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Old 15.02.2010, 20:16
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hello! moving to zurich in september/october

Hi all!

My husband just accepted a job at ETH Zurich and we will be making the move late september/early october with our daughter who will be about 6 months old (i'm due in a few weeks).

I have been searching this site and have found it very useful. There are so many things to think about and take care of for our move and it's a little overwhelming! Thanks for this site though- it's been very helpful so far.
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Old 16.02.2010, 08:28
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

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Hi all!

My husband just accepted a job at ETH Zurich and we will be making the move late september/early october with our daughter who will be about 6 months old (i'm due in a few weeks).

I have been searching this site and have found it very useful. There are so many things to think about and take care of for our move and it's a little overwhelming! Thanks for this site though- it's been very helpful so far.
With an overseas move there are many details to care of and most everyone feels overwhelmed at some point. Not all will admit it.

The level of the position at the ETH may have a bearing on whether you are provided with relocation assistance, which may include finding you temporary housing, as well as the services of a relocation company to assist with your search for permanent housing. It does help to have someone here locally who can help you as from a distance it is very difficult to do much. Do you know what residency permit you will be given? In my experience with ETH families, permits do vary.

First things first, you are about to have a baby. Now that is exciting. So personally I would forget about the move for now. It's months away and this far in advance will give you too much time to get stressed. I prefer shorter lead times before a move, less time to get stressed and it is easier to find housing for a move that is not so many months away.

Good luck with the birth of your daughter.
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Old 27.05.2010, 20:59
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

thanks for the reply! well- i have had my baby and its now time to start stressing about the move. just got off the phone with allied van and they quoted me $13,000 for the move. we dont have that much we'd like to take. a queen sized bed, my daughter's crib, some dressers and then just dishes and cookware. my husband's job is providing about $4000 so now i've got no idea what to do!
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Old 27.05.2010, 21:12
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

Hi Melissar

My wife and I and baby are also moving to Zurich from Cape Town in late Sep/early October. When we are all there it would be nice to meet another new Zurich couple with a baby - my daughter was 6 weeks old yesterday.

Good luck with the final planning.
Peter
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Old 27.05.2010, 21:20
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

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thanks for the reply! well- i have had my baby and its now time to start stressing about the move. just got off the phone with allied van and they quoted me $13,000 for the move. we dont have that much we'd like to take. a queen sized bed, my daughter's crib, some dressers and then just dishes and cookware. my husband's job is providing about $4000 so now i've got no idea what to do!
Welcome to the forum! I hope your move goes smoothly.

Have you considered buying things when you arrive? You could consider this as there are stores such as IKEA and Conforma that aren't too expensive.

Otherwise, try searching the forum. Perhaps you can find another moving company. Here's an example thread with suggested moving companies for people moving from the UK: UK to Swiss Move - moving quote/companies?
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Old 27.05.2010, 21:43
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

peter- that would be lovely! our daughter is 11 weeks old tomorrow- can't believe how fast the time is going!

bookworm- we are checking with his company to see if we can just purchase new stuff with the money or if it has limitations on how it can be spent. i really am just hoping to get stuff at ikea when we arrive as i think it will be easier. thanks for the thread suggestion. i have spent the better part of the morning going through old posts and did not find too many recommendations for those moving from the U.S. though we have asked his job to connect us with an American whose brain we can pick about their experience.

and then there is the whole finding a place to live thing! i can't wait to actually just be over there- i am so excited for that part. the rest of this is a bit of a pain!
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Old 27.05.2010, 21:53
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

Speaking as somebody who moved from another continent to Zürich (Australia in my case), good on you for taking the plunge!! It's very daunting, but as others have said it's doable ... how long are you planning to be here? That will also influence how much you'll want to bring, as if you're going back in only a year or three ... :/

Still, welcome again and a warm welcome to your baby!
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Old 27.05.2010, 21:55
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

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Speaking as somebody who moved from another continent to Zürich (Australia in my case), good on you for taking the plunge!! It's very daunting, but as others have said it's doable ... how long are you planning to be here? That will also influence how much you'll want to bring, as if you're going back in only a year or three ... :/

Still, welcome again and a warm welcome to your baby!

Thanks! We'll be here at minimum three years, with a possibility of extending his contract up to 12 years.
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Old 27.05.2010, 22:17
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

Hello and welcome! My husband and I moved from California to Zurich three and a half years ago (with two cats and a dog, but no babies!) and we're expecting our second child in two months (the first is 18 months old). We also both work at the ETH Zurich as postdocs, so if you have questions about moving from the US or life at the ETH (we also use the day care center there, which is really great), maybe we can help...

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 27.05.2010, 23:13
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

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Hello and welcome! My husband and I moved from California to Zurich three and a half years ago (with two cats and a dog, but no babies!) and we're expecting our second child in two months (the first is 18 months old). We also both work at the ETH Zurich as postdocs, so if you have questions about moving from the US or life at the ETH (we also use the day care center there, which is really great), maybe we can help...

