Life in Zurich(9 Posts)
hello, i've been in zurich for 4.5 years (my husband got a good job out here). Our older daughter (6) is in the local Kindergarten, little one is in a krippe. Pluses about the local system: great for language skills (DD1 speaks good swiss German), heavy emphasis on the outdoors (forest weeks etc), lots of play, independence. Cons: terrible hours for working parents (the Swiss system is HEAVILY biased in favour of a 1 working parent model), the fact they don't learn to read/write until 7 freaks me out, even though they catch up, my German is poor so I don't fully understand what's going on, DD1 is perhaps a little bored. We couldn't afford the international school anyway, so it was an easy decision to make. I am perhaps unusual in that i don't love it here (I loved london) but equally I don't hate it. I would like to move back to the Uk eventually. However, it's a very individual thing - for some people it's paradise. In my experience, the people who really love it are the families who are very happy to have a SAHM and a working dad and are also on fat cat expat salaries (bitter emotion; ). Learn German! Good luck, pm if you have questions. ps we live near Horgen/Thalwil.
We are vaguely wondering about moving back if find good jobs as it's so wonderful in many ways. But reasons we left were important too so I mustn't forget those!
I feel it's a far better quality of life than where we are in central London but so many friends we made left after a year or two years. We found it hard to fit in and are very easygoing friendly people but there didnt seem much of a culture of inviting expats in . But we haven't forgotten how much freer DD was to enjoy the outdoors etc and how relaxed we were as soon as left work as felt like a constant holiday with the mountains etc.
Ps most people I know come for a year, don't like it here and go back, or love it and stay forever. Lots of rules and quite expensive cost of living, Swiss not super friendly, but standard and quality of life, safety etc. fantastic.
I'd recommend living in a town with lots of expats already then you will easily get to know people through activities with your youngest and maybe through your H's work, if there are quite a few English speakers then they'll likely have wives and families, we expats always in for meeting new Brits and are pretty friendly. Gold Coast priciest to live but lots of Brits in Kuesnacht, on silver coast Thalwil choc ful of English and Americans, also Horgen and Waedenswil. Try www.homegate.ch to see about rental prices etc.
Zurich is wonderful and so much to do with kids all seasons. Good blog is something like Moms and Tots in Zurich. Today is a public holiday and most people mooching about at the badi ( outdoor swimming pool or lae beach) bliss......
This site should give you some ideas for activities for pre-schoolers too.
La Leche League operates over there but your dc are probably a bit beyond that . Lots of tots groups though like Kindermusik, Forest playgroups and kindergartens and there is the International Ski Club which runs weekend lessons for kids and adults in English in Jan/Feb. Expats who send kids to international schools do tend to stick together and Swiss can be reticent about mixing, initially at least. If you take up language classes then you will probably meet a mixture of nationalities.
Thanks @LIZS I have already joined both the swiss/zurich yahoo groups.
If we go, then yes it will be indefinitely. On the german front we will be happy to revisit the language I have gcse level but it feels like I would have to start again
We'd like to get as much out of the experience and yes we feel intergration will be key to the success of going/living there. Dh is loving the outdoor swimming/walking/running and is already looking forward to the skiing in the winter.
Do you know if they have anything like the NCT over there, It was a real life line for finding new mummy friends when moving over here?
I would recommend joining this group and the Families in Zurich one. We left there over 5 years ago so my knowledge is rather dated but you would find established Expat communities on either side of the lake. Are you there indefinitely ? Swiss schools are an acquired taste and I know few Expat kids who have successfully seen it through despite the best of intentions and planning to stay long term . Bear in mind that your 9yo will only have 2/3 years to catch up the language in time for secondary transfer and then it is a 3 tier selective system. It is a lovely city in terms of lifestyle and ambience but if you can get ahead with German and when there Swiss German as that is crucial for supporting a child in local school and sustaining non Expat friendships. Where you live and the sort of accommodation will largely depend on whether you are getting financial support from dh's company and how much you want to integrate. Good luck
My husband is currently contracting in Zurich and has let me know that there is the possibility of his role becoming permanent. He's been there since April and we have visited him a couple of times as a family and more recently on my own.
I've grown to like what I've experienced of the city but I would be really interested to hear from anyone whose lived in Zurich with children.
We have a 9 yr old and a 3 yr old, on the schools front we would want to put them into the community schools although the youngest I wouldn't need to think about for a while.
Ideally we would like to live on the Silver or Gold coast? But I would want to be near a good expat community.
Advise on areas to live, school life and how you've found settling in would be much appreciated.
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