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SydneySwiss 21.07.2014 10:18

Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Hi all, I am so new to this so I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong place!!
To try and cut a long story short, my husband and I would like to relocate our family of four to Switzerland but don't really know how to go about it and are not really sure we know what we are in for.
He is Swiss but moved with his family to Australia when he was 12.
We have holidayed in Switzerland and we all fell in love with it's beauty and what seems to be a much more relaxed and quiet atmosphere in comparison to Sydney, Australia.
These are my burning questions and would love to hear from anyone who is willing to take the time to answer them!!
- Our children are 7 and 3, will my 7 year old be able to attend a local school without too much of a problem....keeping in mind that he only knows a few words in German?
- Switzerland seems to be a wonderful, wholesome place to raise children....is this a fair assumption or are we being too romantic about the place?
- Wil or Zurich? We have family in Wil but Zurich seems more international and English friendly?!?
- My husband is a Group Financial Accountant for a large international company (unfortunately no Swiss office) and he would prefer to gain employment in Switzerland prior to making the big move. Is this possible or does he need to be there to have half a chance?

That's all for now!!! So happy to have finally posted my questions.....thanks everyone!!

Medea Fleecestealer 21.07.2014 11:01

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Welcome to the forum. No, it's not an impossible dream, you just need to do some research and forward planning. :)

Firstly, the job. Your husband will probably need to get his qualifications recognised. You can find the department that deals with this here:

http://www.sbfi.admin.ch/diploma/017...x.html?lang=en

I assume he speaks German so once the qualifications have been sorted out, it shouldn't be too difficult to job hunt from Aussieland. The main thing is to promote his Swiss nationality; he's much easier to employ than if he has Australian nationality. Try these websites to see what you can find.

www.jobs.ch
www.jobup.ch
www.monster.co.uk (change the Location setting to Switzerland)

Alternatively, if you have enough money saved up you could move here first and then look for work after.

This may also help you with sorting a few things out:

http://aso.ch/files/webcontent/recht..._with_logo.pdf

Yes, the kids should be fine, they're at the age where picking up a new language is really easy and the Swiss schools seem to be good at providing extra support if it's needed. You'll probably find they're fluent in around 6 months of starting school and making new Swiss friends.

I also suggest getting hold of a copy of "Living and Working in Switzerland" by David Hampshire. It's full of useful info for both before and after you move here. It can be ordered via your local bookshop or the Internet.

Can't really comment on the accommodation conundrum; Zurich will be more cosmopolitan, but expensive. Remember that most people live in apartments here so if you think you'd prefer a house then really you need to be thinking of Wil or other suburbs of Zurich where houses are more likely to be found - and be affordable! Another thing to think about re apartments is that most apartment blocks will only have communal washing/drying facilities for clothes and you have a set day/time when you can do your washing. With two young children is once a week or even once a fortnight going to be sufficient? Some newer places have washer/dryers in each apartment, but it's not the norm here yet. Renting a house would give you to the freedom to do washing as and when it's needed.

To move here your husband will need to apply for family reunification permits for you all. What you'll need in the way of documents will be similar to the list for EU nationals I would guess.

https://www.ch.ch/en/family-reunification-eu-efta

You may need your marriage certificate and the kids' birth certificates as well. You and the children will need to apply for Type D visas at the nearest Swiss embassy/consulate.

London2010 21.07.2014 11:24

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Hi There,

How exciting that you are thinking of Switzerland! We moved to Basel Switzerland about 2 years ago. My husband is not swiss nor am I and he landed a job prior to coming which made life easy cause they provided a moving company and a bonus monetary amount for relocation which helped with the hefty deposit they wanted for the flat.

May I take a minute to promote Basle to you as an option!

Basel is very international as well, small town feeling, amazing place to raise a family; super safe I find, excellent public transportation system an international airport, beautiful parks for the kids its own english expat magazine to inform you of all the events on a monthly basis, cheaper rent than zurich and from what I am told easier in Basel to find an apartment than in zurich.

Also there are many playgroups that are english based for the expats in town. Look at BCT ( Basel Childrens Trust) and for your older child well the magazine will have many activities listed every month that are great. This city is filled with musuems which have activities sometimes for older kids. Also there is a fall festival that is great, a lovely christmas market, and of course the big carnival in Feb or march depending each year.

It is very expensive to live in Switzerland in general as you know from visiting the pricing is a little high...so if it was me I would want to move over here only if my husband had gained employment and the company will pay to relocate your belongings if that matters to you. perhaps you are looking for a short term living arrangement...


hope this helps all the best,

Cheers,

Pamela :msngrin:

tildaoz 21.07.2014 12:20

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
We're an Australian family who moved when our daughter was 2 years old. She's now very happily fluent and about to enter the fourth class. When she was in the first class there was a boy who started with no German at all who is now fluent and able to complete all the work. My husband and I spoke no German when we arrived, so having one of you speaking the language is a real bonus, especially when dealing with schools etc

From your own point of view, your 3 year old is your best asset when it comes to meeting people. I joined different playgroups with my daughter and we both made friends, which made a big difference. I have such little involvement with my daughter's school compared to how it would be in Australia, and that coupled with the fact she walks there by herself means I don't see other parents regularly, so it's important to develop a social network through other means.

