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  #21  
Old 01.06.2011, 08:46
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

Welcome to the forum and soon to Switzerland! I came here with my husband in May of this year (and I'm originally from Chicago). If you have any questions or concerns about the move, don't hesitate to ask!

We'll be moving near Zurich next month so if you'd like to meet up once you're settled, let me know. Good luck!
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  #22  
Old 01.06.2011, 08:49
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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Hello all-

My name is Mac and my husband and I will be moving to the Zurich area in August of this year. We are from the US (midwest) and are excited to be moving near the Zurich area.

Looking forward to learning about Switzerland, getting tips for the move, and meeting some new people!

Cheers-
Mac
I'm from the midwest and, some of the hyperbole aside, I'd suggest you to consider putting your household items in storage and keep an escape plan handy as I have a few expat excursions under my belt, too, and I have to say I am not all that in love with the Zurich area. It's like waking up in the 1950s.

I've not been here that long and, well, I'm already planning my return.

It's different for everyone but always keep your options open as you never know when someplace might just make you want to hop on the next plane home.
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  #23  
Old 01.06.2011, 09:02
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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Please think seriously about not coming here
The sole exception is if you will have a ton of money and I mean really a ton - not a ton by us standards- and you can live about an hour away (south not north) while husband
lives in apartment
Of course if you are absolutely impervious to noise from slow never ending construction, kids not in school much and their screaming their heads off even in museums and librairies considered norm...etc ad nauseum
Opening hours are horrible & yet still 24/7 noise
Also expect things to cost 2 to 5 times what in US
If you love breathing cigarette smoke everywhere you walk..
Want to live where unwelcomed because too many foreigners & they don't want more

I wished that someone would have warned me
Coming here 5 plus years ago is the worst mistake I ever made
I am so tired and beat down from screaming neighbor kids, all night trains etc don't have energy to pack and go home
Please think again & be warned unless where you now live is horrible
I have lived in Paris, Copenhagen,Montreal, Mississippi, Arkansas and more and nothing has combined horrors and difficulties of living here
I tried hard to integrate when first came but hard to when you are unwanted and can't study due to loud neighbors
Plus you arent taught Swiss in language school but German which no one speaks
I should have left my husband then
I will probably have to still leave him for must get out of here soon
I hear that it has degerated here & likely true
Although I dont agree with all of this I certainly agree that Switzerland should not be an Americans first expat experience. Typically the type of American who makes it in Switzerland has had bad experiences in Australia, France, LATAM etc, before they come here. Then they find the transition not so bad.

For Mid-Westerners, Its even worse. Ive met several who have gone back to Ohio and Indiana broke. They thought a 100,000$ job would be tits. Then they get here and they realize that the food is 3x as expensive, youre not allowed to wash your car (lest the neighbors call the police on you) and you cant buy a 3 bedroom 2 bath for 120,000$. The only thing that might help is having a Swiss spouse.

Look, give it a shot. This website is here to make that shot a little less painful. But unless youre house-hold is bringing in 250,000 a year you will not have the same quality of life you currently have in the mid-west (unless youre rich from the 100,000 hectares in Iowa you own and live off the rents etc.).

If your husband is a banker you might make it longer: There is a boost of self worth when an American gets a job being a "swiss banker". But if your partner is a tech guy or pharma salesman? Good luck....!

Come here for a month and rent an apartment. See how it goes.

Good luck
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  #24  
Old 01.06.2011, 10:53
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i don't think you can generalize about americans any more than you can generalize about the swiss or the british, etc. switzerland is my first expat experience. i think it can be a reasonable choice.

it is important to do some homework before coming here and to have a sense of the costs. i think it's also important to have some sort of exit strategy for the first year or so if you can. on the other hand, there's a lot to be said for not setting yourself up to fail.

it is expensive here and you do seem to pay for every little thing sometimes. on the other hand, i find living here to be restful, beautiful and safe. i have nicer neighbors here too, and better health care. but it's not nirvanna... my husband is switching jobs because he didn't like where he was, and we're very lucky this worked out- he's an academic. i don't work here, and sometimes i miss the substantive part of what i used to do...but i'm figuring that out.

i think it's important to look at this as an opportunity, an adventure if you can. i think your attitude and openess can count for a lot, at least for me it has. i suppose i never felt trapped here. of course you might decide you'd be better off elsewhere, after a while, but i'm glad you're excited and i hope it works out for you.
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  #25  
Old 01.06.2011, 11:43
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

There is one thing that counts a lot: style of life.

