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Old 14.04.2012, 01:44
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Dreaming of the Alps

Hello. I am a college student studying German and French. I am not fluent in either yet, but hopefully within the next few years I will be.

After I graduate I plan on taking a year off, and working in the states. After that (about 4 years from now) I look to move to Switzerland. I absolutely love the country, and would love to live there.

Any advice on how to make this dream happen? What should I be doing to prepare? What employment options are there for me?

Ideally, eventually, I hope to get a job in the fashion industry, but that probably will be something that will happen years down the road.

I am really anxious about moving to Switzerland, I just know very little about how to do so. Thanks for your help!
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Old 14.04.2012, 02:09
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

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Hello. I am a college student studying German and French. I am not fluent in either yet, but hopefully within the next few years I will be.

After I graduate I plan on taking a year off, and working in the states. After that (about 4 years from now) I look to move to Switzerland. I absolutely love the country, and would love to live there.

Any advice on how to make this dream happen? What should I be doing to prepare? What employment options are there for me?

Ideally, eventually, I hope to get a job in the fashion industry, but that probably will be something that will happen years down the road.

I am really anxious about moving to Switzerland, I just know very little about how to do so. Thanks for your help!
Hello Bally and welcome to the forum.
Without sounding too harsh, I would like to give you a clearer picture of your possibilities. For one, unless you are an individual with a unique skillset, then it is virtually impossible to find a job in Switzerland which would enable you to stay. Also, your choice in studies I totally support, but you need to be well aware, that in this part of the world, there are ample people fluent in all of those languages and then some. The fashion industry in Switzerland is almost non-existent and so are almost the availabilities of fashion related jobs. My advice to you, keep studying your languages and maybe do a couple of semester abroad, this will enable you to stay here for a while, gain credits towards your degree and get a feel for the country. Also, I know quite a few people who are doing their PHDs here...but they are focused in the medical/research related fields. I don't know you personally but I sense, that you're still young and changing your course of study may be a feasible option. I for instance, changed my major from physics to business, as the school which recruited me didn't offer physics at a higher level.
This being said, don't get discouraged by my message, do your research on the country, be patient and resilient and eventually you may get the opportunity to move Switzerland. Life's funny like that sometimes.
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Old 14.04.2012, 02:34
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

Thanks for your reply. While I recognize it doesn't change the intention of the post, I figure that it is worth mentioning I am also studying communications. I am majoring in French, so I will have the possibility to teach if I'd ever like, and I am just studying German for fun. I mentioned that I will be fluent in those languages not to show skill, but rather just to let you know that I can communicate sufficiently.
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Old 14.04.2012, 13:07
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

Just to underscore what LIB says...

In the present political and economic climate, it is very, very difficult for an American - actually, any non-EU citizen - to immigrate to Switzerland.

From a political standpoint, there is a growing feeling that 'the boat is full', calls for curbs on immigration are becoming ever more strident. There is a great deal of anti-immigrant feeling among the general population.

Switzerland can do nothing to limit immigration from the EU, thanks to the free movement of people treaties. What they didn't expect when those were signed was that the world economy, Europe in particular, would go down the drain. Suddenly EU folks are immigrating to Switzerland in far larger numbers than ever before. Switzerland is a tiny country, and simply can't absorb the numbers that are coming.

So since there can be no limits place on EU immigration, when met with demands to reduce immigration the only response the Swiss government can make to severely restrict non-EU immigration.

In order for a non-EU person (non-famiy reunion) to obtain a permit, one must first have a job offer. In order for a job to be offered to a non-EU, a company must first prove that there are no CH or EU citizens who possess the skills needed and who are available and willing to take the job. The authorities are cracking down on this. To give you an idea, in better economic times my husband's company used to get whatever permits they requested, for anyone - the process was more or less a rubber stamp. Nowadays they are being told that even after an extensive search for a CH or EU candidate they still may not hire non-EU. They are being told to lower the requirements so that a CH or EU candidate will qualify.

And it gets worse - permits for non- EU employees are not being renewed; people who have been here years are being told 'sorry, this job needs to go to a CH or EU citizen, time to go home".

This by the way, is a very large MNC.

(The company has stopped hiring non-EU all together, and is instead moving open jobs to other countries.)

So unless you are highly skilled - actually, unless you possess unique skills with many years of experience behind you - you will face very high barriers to entry.

Life for a non-EU citizen here is very precarious these days. Even those of us with C permits (permanent residence) are getting a tad nervous.