We live in Meilen, which is about 15 minutes by train from Stadelhofen. There are quite a few English speakers here but we by no means live in an English 'bubble', which suits us perfectly.

Good luck with your planning!

rainer_d 21.07.2014 12:45

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SydneySwiss (Post 2201584)
- Wil or Zurich? We have family in Wil but Zurich seems more international and English friendly?!?
!

You can actually commute from Wil to Zurich.
I have a co-worker who does this, but he has asked for two days of home-office recently (which was granted).

Depending on where you live in Wil, commuting to Zurich and back will cost about 3h per day.

It's been over seven years since I worked in Wil and lived nearby, but it wasn't a bad city. The boss, coming from Zurich, referred to it as a "village", though. He claimed it didn't qualify for the city-moniker ;-).

I only commuted for about six weeks, and then I had enough and moved. I'm not a commuter-guy ;-)

banadol 21.07.2014 13:25

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
if you haven't already done this, you can apply for swiss citizenship for your kids through the swiss embassy. again this makes it easier and then only you will have to apply for a permit. it is very straight forward and won't take too long. you can even just register them with the embassy and then get them the passports once you arrive in switzerland (that's what we did, saves some $$).

we moved from nz, via germany, to smalltown switzerland, and as every place it has its advantages and disadvantages. my hubby is from sydney and always called himself a big city person but now loves provincial town living. i have family here, so i would definitely recommend moving as close to family as possible (but not too close for comfort). makes everything so much easier.

so sydney vs small town switzerland (which is assume wil would be):
+ hardly any crime
+ kids can walk to school
+ not car dependent as public transport is awesome
+ can't think of more but sure others could add

+/- living expenses are about the same, some things dearer some things cheaper
+/- four seasons, lovely spring, variable summers (ranging from wonderful to crap), colourful autumns and often cold and dreary winters (especially if you live around the zurich area)

- no ocean, beaches (for me that is a biggie but it might not bother you so much)
- the swiss are a bit hard to get to know and often resent change, but then as in oz (and anywhere else for that matter), not everyone's the same
- often less living space, no garden (but then lots of people do), more communal living although it often doesn't feel like it (people keep themselves to themselves)
- again others can think of more

just do it! you might love it, you might not. nothing is set in stone and you can always go back if you don't like it. it'll be an awesome experience if you have the right attitude. good luck!

banadol 21.07.2014 13:27

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
beer is much cheaper and better (especially german beers) than in australia my husband would like to add :D

An Expat Wife 21.07.2014 14:06

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
One thing that my Aussie friends in CH and UK always enjoy is the opportunity travel to other European countries.... its certainly easy from CH.

If this is something that is a long way off IE in a year or so, it could also be worth looking into applying for Swiss Citizenship whilst living in Australia. I have a friend who did it in NYC and she said it was much easier than if she had done it in CH..... might be worth looking into.

TobiasM 21.07.2014 14:13

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
I'll trade places happily, not that Switzerland is bad, its just a little dull and landlocked and generally uptight. Let the groans commence :msncrazy:.

evianers 21.07.2014 14:28

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TobiasM (Post 2201775)
I'll trade places happily, not that Switzerland is bad, its just a little dull and landlocked and generally uptight. Let the groans commence :msncrazy:.

We "traded places" and were subsequently desperately unhappy - that's just us and this probably applies to only a few others, but remember the maxim "the grass is always greener....." So this is why we are back in this area, very close to the CH border.

InShan 21.07.2014 15:59

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
I did the move Sydney to Zurich, my husband is non-Swiss but was resident in Europe already (in Germany) and had good German skills. I would say my husband and I have both loved our time (six years in October) here, for the following reasons:

1. We have taken advantage of our time here and have spent atleast one weekend every month travelling within Europe. We have also travelled extensively outside Switzerland - India, Mexico, North America, South America, North Africa etc. If you plan in advance, travel from here is pretty affordable.

2. We saved a lot, compared to what we would've been able to in Australia, given the similar cost of living, and increase in tax. However the key factors there have been both of us working, as well as budgeting and aggressive goal setting. We've also cut back in places after examining the costs and other factors such as health, and satisfaction with the services we've received (frequency of eating out, having a cleaner etc)

3. Switzerland has been a boon to us career wise. Both of us have managed to work for excellent organisations where we are both well treated, as well as well developed. Six years into our lives here and we are MUCH more developed than we would have been in Australia. Organisations here are much more willing to take a chance on junior staff than in Australia. However, I would also say we are aggressive when it comes to this and were both very lucky in our very supportive managers.

4. The ability to learn new languages- my German is now passable (sufficient to understand business conversation and occasionally contribute) and my husband has now got fairly business fluent French also. If I had school age children, this factor alone would make me want to move somewhere outside Australia, to develop fluency in another language in my child.