I have been in Richmond,Va; Suzhou, China; and now Zurich.
I am a Portuguese guy buy the way (I have lived in Porto (26 years), Coimbra and Lisbon each one very different styles although the same country.


For my experience americans like to eat out a lot (where i have been they do not cook at all). For example in Portugal there are ppl there goes out once a month (we are talking engineers with a high purchase power). It is an option.

In Europe rarely in urban centers you found someone residing in a large villa with 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, garage for 5 cars and a playground.

I am in Zurich with a 100k job and i travel everywhere. Yes it is true i have an 50m2 apartment but in Portugal it is the same.

I do not eat out every night. I cook because nowhere in the world you can have as good as a in house meal but it depends on your cuisine (portuguese is one of the best in the world).

I do not drink as the world will be over tomorrow (the refills of coke and so on). Here as in Portugal you pay by each glass, bottle.

Even in Portugal we do not have the same drinking style as ireland, german and others.

But in Portugal wine costs as much as water. So you do not appreciate because you can buy as much as u want.


For an american i think europe and not only switzerland will be a shock. The problem with switzerland is that is expensive and you notice if you need a pizza out everyday, drink like camels every night and so on.

A pizza on coop is 5..10 francs and you can put it on an oven.

Rice is cheap on migros. Coop has fresh fish, pork and so on. If you cook, you live an appartment and you enjoy to walk 10kms everyday and so on you will be very good.

And let's face the truth. Americans are not slim. Even many can not run
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Old 01.06.2011, 11:55
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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I do not drink as the world will be over tomorrow (the refills of coke and so on). Here as in Portugal you pay by each glass, bottle.

And let's face the truth. Americans are not slim. Even many can not run
Every American I meet is ready to leave Europe the second they realize the drinks have no ice in them (Where's the fuq'n Starbucks!?) and there are no free refills.

As far as Americans not being slim? I think youre looking at the wrong angle. There are so many inshape good looking American women who work out every day that I would rather have a yankey gal than some of these unathletic European girls who simply survive on a diet of cigarettes and prosecco.

There are just as many skinny, healthy Americans as there are fat, obese ones. There simply isnt much of an inbetween

But with that said I know plenty of Americans (and Iberians for that matter) who have lost plenty of wieght after moving here because food was so expensive! (oh, and no free ketchup at your McDonalds) .
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  #27  
Old 01.06.2011, 12:00
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

Welcome to the forum and Switzerland, I'm in the process of moving myself with a young family.....furntiture arrice 1 July and family a couple of weeks after. We are relocating to the Basel area, which I guess is a little different to Zurich, but please holla if you have any questions....this forum has not let me down yet.
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  #28  
Old 01.06.2011, 12:07
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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There are just as many skinny, healthy Americans as there are fat, obese ones. There simply isnt much of an inbetween

But with that said I know plenty of Americans (and Iberians for that matter) who have lost plenty of wieght after moving here because food was so expensive! (oh, and no free ketchup at your McDonalds) .
I made a provocative post so the people can think. I was away from home in Portugal and since eating out (on take aways) is very cheap you go.

Here i have to cook many more times. Ice i have not noticed that. Ice in Portugal is common (here is not?).

The other day i went for a pizza on lunch time (better price) and it was 19,5 euros and not a good one.

It is much better to buy one, buy cheese powder, fresh vegetables and make one .

Moving requires changes....i am food lover (portuguese cuisine) but here i have to cook because restaurants will ruin me.
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Old 01.06.2011, 12:09
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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It is much better to buy one, buy cheese powder, fresh vegetables and make one .
.
Heck Yeah.. Agree 100%
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  #30  
Old 01.06.2011, 12:09
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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Please think seriously about not coming here
The sole exception is if you will have a ton of money and I mean really a ton - not a ton by us standards- and you can live about an hour away (south not north) while husband
lives in apartment
Of course if you are absolutely impervious to noise from slow never ending construction, kids not in school much and their screaming their heads off even in museums and librairies considered norm...etc ad nauseum
Opening hours are horrible & yet still 24/7 noise
Also expect things to cost 2 to 5 times what in US
If you love breathing cigarette smoke everywhere you walk..
Want to live where unwelcomed because too many foreigners & they don't want more