Cheers,
Chris
thanks chris! what field do you and your wife work in? my husband is in astronomy.

we are also moving with 3 cats! how did you move your pets over? also how'd you get your stuff over?
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Old 27.05.2010, 23:16
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

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thanks for the reply! well- i have had my baby and its now time to start stressing about the move. just got off the phone with allied van and they quoted me $13,000 for the move. we dont have that much we'd like to take. a queen sized bed, my daughter's crib, some dressers and then just dishes and cookware. my husband's job is providing about $4000 so now i've got no idea what to do!
Congratulations on the birth of your daughter.

As for shipping, all of these items can be acquired here so it is really not worth shipping household effects if you are going to be out of pocket. I am sure that there are things you want to bring that will not fit in your baggage allowance and I would talk to a consolidator.
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Old 03.06.2010, 12:51
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

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thanks chris! what field do you and your wife work in? my husband is in astronomy.

we are also moving with 3 cats! how did you move your pets over? also how'd you get your stuff over?
I work in biochemistry and my husband works in molecular biology.

As for the pets, we brought them over with us in the airplane (the passenger compartment), but we had to take two separate flights, since they generally only allow one pet per cabin (we could have taken one first class ticket and one coach, but that was too expensive). Since you have three cats, you'll have to put them in cargo, which is how we transported our dog (he's too big for the cabin). It's not a big deal-you'll be way more stressed out than the cats-one of ours survived 24 hours without food or water with no accidents and was sleeping on our bed the night we arrived. I have all the information that is US specific if you need it (it involves the USDA, Fedex, your local vet, and a specific microchip). One absolutely critical tip: bring some (clean) litter for them once they arrive-one of our cats wouldn't use a litterbox until I put some of the familiar stuff on top of the Swiss brand.

Actually, since you have a baby and pets, you might want to think about separate flights-maybe a few days apart so the first one to arrive can get food and essentials before the second arrives. Either that or have someone over here that has everything you need for the first few days. It's hell to move so far-we had my husband's parents help us out for the first week!

As for our stuff, we decided to bring the minimal amount we could (mostly because we had no money), so we sent it by US post (we paid less than $1000 to move our things). Everything we wanted to keep but couldn't bring got shipped to my mother's basement. We sold all the furniture and kitchen stuff (remember that most electronics won't work here anyway). Our total was 12 book-sized boxes, so it was pretty much like moving into a dorm. We bought everything from IKEA once we arrived. It was actually pretty liberating-I can highly recommend it.

Finally, do you have an apartment yet?
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Old 04.06.2010, 17:15
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

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I work in biochemistry and my husband works in molecular biology.

As for the pets, we brought them over with us in the airplane (the passenger compartment), but we had to take two separate flights, since they generally only allow one pet per cabin (we could have taken one first class ticket and one coach, but that was too expensive). Since you have three cats, you'll have to put them in cargo, which is how we transported our dog (he's too big for the cabin). It's not a big deal-you'll be way more stressed out than the cats-one of ours survived 24 hours without food or water with no accidents and was sleeping on our bed the night we arrived. I have all the information that is US specific if you need it (it involves the USDA, Fedex, your local vet, and a specific microchip). One absolutely critical tip: bring some (clean) litter for them once they arrive-one of our cats wouldn't use a litterbox until I put some of the familiar stuff on top of the Swiss brand.

Actually, since you have a baby and pets, you might want to think about separate flights-maybe a few days apart so the first one to arrive can get food and essentials before the second arrives. Either that or have someone over here that has everything you need for the first few days. It's hell to move so far-we had my husband's parents help us out for the first week!

As for our stuff, we decided to bring the minimal amount we could (mostly because we had no money), so we sent it by US post (we paid less than $1000 to move our things). Everything we wanted to keep but couldn't bring got shipped to my mother's basement. We sold all the furniture and kitchen stuff (remember that most electronics won't work here anyway). Our total was 12 book-sized boxes, so it was pretty much like moving into a dorm. We bought everything from IKEA once we arrived. It was actually pretty liberating-I can highly recommend it.

Finally, do you have an apartment yet?
thanks for the info. my husband will likely be going over a few weeks before me so that should work for moving the cats.

we do not have an apartment yet. i keep checking homegate and this forum though it is still too early for october rentals it seems. my husband may travel to zurich in august or september to try and find a place. any tips for that?
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Old 08.06.2010, 17:23
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

well we have learned that we can use his moving allowance to buy new things once we arrive so it looks like we will sell most of our possessions, store some stuff at our parents, ship a few boxes worth via USPS, and then buy what we need at IKEA.

now i just need to stress about finding an apartment!

thanks to everyone for their helpful advice in this post.
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Old 09.06.2010, 09:51
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

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thanks for the info. my husband will likely be going over a few weeks before me so that should work for moving the cats.

we do not have an apartment yet. i keep checking homegate and this forum though it is still too early for october rentals it seems. my husband may travel to zurich in august or september to try and find a place. any tips for that?
Oh, the apartment search. It's true that it's too early for October rentals, so coming in August or September is better. Jan actually did this for us-he came about two months before, stayed for two weeks and rented our first apartment-I moved in sight unseen!

