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Old 16.09.2011, 00:22
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Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

Hello all

I moved to Zurich with my husband 6 months ago. He's doing great since he's Swiss so he's really happy about being back home. I on the other hand am struggling with this move. Coming from Dubai, where i had a great social life and job, to Zurich has been extremely hard for me. I find it extremely hard to make friends here, the swiss are extremely reserved! Not to mention the huge language barrier.. I am really interested to hear from other expats on how to "survive" switzerland. Any tips on how to start making friends? Any tips on learning german?

I'm losing my mind here.....

W
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Old 16.09.2011, 00:29
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

Welcome!

Do you have kids? I am building up my social network through them. Playgroups, coffee mornings at school, I go to all of them. And it works...I now have coffee and lunch dates etc.

Without kids maybe you can join a sport club.

Also on the event thread on this forum there are quite a few things going on in Zurich. Just take the plunge and go to some of those. Everyone was in your shoes once so they know how you feel!!!!

Good luck
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Old 16.09.2011, 00:38
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

Hey SwissAstrid,

No kids.. Just me, my husband, cat with lots of attitude and a confused german shepherd

Thinking of joining a Yoga/ Pilates studio where the instructor speaks English so fingers crossed...

Thanks for the tip will keep an eye on it

W
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Old 16.09.2011, 00:44
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

Welcome to the forum
Sorry you're feeling blue... I've been here for 10 years and it took me the first 2 years to feel better (and I was working!).
You will meet people and make friends, don't worry about that. It will just take a little time. Give yourself some time to get over the culture shock and hang out here on the forum. You're guaranteed a bunch of laughs over here
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Old 16.09.2011, 00:49
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

2 yrs???? oh well back to feeling sorry for myself i guess
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Old 16.09.2011, 00:55
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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2 yrs???? oh well back to feeling sorry for myself i guess
Oh I'm just a drama queen and enjoy wearing my pathetic shoes so don't worry, it won't take you that long
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Old 18.09.2011, 10:00
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

An option is to join the WAC (Womens Activity Club) in Uster which is about 15mins from Zurich by train. If you google their website the contact detals will be available. The majority of members all speak english and they organise activites.

As far as german the Klubschule Migros have well priced lessons that start at the basic level and then you need to practice
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Old 18.09.2011, 10:58
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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Hello all

I moved to Zurich with my husband 6 months ago. He's doing great since he's Swiss so he's really happy about being back home.

We need to start a forum here called "my parter is Swiss" because this brings an entire new set of challenges for the one who is not. Sometimes I think we need a support group for dealing with unique set of issues such as Swiss inlaws.

My advice to you, other than joining English speaking groups or activities as already suggested, is to really make an effort to learn the language. Those married/partnered to a Swiss seem to fall into two categories, those who are happy to rely on their partner to communicate for them, and those who make a serious effort to learn the language. If you are here for the long term, it makes sense.

Language acquisition as an adult is a challenge and a lot of Swiss partners do not understand how difficult it can be. For some couples I know where one partner is Swiss, it helped to have lived in a country where neither partner spoke the local language and had to learn it as English was not widely spoken.

6 months is really not a long time though I know it can feel like it. Hope things get better for you.
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Old 18.09.2011, 22:45
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

Dear W,

Perhaps this could be something that would help, if you felt comfortable with the idea:

Free coaching - Zurich Area - do you want help to make a change?

I couldn't find the answers for you, as I am just relocating to Switzerland myself, but I could help you to find the answers...

Cheers John
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Old 19.09.2011, 01:04
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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An option is to join the WAC (Womens Activity Club) in Uster which is about 15mins from Zurich by train. If you google their website the contact detals will be available. The majority of members all speak english and they organise activites.

As far as german the Klubschule Migros have well priced lessons that start at the basic level and then you need to practice
Hey Wallabies,

Thanks for the tip, will check it out and try to find them online. I tried the Migros Klubschule did the intensive course for 2 months but they kept rotating teachers and by the end of the 2nd course the whole class still couldn't construct a sentence in German. Maybe we're a stupid bunch...
I'm now having my Husband's cousin tutor me once a week but its true i need to put more effort into it. I think i still can't get my head around high german vs Swiss german. It feels like you need to learn one language and then sort of learn another dialect. Couldn't the swiss have come up with a language that includes both speech and writing?? I'm also a bit shy so that sometimes stops me...
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:20
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

Hey Waa
..How are you!!Its funny I could recognise you.(the German shepherd and the arrogant cat),Catch up sometime.We are still english speaking ppl

E (from klubschule)

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Hello all

I moved to Zurich with my husband 6 months ago. He's doing great since he's Swiss so he's really happy about being back home. I on the other hand am struggling with this move. Coming from Dubai, where i had a great social life and job, to Zurich has been extremely hard for me. I find it extremely hard to make friends here, the swiss are extremely reserved! Not to mention the huge language barrier.. I am really interested to hear from other expats on how to "survive" switzerland. Any tips on how to start making friends? Any tips on learning german?

I'm losing my mind here.....

W
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Old 19.09.2011, 11:54
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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Coming from Dubai, where i had a great social life and job, to Zurich has been extremely hard for me. I find it extremely hard to make friends here, the swiss are extremely reserved!
Were the locals really that friendly so quickly to give you a great social life?

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....Not to mention the huge language barrier.. I am really interested to hear from other expats on how to "survive" switzerland. Any tips on how to start making friends? Any tips on learning german?

I'm losing my mind here.....

W
Was Arabic more easy to understand?

Was their culture more similar to your own than the culture of the Swiss?
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Old 19.09.2011, 17:58
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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Were the locals really that friendly so quickly to give you a great social life?



Was Arabic more easy to understand?