I wished that someone would have warned me
Coming here 5 plus years ago is the worst mistake I ever made
I am so tired and beat down from screaming neighbor kids, all night trains etc don't have energy to pack and go home
Please think again & be warned unless where you now live is horrible
I have lived in Paris, Copenhagen,Montreal, Mississippi, Arkansas and more and nothing has combined horrors and difficulties of living here
I tried hard to integrate when first came but hard to when you are unwanted and can't study due to loud neighbors
Plus you arent taught Swiss in language school but German which no one speaks
I should have left my husband then
I will probably have to still leave him for must get out of here soon
I hear that it has degerated here & likely true
... and you are still here?


To the poster: Welcome! I have lived in 5 different countries and so far Switzerland is the one that offers the best quality of life. You have to give some things up but what you gain compensates many times over what you lose.
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  #31  
Old 01.06.2011, 13:00
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

The first good chance get I will move away from here and never set foot in this country again (except to visit the future in-laws) also lived in many different countries (MN in the USA to be specific) across all continents and well I simply do not like the Swiss and their way of life, The USA was actually my best experience ever. If you are extremely wealthy and older (im 27) then yes I could see this as a possible place to live.
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  #32  
Old 22.06.2011, 04:42
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

Ok...wow...there was alot going on here. Thank you, MiniMia for YOUR reply. And best of luck to you, TOS. I sincerely hope things improve for you and I certainly hope we do not have similar experiences.

Although, if it makes you feel any better, I am totally freaking out about move. We are trying to decide what to pack (or to ship) and yes, we have no money and I have heard about the $$$ cost of living. I have been applying for jobs for the last 1.5 months and have gotten nowhere...there are definite concerns about this major change.

But, we are a young newlyweds and are excited about living in Europe. If you have any moving advice (company recommendations/international movers) please let me know!

Cheers!
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Old 22.06.2011, 04:54
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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Welcome to the forum and Switzerland, I'm in the process of moving myself with a young family.....furntiture arrice 1 July and family a couple of weeks after. We are relocating to the Basel area, which I guess is a little different to Zurich, but please holla if you have any questions....this forum has not let me down yet.
Will do!!! Good luck with your move!
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  #34  
Old 22.06.2011, 05:53
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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Ok...wow...there was alot going on here. Thank you, MiniMia for YOUR reply. And best of luck to you, TOS. I sincerely hope things improve for you and I certainly hope we do not have similar experiences.

Although, if it makes you feel any better, I am totally freaking out about move. We are trying to decide what to pack (or to ship) and yes, we have no money and I have heard about the $$$ cost of living. I have been applying for jobs for the last 1.5 months and have gotten nowhere...there are definite concerns about this major change.

But, we are a young newlyweds and are excited about living in Europe. If you have any moving advice (company recommendations/international movers) please let me know!

Cheers!
Depending on how much stuff you have, you might want to go with a shipping consolidator. Basically, you pack your stuff into boxes, drop them off at a shipper where they then put them onto pallets and send them off to the old world. The shipper finds empty space on other shipping containers and your pallets get put into a container on the way to CH. My wife and I did this and it felt risky but all our stuff arrived intact and in good shape. About $1200 from NJ to CH when all was said and done.

If you have more stuff, look into just getting a shipping container. Another friend of ours did this and it was also pretty cheap (about 2 grand) but you have to pack the container yourself and you're probably not going to get insurance for individual items.

Good luck, it's stressful, but it's a ton of fun for a young married couple. You'll love it, both the move and being here!
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Old 22.06.2011, 08:19
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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Ok...wow...there was alot going on here. Thank you, MiniMia for YOUR reply. And best of luck to you, TOS. I sincerely hope things improve for you and I certainly hope we do not have similar experiences.

Although, if it makes you feel any better, I am totally freaking out about move. We are trying to decide what to pack (or to ship) and yes, we have no money and I have heard about the $$$ cost of living. I have been applying for jobs for the last 1.5 months and have gotten nowhere...there are definite concerns about this major change.

But, we are a young newlyweds and are excited about living in Europe. If you have any moving advice (company recommendations/international movers) please let me know!

