes astonished at how much things cost over here and no-one bats an eye lid!

You are certainly giving me a bit more hope than last night, as my husband won't consider moving to Switzerland unless we live in a house, as we currently live in an appartment in Brussels and its hard sometimes not having the outside space for out children to play..

Are there areas in Neufchatel that are better for families than others??

Last edited by MusicChick; 19.05.2011 at 12:46. Reason: fixed a quote.
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Old 19.05.2011, 12:51
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Re: Advice needed please

Where your house will be also very depends where you get your work...I know this sounds like a vicious circle. But if you find nice and cheaper house, in might be in an area that provides no work for your hubby or you, and you will spend a lot of time in traffic. So, I would first find job for hubby, then house, then day care, then your job.

The lunch hours only matter if your kids go to local school, since the first year it is three hours in the morning, they finish at 11:30. Next year it is once or twice afternoon classes, then it gradually grows. So, you yourself have to provide childcare for the rest of the time, when your kids do not sit in the class. Some community provide afterschool surveilance, but what we found for your kiddo for next year will still cost us 1700fr a mo, auch.
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Old 19.05.2011, 13:05
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Re: Advice needed please

My brother, sister in law and 3 kids moved the other way Zurich to Brussels. They are both from England. These are the differences my sister in law described:

Brussels childcare and schooling is geared around working mums whereas Switzerland isnt

Switzerland has more and varied leisure opportunities for families eg outdoor swimming baths, parks, nature trails, the mountains, skiing, closeness to italy

She is finding it harder as a stay at home mum to make contact with other mums in brussels

More variety with the shopping for food and clothes in brussels.

Better weather in switzerland

They have a house with garden in the centre of brussels, in Zurich they could afford an appartment but could go out to the lake, parks and zoo etc
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