What you'll need:

A letter from your husband's employer at the ETH: The department secretary should be able to take care of this-it states his income and might say something about how quiet and studious you both are. This is really important, since you won't have the equivalent of a credit report. If you have any Swiss acquaintances that are willing to say how quiet you are, you can also include their contact information on your rental forms.

An address and a phone: This can be your husband's work address until you have an apartment-ask the secretary if it's okay to have things sent care of him or her. There's not a lot of email communication, so rental contracts are sent by mail, and acceptance is by phone or by mail. Phone is a bit more tricky-get a cell phone ASAP.

Money: There are no personal checks here and people generally don't use credit cards for deposits, so you'll need cash (3-4 months rent) to take to the post office (where you can pay bills using a payment slip, called either an orange or red slip depending on the color). They give a receipt, which is critical for a paper trail. By the way, smaller grocery stores and other shops don't always take credit cards (and you won't have a maestro card-the debit card here) for a while, so you'll need a fair amount of cash in general!

A copy of your permits, if possible. Especially his. He'll need it to open a bank account, buy a cell phone, etc. Also, have photocopies of your passports. Also, it would be nice if he can set up health insurance before you and your daughter arrive, in case of illness. Technically you are covered from the moment you arrive, even if you haven't chosen an insurance company yet, but it's MUCH easier once you have the insurance card in hand (I had a doctor refuse to see me before I had my insurance card-I very much doubt this would ever happen for a child in this country, however).

Transportation-he should consider renting a car for visiting apartments if he's a confident driver and takes some time to figure out the Swiss rules before he gets here (they're a little different). Otherwise, use public transportation-its very good, as I'm sure you know. Also, the ETH has special rates with Europcar for longer term rentals/higher mileage and it's own fleet for short term short mileage (i.e. going to IKEA). You can both drive on your US license for the first year (exactly one year-don't test the Swiss on their precision!)-then you have to switch to the Swiss license or retake the driving exams.

Other tips:

we usually applied for apartments as soon as we could get the application, even if we hadn't seen the place yet. Many places are run by apartment managing companies, not the owners. They tend to choose first appropriate candidate (which appears to be mainly how much money you make-about 25-35% of salary for rent is considered affordable. Much outside of that (on either end, weirdly) will make you an inappropriate candidate.

We also included a cover letter stating our situation (in german of course). Being a family is usually a plus-so definitely say that you have a new daughter, and keep it short.

Be on time to the viewings, especially if the rental form is there. Talk to the current tenant(s) if they're showing the place. Sometimes the landlord or management company asks for a recommendation from the current tenant. Oh-on time means 10 minutes early.

Ask for help from future colleagues-with written translations, phone calls, directions, opinions about apartments. People here are incredibly nice but you must ask-they won't necessarily offer (it's too forward). As long as your husband is appreciative (chocolates, a bottle of wine, a round of beers, whatever), people will really take time to help out-and everyone knows that it's hard to find a place here.

Make sure he brings a digital camera-so he can send you photos of the apartment and the neighborhood.

That's all I can think of for now, but I'll let you know if I think of something else. Good luck!
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Old 09.06.2010, 10:05
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

[QUOTE=melissar;838267]well we have learned that we can use his moving allowance to buy new things once we arrive so it looks like we will sell most of our possessions, store some stuff at our parents, ship a few boxes worth via USPS, and then buy what we need at IKEA.

Having moved from the U.S. to Europe (more than once...), my two cents (and three words) - worth of advice is: less is more. For a family of four, we ended up only filling half a moving truck, mostly with books/papers needed for work, some clothing, some other personal stuff. We gave away or sold nearly everything else: transporting beds bought at IKEA across the Atlantic just doesn't make much sense. Besides, if you are at the grad student/post-doc stage, you (hopefully!) haven't acquired that many material possessions to load you down. My sister is fond of saying that things reverse themselves over time, and that after a while it isn't the case that we have possessions but the other way around - all those things we think so important start to possess us... So moving is an opportunity to get rid of things in boxes you haven't peered inside in the last 3, or 5 (or 10...) years, and a way of liberating yourself from the chains of materialism. Moving, you see, can end up being an ideological project!

Send me a private message if you want more serious advice, though!

J.
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Old 09.06.2010, 11:27
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Re: hello! moving to zurich in september/october

Oh-and don't bother bringing your linens-the bed sizes (and crib sizes) are different in Europe, so your sheets won't fit!
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