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Old 21.08.2014, 15:37
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Moving to Switzerland - English only, am I mad?

Hi There,


I have 2 questions really...


1) What are my chances of finding work in Geneva without a qualification (I have experience though) in Account Management, B2B, Trade or really anything that I can get a job in English... If I cannot speak any French or German?

--> My bf has been offered a position here and at the moment I do not speak anything other than English.. he is fluent in French so its preferred to learn over German...
Would I be totally crazy in thinking I could find a job in Switzerland without having a second language?


2) If I moved to Switzerland and allocated the first month or even 2 months just to learning French:

--> Would that be enough time to actually learn anything solid?
--> Are there any classes / companies / courses, full time that you could recommend?


Thanks very much!
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Old 21.08.2014, 15:47
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - English only, am I mad?

1. in my experience, jobs are very hard to come by without fluency in the local language (in the case of Geneva, French). it is possible to find jobs with multinationals who are more than happy with only English, but those multinationals tend to move existing hires to Switzerland rather than hire new expats.

2. do not listen to what others may tell you, 2 months is not enough time to have anything close to the ability to live in a foreign lanaguage.

don't let this discourage you, of course, where there is a will there is always a way. but the move will be much, much easier if you have employment and a sponsoring employer BEFORE you move rather than finding one afterward.
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Old 21.08.2014, 15:49
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - English only, am I mad?

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Would I be totally crazy in thinking I could find a job in Switzerland without having a second language?
Can't really answer this as I don't work in finance but no, it wouldn't be totally crazy, there are many english-speaking work environments. Whether you can land one of these (fairly rare) jobs when there are many multi-lingual candidates is another matter... Depends on how confident you are that your skills are internationally sought and that your CV is one that will jump out of the crowd.

Quote:
2) If I moved to Switzerland and allocated the first month or even 2 months just to learning French:

--> Would that be enough time to actually learn anything solid?
No, not even close. I'd say a least a year of full time courses to get to any level of competitiveness on the business level. And maybe more to become fully confident
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--> Are there any classes / companies / courses, full time that you could recommend?
Can't recommend in Geneva but there are many around, some quite expensive too.

What I would recommend is giving a call to one of these schools so that they can give you an idea of how long their courses take, how long they expect to teach someone until proficient at business level, etc.
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Old 21.08.2014, 15:49
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - only english and no job - am I mad?

I'm wondering why do you want to come to Switzerland and from your post the reason seems to be "just" because you want to stay together with your boyfriend. This is a perfectly valid reason IMO.
If you are currently employed, moving causes you to lose your job then that is a significant cost of moving which needs to be considered.

I think the questions you should ask yourself is not if you are mad but

1. How serious you are about your relationship? If you are super serious, why don't you get it on paper and get married (as this at least protects you a bit more in case something goes wrong, as far as I understand Switzerland does not recognize civil unions for man-woman couples). If not, is moving to a position where you are very vulnerable (unemployed, away from family and friends, language difficulties) a good idea?

2. Have you considered what happens if you stay unemployed for a long while? Will your boyfriend remain understanding and happy to support you financially, will he resent that? Will YOU be happy with that situation?
From reports in the forum, trailing spouses can have quite a hard time.

If I was the boyfriend in such a situation I myself would want to provide the best conditions to have someone move with me, your boyfriend probably wants that too so it should be discussed openly what are the expectations on each side.

Sorry for the somewhat negative/realistic outlook but you should both really ponder things over.
If you would have an easy time getting back to the U.K. in case something goes wrong then you shouldn't worry as much about trying anyway.

If you are dedicated and really put the time in, 1 or 2 months can get you quite far in learning a language, but probably not "employment" level unless you are really studying it hardcore. It will depend a lot from individual to individual.

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Hi There,


I have 2 questions really...


1) What are my chances of finding work in Geneva without a qualification (I have experience though) in Account Management, B2B, Trade or really anything that I can get a job in English... If I cannot speak any French or German?

--> My bf has been offered a position here and at the moment I do not speak anything other than English.. he is fluent in French so its preferred to learn over German...
Would I be totally crazy in thinking I could find a job in Switzerland without having a second language?


2) If I moved to Switzerland and allocated the first month or even 2 months just to learning French:

--> Would that be enough time to actually learn anything solid?
--> Are there any classes / companies / courses, full time that you could recommend?


Thanks very much!
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Old 21.08.2014, 15:55
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - only english and no job - am I mad?

Just try and do your job today, without speaking to anyone, or understanding the instructions from your manager.

Yes you are mad, and stupid, to think anyone would employ you.

If you are young, and a wizard with children, you might get a job as an au-pair, but without enough French to call an ambulance, I would not employ you. It takes 3 months of intense study to be useful at work.
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Old 21.08.2014, 15:58
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Re: Moving to Geneva, with no job or 2nd language... Help..

I have only one question:

why have you decided to write 3 posts with the same content in 3 different sections of the forum?

http://www.englishforum.ch/employmen...-am-i-mad.html

http://www.englishforum.ch/language-...-am-i-mad.html

What, I'm having one of those days
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:06
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Re: Moving to Geneva, with no job or 2nd language... Help..

Sorry.. I thought I had to put it under the relevant sub headings.. not everyone looks at the same place..


I did realise after that its all linked.. whoops!
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:07
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Re: Moving to Geneva, with no job or 2nd language... Help..

