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Old 16.05.2018, 16:29
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PhD in Zurich from Canada

Hello,

my name is Steven and I am going to be moving to Zurich in September to start working as PhD candidate in the physics department. I am currently finishing up my Masters Degree in Ottawa, ON, Canada and I have not yet been to Zurich. I did spend 2 months in Geneva/CERN last summer and absolutely loved my experience there.

However I did not get a full extent of experience in living conditions in Switzerland because I stayed in France(Saint Genis-Poully) and my Canadian institute covered everything including rent and per diem.

In Zurich, my nominal salary is 47,040chf and I've been doing some research about the cost of living and etc. I am planning to live in the outskirts of the city, and will likely going to be trading my car in Canada with my friend's car who is currently living in Geneva. I am also planning to arrive with my wife and she is a French citizen.

There are several questions I would like to ask the people who live there. I would appreciate it greatly if I could get in contact with anyone from the area.

Thank you
-SJL
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Old 16.05.2018, 16:55
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

Hi Steven,
welcome aboard.
I'm currently ongoing interviews for Switzerland. I'm thinking of going for my PhD sometimes after I arrive.

Have fun in Switzerland.
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Old 16.05.2018, 17:52
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

There are lots of people from the Zurich area, or who have lived there, on these forums. Just ask your questions, good luck and enjoy Switzerland.
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Old 16.05.2018, 18:59
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

Welcome to the forum and soon to Switzerland. There's lots of useful info/links in the various sticky threads so have a look at those first and see if your questions are already answered.

I'd also suggest you get 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. You can order it from your local bookshop or via the internet.

First thing you need to do is check how swopping cars would work here. Cars have to be registered in the canton their owner lives in so if your friend is moving out of the country you may need to re-register it in Zurich with the various attendant costs plus car insurance of course.
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Old 16.05.2018, 21:38
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

Thank you everyone,

I have been reading some encouraging and discouraging threads so far.

In particular I am concerned about the cost of living for the two of us, and the potential scamming. We both currently live without TV, we do not go out to restaurants often(we instead play music together), and most of our cost will be spent on residence and groceries.

From what I read online, I cannot find any place for rent in September. Most of the decent rental locations seem to be only available until Sept 30 awaiting for demolition and some place ask for a share of ~10,000chf which is not a totally new concept to me since these do exist in South Korea(I am originally from Korea) but I would want some clarification for these.

What do these property shares represent? Is this regular in Zurich? Also, is there a reason that the online market completely lacks rental properties only available for June and July? I would like to prepare, and have a place to live starting on day 1 or earlier.

Furthermore, there are a lot of information that I am hoping to get from the University since I've read that they are going to be working on my VISA and accidental health care insurance. I am going to ask them further about the spousal rights.

I am also going to be learning the Swiss-German. Likely through my University. Learning a new language is something that I've done before. I speak English, Korean and a little bit of Canadian French. Also my wife speaks French, English and Spanish and we are both eager to learn German+Swiss German.
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Old 16.05.2018, 21:41
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

I should also mention we are aiming to come well supplied in terms of electronics and clothing to last until the next point we return to Canada(near December) to bring more provisions.

We are hoping to almost exclusively contain our living cost to food and rent for the first year.

I've read that this is "doable" but not too comfortably.
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Old 17.05.2018, 05:55
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

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I should also mention we are aiming to come well supplied in terms of electronics and clothing to last until the next point we return to Canada(near December) to bring more provisions.
As long as you remember that afaik voltage in Canada is different from what we have in Switzerland.
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Old 17.05.2018, 07:41
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

You need to factor in health insurance for both of you as well which could be around 300-400 a month each depending on what options you choose. Play around with this:

www.comparis.ch

The way Swiss health insurance works is that you select a franchise of between 300 and 2,500 francs. The lower the franchise, the higher your premiums and vice versa but whatever figure you choose is what you'll pay before the health insurance kicks in. So if you choose 2,500 then you have a medical bill for 245 then you pay that 245, not the insurance company. Once your franchise is used up then the health insurance picks up 90% of any bills, you pay the remaining 10% (part quote in French). This applies for the next 7,000 francs worth of cover (your share 700 francs 10%). After that the health insurance picks up everything - until it all goes back to square one at the start of the next year.

Most rentals will be looking for long term renters, but you can find some that are for shorter periods. Quite often people have to use temporary accommodation before finding a permanent place so be prepared for that.

www.immoscout24.ch
www.immostreet.ch
www.homegate.ch
www.home.ch

Private rentals, i.e not through an agency:

www.petitesannonces.ch
www.anibis.ch

Be prepared to put down 3 months' rent as a deposit and make sure this goes into a special rental deposit account.
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Old 17.05.2018, 09:26
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

He can get swisscare for 100f/m with a deductible of 300f
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Old 17.05.2018, 09:32
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

That'll help. Couldn't remember if they still covered PhD's.
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Old 18.05.2018, 04:27
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

Most of our electronics are really laptop with exchangeable power adapter plugs for 50/60HZ 110~220V and rest of it off of the USB.

I think I can best say I am scared of the financial situation.

Living off of 47,040 chf nominal, split in 12 months and 20% on tax leaves me with
3136chf - ~1500chf on rent
1636 - ~400chf on health care
~1236chf for living for 2. I do have some savings for 3 months deposits. I also wanted to ask

the 3 months deposit, how does that work? Does some that money go toward the first month's rent?
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Old 18.05.2018, 05:55
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Re: PhD in Zurich from Canada

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the 3 months deposit, how does that work? Does some that money go toward the first month's rent?
Sorry, no.

Edit: you could issue a guarantee instead, check here on the forum how that is done? No idea about the cost involved

Last edited by roegner; 18.05.2018 at 06:36.
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