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Old 30.06.2011, 20:22
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Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

Greetings! I am moving to the Zurich area with my wife and two boys (ages 2 1/2 and 6 weeks) this September with my firm. My wife and I are headed to Zurich the week of July 11th for a house hunting trip - where we'll be shown around by a relocation company. The relocation company told me to narrow down our search to a few areas, so I am in the midst of compiling a list of where we'd like to explore.

I've spoken to colleagues who have had positive experiences in Thalwil, Horgen, and Wadenswil - so I spent some time looking through previous threads trying to get an overview of each. We don't have too many items on our wishlist: 5 mins walk from train, 25 mins or less train to Zurich, walking distance to playground for my kids, would be nice to be close to shops, etc.

I do not speak a spot of German just yet, so a neighborhood with some other ex-pats would be great. Any ideas? Are the neighborhoods my colleagues recommended a good starting point? I have read a few dozen posts, but there are hundreds on here, so I want to make sure I spend my time wisely.

I appreciate any assistance you all can provide - we are all super excited for this upcoming adventure!
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Old 30.06.2011, 20:24
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Re: Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

Welcome to the forum.

I am a little biased as I live in Wädenswil, but Thalwil is where I reckon more expats are, plus it has a very railway hub.
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Old 03.07.2011, 23:08
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Re: Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

That's what I've heard - thanks for the confirmation. I will let you know how my wife and I fair - we're leaving for CH next Saturday - so excited! I am thinking of checking out a bunch of the areas on the western part of the lake - seems like there are a good number of options there. Although, I've heard mixed things about how few places are available to rent. Time will tell!
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Old 03.07.2011, 23:52
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Re: Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

If you can, hire a car and try to spend a day or so just driving around the small towns along the lake. I don't know the 'gold coast' so well, but have become very familiar with the ones on the other side that you mention.

Thalwil, Horgen, Wadenswil, Richterswil are all nice places right alongside the lake. They are all mid-sized towns, and big enough to have at least 2 supermarkets in each. They also have quite large ex-pat communities and are close to international schools. Trains to Zurich are fast and frequent -- 3 or 4 times an hour.

Don't get too worried about finding somewhere within 5 minutes walk from the station. The stations tend to be down by the lake, but the higher up the town you are, the better the view over the lake, and across to Zurich and the mountains. So it's a trade-off. Some prefer the closeness to the bahnhof, others prefer the balcony and the great panorama.

Thing is, within all these towns there are great places and probably not so great places to live. So it's not just the town but the accommodation you're able to find. Most of us would compromise on some things to get a brilliant apartment.

Glad you're excited. You will find a range of opinion about life in Switzerland but for most of us, it was a great move to make. Personally, I love the lifestyle, the beauty of the country, the sense of safety, and the efficiency of the public transport. Some people moan about the Swiss people but I have had no bad experiences yet. Prices are high, but salaries are generally high too -- so it evens itself out.

Good luck.
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Old 04.07.2011, 00:28
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Re: Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

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My wife and I are headed to Zurich the week of July 11th for a house hunting trip - where we'll be shown around by a relocation company. The relocation company told me to narrow down our search to a few areas, so I am in the midst of compiling a list of where we'd like to explore.
Usually it is the relocation company who is supposed to make their recommendations and narrow down the search for you based on your needs, wishes and housing budget.

There is nothing wrong with giving them suggestions based on input from colleagues, and of course, this forum, but for you to be expected to narrow down the search sounds rather odd to me.
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Old 04.07.2011, 02:21
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Re: Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

Thanks, peterg. I definitely agree with being flexible on our asks...and I've not heard a negative thing about the Swiss public transportation, especially in Zurich - so I'm hopefull we will have plenty of options in a number of areas. As for being excited, I think all of my family/friends/colleagues can vouge for that - it's about all we've talked about for the past few months.

Thanks also for the heads up, Mrs. Doolittle - I did explain to the woman at the relo comapny that we had zero knowledge of the area - but also explained what our wish list was, and she said she'd take us around - but did ask that we talk to a few folks who have lived there. She is the same representative who assists people from my firm and knows of others in our situation that I could reach out to, so I did which was helpful in narrowing our search a bit.

I'll let you know where we land.
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Old 04.07.2011, 11:07
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Re: Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

Hi Buddy,

Since you don't speak any German, I'd recommend going on busuu.com and learning a few words. People seem to appreciate you starting off in German until you can't do any more, and then quite a few of them switch to English.

Also, first thing I did when I got here was introduce myself to the neighbours. Lots of free advice (and cake) if you do that.

Regarding the places you mentioned, they're all beautiful places.
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Old 04.07.2011, 11:32
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Re: Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

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Welcome to the forum.

I am a little biased as I live in Wädenswil, but Thalwil is where I reckon more expats are, plus it has a very railway hub.
I second Wadenswil. It has a great high street and a nice little market on Saturday mornings.

Au is just down the road. Has a railway station and is quiet. Most of the people in our street seem to be families from all nationalities with young children.
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Old 04.07.2011, 12:45
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Re: Two parts excited, one part overwhelmed

Thanks, LordNacho (great name!). I actually just bought an iPad and found an app from busuu to start helping learn German - now I just need my newborn to stop fussing for five minutes so I can start practicing. Appreciate the tip to pick up a few things and show effort in learning the local language - I'm really looking forward to emmersing myself into the local culture as best I can.

Tom1234 - Haven't heard of AU until now - will definitely check it out. I did a quick search and found a property for sale there - and to be honest, I hope the area isn't outside of our price range. We are looking to rent since we'll only be there for 3 years, and were hoping to stay around 4,000 CHF per month. But the area looks great so maybe we'll get lucky.

I really appreciate all of the tips!
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