Was their culture more similar to your own than the culture of the Swiss?
Hey Tom,

Well i was born there and lived there all my life however Dubai is an expat driven country. The actual local population is such a small precentage and some of them avoid the expacts and have their own circles while others intergrate with the expats. Since i'm an arab the language is no barrier. However, the main langage used in Dubai is English since its a common language all expats use there. Dubai is extremely multicultural and you tend to meet people from different parts of the world which i find to be extremely refreshing. Dubai doesnt have one set culture ( which some find to be a negative thing or a positive thing depends on your oulook really) if that makes sense.... and most people are extremely friendly and open. With that said life in Dubai is great as long as you dont do drugs ( zero tolerance) Get drunk and stupid in public ( again that depends on luck and who you're with) and have sex on the beach ( again zero tolerance) Just need to be smart about things and remember at the end of the day you're in the Gulf. Some of my friends loved it there and others hated it so it really depends on what you're looking for.
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Old 19.09.2011, 17:59
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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Hey Waa
..How are you!!Its funny I could recognise you.(the German shepherd and the arrogant cat),Catch up sometime.We are still english speaking ppl

E (from klubschule)
E?? is that you? Give me a call and lets meet sometime... Are you still doing the german classes?

W
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Old 19.09.2011, 18:21
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

Welcome.
The temperature must be a real shock for you and sorry to say it's going to get a whole lot colder. How about joining a ski club as the season will start in a couple of months and its such a laugh learning to ski.
Big advantage is you will not need to drive everywhere as the public transport is much better then Dubai and you don't need a licence to buy booze from a shop.
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Old 19.09.2011, 18:31
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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Welcome.
The temperature must be a real shock for you and sorry to say it's going to get a whole lot colder. How about joining a ski club as the season will start in a couple of months and its such a laugh learning to ski.
Big advantage is you will not need to drive everywhere as the public transport is much better then Dubai and you don't need a licence to buy booze from a shop.
Well i'm really looking forward to experiencing all 4 seasons. Dubai is either extremely hot or pleasant depending on the time of year. Never tried to Ski but im thinking of giving it a try. Never take yourself too seriously i guess Any recommendations?

You're right, the public transport here is amazing! Driving is bit of a challenge at times still trying to get used to the narrow roads and the whole alcohol license thing is so true!! it was such a hassle...
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Old 19.09.2011, 18:40
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

Funny, I was made two offers when I chose Switzerland and the other one was Dubai. I was told you couldn't possibly have picked two more different options.... I absolutely loved Dubai and especially how easy it was to make friends but here was the better job (or so I thought at the time)

Having said that, there are some good expat groups that are easy to integrate here - you'll find expats are just as eager to make connections since between language and cultural barriers the Swiss are not always easily approachable. I'm in Zug which is probably a bit easier because its a small town. But even in Zurich. I'll let you know next time we have a night out in Zurich, promise!
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Old 19.09.2011, 18:53
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

I found this link but can not say if it is any good. Maybe another EF'r can advise
http://sites.google.com/site/isczch/home
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Old 19.09.2011, 21:36
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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Hey Tom,

Well i was born there and lived there all my life however Dubai is an expat driven country. The actual local population is such a small precentage and some of them avoid the expacts and have their own circles while others intergrate with the expats. Since i'm an arab the language is no barrier. However, the main langage used in Dubai is English since its a common language all expats use there. Dubai is extremely multicultural and you tend to meet people from different parts of the world which i find to be extremely refreshing. Dubai doesnt have one set culture ( which some find to be a negative thing or a positive thing depends on your oulook really) if that makes sense.... and most people are extremely friendly and open. With that said life in Dubai is great as long as you dont do drugs ( zero tolerance) Get drunk and stupid in public ( again that depends on luck and who you're with) and have sex on the beach ( again zero tolerance) Just need to be smart about things and remember at the end of the day you're in the Gulf. Some of my friends loved it there and others hated it so it really depends on what you're looking for.
Welcome to the forum!

I wasn't trying to be rude but I did wonder whether you were moving from an isolated ex-pat community where no-one mixes with the locals into one where you were just trying to mix with the locals, and saying it was much more difficult.

There isn't that big community here (at least not where I live) which, IMO, is better as I've never seen myself as an expat.

The locals are friendly once you get to know a few but greetings etc are quite formal. Having kids is a great ice-breaker.
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Old 19.09.2011, 22:20
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Re: Hello moved to Zurich from Dubai

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Hey SwissAstrid,

No kids.. Just me, my husband, cat with lots of attitude and a confused german shepherd

Thinking of joining a Yoga/ Pilates studio where the instructor speaks English so fingers crossed...

Thanks for the tip will keep an eye on it

W
> Let's start with the dog. I don't know where you have your lodgings, but countless dog-owners regularily go to the Allmend . Start at the Restaurant Kantine
www.findanddine.ch/#/lokal/5349/wirtschaft-zur-kantine/8002-zuerich/kontakt/
and from there follow the dogs and their owners. Not all the owners speak English but many

> over to the cats
--- here two associations of cats-lovers in Zürich, you might check, as I have no idea whether either is something for you
http://www.zuerileu.ch.vu/
www.katzenfreunde.ch/UeberUnKont.html

> and over to German. Start a course in Standard-German in a school you can easily reach. This gives you the basics of the language. And then, when you have got a basis, gradually venture out into the dialects. Do not forget that "Swiss-German" is not ONE dialect but a group of half a dozen main dialects and dozens of sub-dialects. THIS is why I advise to start with the Standard language. All newspapers and magazines are written in Standard German, and the news and much else on TV (and also radio) is in Standard German as well. And so are manuals, instructions for machines, etc. And not only commercial but also private correspondence is done in Standard German
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