Now is not the time for a non-EU citizen to be dreaming of the Alps. Well, you can dream, but you would be better off establishing your career first. Until you can bring something to Switzerland that no one else can, until one is a proven money-maker, proven positive contributor, Switzerland has no incentive, or reason, to let a non-EU person in.

Harsh - but that's the reality for non-EU folks in these difficult economic (and political) times.

This could all change once (if) the world the economy improves. But until then, concentrate on getting yourself established. Keep dreaming - but be practical.

I truly wish you all the best.
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Old 14.04.2012, 14:02
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

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Thanks for your reply. While I recognize it doesn't change the intention of the post, I figure that it is worth mentioning I am also studying communications. I am majoring in French, so I will have the possibility to teach if I'd ever like, and I am just studying German for fun. I mentioned that I will be fluent in those languages not to show skill, but rather just to let you know that I can communicate sufficiently.
HOw about ending up with a teaching qualification, getting at least two years of practical, classroom experience in the USA, then joining the International circuit for teaching. It may take time, but could eventually lead you to Switzerland. You could be looking at being a specialise language teacher, or an elementary school class teacher, where having French and/or German will be an asset in some places. YOu could even get the opportunity to be developing your fashion interest through design technology, etc.

To get an idea of what it is available, take a look at the TIE website, which caters well for American teachers. Also have a look at the Search Associates website, the TES Jobs one, and the CIS websites.

Last edited by biff; 14.04.2012 at 14:03. Reason: spelling - sticky keyboard :-)
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Old 14.04.2012, 15:22
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

Follow your dreams and fight for them! There will be setbacks, disappointments along the way, but if you have an Alpine dream, go for it! We did, against all advice from friends, relatives and economic situation and two years on, the dream lives on!

Good luck, you reach an exciting crossroads in your life!
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Old 15.04.2012, 01:10
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

thanks for the help everyone! i am thinking it would probably be better for me to move to france. my french professor told me that there is a governmental program to bring native english speakers into france to teach. hopefully that would allow me a chance to find permanent european employment.
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Old 15.04.2012, 18:15
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

Remember that a big portion of the Alps is in France! So your alpine dream can materialise. Enquire around Annecy, beautiful!

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thanks for the help everyone! i am thinking it would probably be better for me to move to france. my french professor told me that there is a governmental program to bring native english speakers into france to teach. hopefully that would allow me a chance to find permanent european employment.
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Old 15.04.2012, 18:27
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

I'd second the notion that getting a teaching credential and using that as a springboard to teaching overseas would be a great way to get here. That's the reason I'm here!

If teaching isn't your thing, have you considered the US government foreign service? It is competitive, but with a background in German, French and communication, it might be worth a shot. Western European posts are particularly hard to come by though.

Good luck!
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Old 15.04.2012, 19:03
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

Schools will not take non-EU teachers. If you don't have an EU passport, don't count on teaching credentials to get you here.

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I'd second the notion that getting a teaching credential and using that as a springboard to teaching overseas would be a great way to get here. That's the reason I'm here!

If teaching isn't your thing, have you considered the US government foreign service? It is competitive, but with a background in German, French and communication, it might be worth a shot. Western European posts are particularly hard to come by though.

Good luck!
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Old 15.04.2012, 20:22
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

juliamargaret - My professors, from France, assure me that it is a viable career option.

Also, what about tourism? Is there any sort of tourism industry I could work in that would allow me to travel?
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Old 15.04.2012, 21:14
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

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Schools will not take non-EU teachers. If you don't have an EU passport, don't count on teaching credentials to get you here.
Uum, yes they do.
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Old 16.04.2012, 12:53
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

Come here to improve your fluency in German and French (nothing like a stay in the country where the language is spoken) and fall in love with a Swiss girl
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Old 16.04.2012, 14:09
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Re: Dreaming of the Alps

I agree with the recommendations to come and study. Once you've experienced it you may find your opinon has changed.

If you want to work in fashion, consider Milan or Paris. As Lib said, Switzerland isn't the place, though there are some freelance fashion designers based here.

Language fluency isn't as imporant as the work skills. People who speak a language are a dime a dozen in the job market. Knowing English will be your strongest linguistic asset, but your work related skills will be the most important of all.

And from one American to another... the grass isn't always greener. Aside from it's beauty, Switzerland also has its flaws, and a considerable amount of them. Even the US, despite its flaws, has a considerable amount awe-inspiring greatness. Just don't watch Fox News.
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