Cheers!
I'm sure you'll be fine. The majority of people moving here love the place and fit in really well, but as you'll see from some of the replies, some people just don't, or won't, settle. Perhaps they are natural complainers, or perhaps they have been genuinely unlucky in having a bad neighbour, but this is the exception.

It's all about expectations. It seems that often expats want everything they had at home plus all the fantastic things that Switzerland and Europe have. You can't have it both ways. I've lost some things I used to have, sure, but this includes plenty of bad things I used to have. Some things here annoy me a bit, but I've also got some great new things to enjoy. Trouble is, we seem to want it all.

No place I've lived is perfect, and Switzerland is not perfect. But for me, and for many, it is less imperfect than anywhere else I've lived.

Switzerland seems expensive if you constantly translate everything back to US dollars or GB£. But I'm not paying in dollars or pounds. I'm paying CHF, and my salary is much higher here than it was in the UK, plus I pay far less tax. In that respect, I reckon prices here are about the same. Some things a bit more, some a bit less.

Most important thing is attitude. Celebrate the differences, and remind yourself that for each thing you miss, there are probably two things you've gained.
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Old 22.06.2011, 15:33
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

Thank you.
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Old 22.06.2011, 16:13
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

Welcome, once you arrive you will be able to have your own experiences so keep an open mind til then!
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Old 22.06.2011, 17:17
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

Hi Mac,

Not to discourage you, but as TOT said, please weigh and consider your options about moving here. I too moved here 2yrs ago from Atlanta, and while it may not be the worst decision I've made, it's one I wish I hadn't.

I too was excited about the move at the time, but my Husband who is Swiss, and had lived in the USA for nearly 25yrs was opposed. We had the option to either stay in the US, where we have a nice home, family, friends and all the things we know. Once the decision was to be made about moving, he asked me over and over again, if was sure, I said yes, thinking because we had visited 3 times prior to moving, I was sure I'd love it. His words to me were "why do you think I moved from there, it was because I didn't like it"



He reminded me that living somewhere and visiting are completely different, said he knew i'd "hate it". I was bent on coming, since I thought it would give my kids an opportunity to learn a second language, and get to know their father's culture.

He now says I made my bed now "lay in it", so I too is considering leaving him I'm too old for tough love.(35)

We moved a whole house here, with no where to put all this stuff. The spaces are so small, sometimes I feel like the walls are closing in on me. We couldn't even find a place to live. At the time we were told "just take something" we did, now we are stuck in a tiny apartment with no hope of finding something bigger.

Reason being there's nothing, plus we have to listen to our 5yr old begging us not to move away from his friends, because he had such a hard time establishing friendships in the first place. We would love to stay close to his friends but impossible to find something.


It is very expensive here also, in America we have options to purchase things that are inexpensive, or we can buy expensive things if we choose. Here everything is pricy, and very few variety. Another thing, is airfare , I get so frustrated when all I ever come up with is an airfare for 2000chf per person just to get out, so I can get my head above the water, so to speak.

Others will say, oh you'll love it here, I do wonder from time to time if that's really how they feel, or it's a coping mechanism to make themselves feel better.

While I don't hate it here,(but i don't like living here) if i didn't have to spend another day here, I'd be quite ok with it.
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Old 22.06.2011, 18:30
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

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I too was excited about the move at the time, but my Husband who is Swiss, and had lived in the USA for nearly 25yrs was opposed. We had the option to either stay in the US, where we have a nice home, family, friends and all the things we know. Once the decision was to be made about moving, he asked me over and over again, if was sure, I said yes, thinking because we had visited 3 times prior to moving, I was sure I'd love it. His words to me were "why do you think I moved from there, it was because I didn't like it"
It's funny as I have the same problem in reverse. My husband is a Nordic who objects to living in the US and I wasn't thrilled about yet another expat jaunt when I was more or less thrust into this move.

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He now says I made my bed now "lay in it", so I too is considering leaving him I'm too old for tough love.(35)
Are you sure he's not bluffing? I, too, want to go home and, while he also isn't thrilled with being here, he's not very enthused about the prospect of going back to the US. We could, of course, go to another country but, I'm so burned from this experience that I'm fresh out of flexibility on that topic. It's complicated but, he at least understands that everyone in the family needs to be happy and even our young child is asking to go home.

Life is too short to be miserable for very long. We all make mistakes so I think he's being a bit of a git for not wanting to help resolve the situation. Talk to him as I can't imagine he wants to be miserable to prove a point.