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I have only one question:

why have you decided to write 3 posts with the same content in 3 different sections of the forum?

http://www.englishforum.ch/employmen...-am-i-mad.html

http://www.englishforum.ch/language-...-am-i-mad.html

What, I'm having one of those days
Perhaps the correct answer would be in the affirmative to the question asked by OP?

Would anyone go to another country with another language and expect to find work?
I know it is done, but mainly only in the manual labour market where communication is not a priority?
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:10
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Re: Moving to Geneva, with no job or 2nd language... Help..

Geneva is Private Banking with strict dress codes. Speaking french is one of the main criteria to survive there. Bringing qualified papers with you would be the second criteria.

Swiss banks are radically reducing employees these years - on all levels and in all variations. You love your bf, which is wonderful, but moving to Geneva with this setup might bring you many months of serious difficulties.

I work in Zurich, here you can survive with speaking english only. But papers would be important.
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:14
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Re: Moving to Geneva, with no job or 2nd language... Help..

Thanks!


A few responses and I think I've made my mind up already :/
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:16
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Re: Moving to Geneva, with no job or 2nd language... Help..

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Hi There,


I have 2 questions really...


1) What are my chances of finding work in Geneva without a qualification (I have experience though) in Account Management, B2B, Trade or really anything that I can get a job in English... If I cannot speak any French or German?

--> My bf has been offered a position here and at the moment I do not speak anything other than English.. he is fluent in French so its preferred to learn over German...
Would I be totally crazy in thinking I could find a job in Switzerland without having a second language?


2) If I moved to Switzerland and allocated the first month or even 2 months just to learning French:

--> Would that be enough time to actually learn anything solid?
--> Are there any classes / companies / courses, full time that you could recommend?


Thanks very much!
It will be very difficult for you to find a job with just English and little qualifications in Geneva. Having experience is good. But certainly not impossible.

Two months for French is not nearly anywhere near enough to be considered as have French skills. Unless you are some kind of savant.

German is completely useless for Geneva unless it's your third language and even then.
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:17
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - only english and no job - am I mad?

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Just try and do your job today, without speaking to anyone, or understanding the instructions from your manager.
I don't speak German in the office.. I do my job and understand my manager perfectly well here in CH
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:41
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Re: Moving to Geneva, with no job or 2nd language... Help..

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why have you decided to write 3 posts with the same content in 3 different sections of the forum?
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Sorry.. I thought I had to put it under the relevant sub headings.. not everyone looks at the same place..
Threads now merged.
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:47
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - English only, am I mad?

What you could consider is coming over here for a year as an au pair. You would attend a language course to learn French, help out around your host family's house and look after any kids some of the time.

Otherwise, with no qualifications and no language skills it'll be almost impossible to find work here. Only those who are highly qualified/skilled can get away with needing only English in the workplace.
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:50
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - only english and no job - am I mad?

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Just try and do your job today, without speaking to anyone, or understanding the instructions from your manager.
Quite easily done.

Plus, I don't have a manager.

Tom
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Old 21.08.2014, 16:51
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - English only, am I mad?

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What you could consider is coming over here for a year as an au pair. You would attend a language course to learn French, help out around your host family's house and look after any kids some of the time.

Otherwise, with no qualifications and no language skills it'll be almost impossible to find work here. Only those who are highly qualified/skilled can get away with needing only English in the workplace.

Thanks! I've au paired before and because its not a permanent move but rather just one for a year or two, this could be considered.

I didn't mention before but I have already started French lessons in the UK and know the basics.. but realistically it would mean nothing if I moved to a French speaking country! (for now!)
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Old 22.08.2014, 23:32
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - English only, am I mad?

I just moved here a few months ago with only English. I was a first year nursing student. To continue that here I need to be, beyond fluent in local language! I have young children so not as much free time to focus on learning it, I am getting there at a pace which I am satisfied with, but at this rate I don't expect to be back on a nursing course before my permit needs renewing

I think you do need the language tbh and if you don't have it and move anyway you have to be cool with putting everything on hold.

My husband came here to work with only English but it's an international company he already worked for

good luck!
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Old 23.08.2014, 13:44
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - English only, am I mad?

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1. in my experience, jobs are very hard to come by without fluency in the local language (in the case of Geneva, French). it is possible to find jobs with multinationals who are more than happy with only English, but those multinationals tend to move existing hires to Switzerland rather than hire new expats.

2. do not listen to what others may tell you, 2 months is not enough time to have anything close to the ability to live in a foreign lanaguage.

don't let this discourage you, of course, where there is a will there is always a way. but the move will be much, much easier if you have employment and a sponsoring employer BEFORE you move rather than finding one afterward.

A lot depends on practice. Some People are good in languages while others are good in mathematics.


In schooltime, I was MISTER BLABLA while the older brother did the calculating. As Mum told us "each of you alone is rubbish, but as a Team you are unbeatable"
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Old 26.08.2014, 22:05
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Re: Moving to Switzerland - English only, am I mad?

You need to figure out how well you could support yourself without a job - i.e. do you have some savings that will last you e.g. upto a year while you come up to speed with language and look for a job and could you live on one wage for a length of time.

I'm not saying its impossible, but you have to take into consideration that living in CH is expensive compared to the UK, plus being a trailing partner can place a strain on the relationship unless you have a clear strategy in place.

Perhaps the most important thing to do with respect to looking for employment in CH is having a good network of contacts - which will take a while to build up.

Cheers,
Nick
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