On the con side, we are moving back at year end (with a five year window to reassess our long term plan) for a few reasons:

1. We are having a baby shortly, and have zero family support here. Not that we need a 24/7 caregiver but the option of having siblings and parents around who would be delighted to spend time with our kid is pretty lovely. So is the fact that she will have cousins she can grow up with.

2. Being a mother here from everything I've heard is hard. The system is set up so that atleast one parent is strongly encouraged to be part time employed or a full time stay at home parent. I won't say more here, as I am not the voice of experience- but I'm sure others can elaborate or correct me if they disagree.
Day care is super expensive, and can be very difficult to organise (but I know it is in Australia also)

3. Might be just my experience, but in six years I have managed to make so few Swiss friends. I have a lot of friends who are like me, expats- even the ones that do speak fluent swiss german (the Swiss raised outside Switzerland) seem to have more expat friends than swiss friends. Its an insular place, where the friends you have are most of the time the people you grew up with. That's lovely, and charming but also can be very lonely and difficult.

4. The work/life balance. For me, 50 something work weeks, time during weekends etc is not unusual at all. This was something I loved while being just the two of us, but with a miniscule scrap of humanity dependent on us, having more reasonable expectations from work is extremely important. This again though might just be us.

I would say really perform an assessment of affordability for you (given your circumstances):
- whether you'd like your kids to attend local school or international school
- whether you'd like to own a car or use public transport
- what your child care costs/medical insurance costs etc are and if they'll be hugely different to what your current arrangements are

Socially:
- How well will you adjust without friends etc while you make some
- How important your environment is for you (Zurich is small compared to Sydney... I wouldn't have coped in Wil)
- What kind of activities do you and your kids enjoy? Travel? Surfing? Skiing?

Just thoughts off the top of my head. If there's anything more specific I can help with, feel free to PM!

I.

TobiasM 21.07.2014 17:52

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by evianers (Post 2201789)
We "traded places" and were subsequently desperately unhappy - that's just us and this probably applies to only a few others, but remember the maxim "the grass is always greener....." So this is why we are back in this area, very close to the CH border.


I find more and more people I meet have moved here for career purposes, mostly banking, economics or IT and they love being here because they can earn mega bucks. To me earning a shed load of cash is not as important as living in a vibrant uplifting place. I do enjoy being here, the outdoor activities are fantastic, but I often find the attitudes of people stifling and closed, its a landlocked island after all.

evianers 21.07.2014 18:00

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Yes, in most instances you are absolutely right.
We are retired however:msncool:

tildaoz 21.07.2014 18:43

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TobiasM (Post 2202007)
I find more and more people I meet have moved here for career purposes, mostly banking, economics or IT and they love being here because they can earn mega bucks. To me earning a shed load of cash is not as important as living in a vibrant uplifting place. I do enjoy being here, the outdoor activities are fantastic, but I often find the attitudes of people stifling and closed, its a landlocked island after all.

As opposed to the island of Australia, which is 'girt by sea' ;)

There's something intoxicating for us Aussies about the idea of living in Europe and being surrounded by so many other countries. Of course where you live really boils down, at least for most of the time, to your local community, as that is where you spend so much of your time (work, school, shopping, play etc etc etc).

But I must say, I love living here for so many reasons, many of them to do with the way we see our daughter growing up. There are downsides, too, naturally enough, often to do with the language and the cultural differences that sometimes seem negligible but other times so big. But on balance, I would say that most days we have no regrets, and it's got nothing to do with shed loads of cash :)

AnAustralian 21.07.2014 22:17

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
If you have been married longer than 6 years you can be naturalized to be granted Citizenship. Check Article 28. You can apply whilst in Australia. It takes 1 - 2 years. Your children should be automatic due to your husband being Swiss.

SydneySwiss 22.07.2014 09:34

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Thank you everyone for posting such informative responses. My husband and I have been reading them all and it's certainly given us real food for thought. I would have thanked every post individually but I don have a clue how to do that (if someone can tell me how that would be great).

Please keep posting cos this is really a huge help........! What a fantastic forum, so glad I found it:)

London2010 22.07.2014 09:42

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
you are very welcome and good luck to you and your family on whatever decision you decide. :)

Medea Fleecestealer 22.07.2014 09:43

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SydneySwiss (Post 2202434)
Thank you everyone for posting such informative responses. My husband and I have been reading them all and it's certainly given us real food for thought. I would have thanked every post individually but I don have a clue how to do that (if someone can tell me how that would be great).

Please keep posting cos this is really a huge help........! What a fantastic forum, so glad I found it:)

You need to make 10 posts before the "thanks" button will appear on the bottom righthand side of a post you want to thank. So post a few more comments/questions and then you should be able to do it.

SydneySwiss 22.07.2014 10:07

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Medea Fleecestealer (Post 2202444)
You need to make 10 posts before the "thanks" button will appear on the bottom righthand side of a post you want to thank. So post a few more comments/questions and then you should be able to do it.

Ohhh, I get it! Thank you:p

ElChe 22.07.2014 12:10

Re: Hoping to move from Sydney to Zurich! Are we dreaming??
 
I'd trade ya for a while. I would love to live in Australia. ;)


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