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We moved a whole house here, with no where to put all this stuff. The spaces are so small, sometimes I feel like the walls are closing in on me. We couldn't even find a place to live. At the time we were told "just take something" we did, now we are stuck in a tiny apartment with no hope of finding something bigger.
I've often wondered why Europeans have some sort of grudge against closets. On the bright side, smaller is easier to clean.

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It is very expensive here also, in America we have options to purchase things that are inexpensive, or we can buy expensive things if we choose. Here everything is pricy, and very few variety. Another thing, is airfare , I get so frustrated when all I ever come up with is an airfare for 2000chf per person just to get out, so I can get my head above the water, so to speak.
I've really been trying to quantify what it is, specifically, that makes Zurich feel so much more expensive than anywhere else I've lived (and I've lived in 2 other cities on the top 10 most expensive cities list this year, 5 in the top 20, and I've not quite been able to put my finger on it. The decided lack of choices/variety in products is possibly part of the problem both in price and general dissatisfaction. Anyplace that makes the Nordic countries feel downright cheap (and the groceries huge filled with variety) is truly a wonder.

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Others will say, oh you'll love it here, I do wonder from time to time if that's really how they feel, or it's a coping mechanism to make themselves feel better.

While I don't hate it here,(but i don't like living here) if i didn't have to spend another day here, I'd be quite ok with it.
Some folks likely do really love it here. Others who may not likely keep quiet either due to a short-term stay or just don't want to be shouted down by those who take sport in such things.

I'm with you on not really enjoying being here and I even feel somewhat guilty for my lack of enthusiasm for the place but the heart wants what it wants sometimes and the heart has no reason.
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Old 22.06.2011, 21:32
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Re: Moving to Switzerland in August!

Wow, the general opinion on Switzerland in this thread seems to be utterly dismal, so let me give you my 2 cents
i've been to Asia, South America, all over the US, extensively throughout Europe (but never further east than Slovakia) and never to Africa. Ok, so a small amount considering the size of the Earth, but more than most i'd say.
Not one single place or country has in any way compared to the glorious country which Switzerland is. Things just work here. Don't worry about the folk being conservative or the fact that the main thing on their minds is cash (more so than anywhere else), just look at how everything works here: it's clean, fast, efficient, friendly and very safe. There's not the propensity for violence that seems prevalent everywhere else.
Sure, the food is better in Italy, hell yeah the humor is the best in the UK and Australia, shit yeah the Swedish women look better, of course the chilled-out warmth and love of many South American places obliterates Switzerland, but all-in-all this country is just sensational. Amazing lifestyle, wonderful countryside, good money, excellent services and if you bother your lazy ass to learn the lingo, then you'll find the Swiss to have an excellent humor level, more so than many other places i've been to. You disagree with me? Well make sure you speak the local lingo before you talk nonsense, as i'll surely thrash you in a debate about this
If you want to save cash here, then go to Germany, France or Italy for your shopping and dentist etc, no problem.
I won't bother mentioning all the multiple negative points all the aforementioned places have, but they're without a doubt more numerous than those found in Switzerland.
I've learned Swiss-German and High German to a high level of fluency, simply due to the fact that i wasn't lazy and didn't spend most of my time with the ex-pat community. I established swiss friends and they are extremely good, warm, caring people and i wont hear a word against it. If your experience has been otherwise, well perhaps it's a language thing, perhaps you've been unlucky, most likely you're the problem. Try going to your US midwest or south of france or liverpool and not speaking english, you'll get a crack on the jaw if you start your shit there. Most of the swiss are far more polite.
I've had various jobs here, from working on building sites, to clearing kitchens, cooking, IT, lots of stuff. Sometimes i've been strapped for cash, but now i have a house and i'm doing fine in my job. Worked hard to get it too. I feel sorry for all the poor women who seem trapped here in Switzerland due to your husbands, but tell me, would your lives have been so much better elsewhere? Unlikely, but who knows for sure.
The common metaphor in all walks of life is "it's what you make of it" and i'll tell you something, if you want a comfortable life, with excellent services around you, common decency, polite and sensible folk, an overall sane place where things inexplicably just work, then FFS, Switzerland is No.1 worldwide in my opinion. Disagree with this? Debate me over a beer if you dare
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