Advanced search

Living in Switzerland

(27 Posts)
muminthealps Fri 03-May-13 14:21:33

Out of all the places that I have lived iver the past decade, Switzerland is probably my favourite. It's so pretty! I have come to live the alps in all seasons (and almost all weather conditions). Does anyone out there have a similar experience???

woolymammoth Thu 30-May-13 20:02:34

That's great if you're already speaking Swiss German, it will make it so much easier!

I still remember making my first phone call in German (I speak a clumsy mix of High German and Swiss German and have somehow picked up a Dutch accent along the way?!) to book an optician's appointment. Not rocket science but it gave me a real confidence boost to have been understood!

Don't totally discount using Yes, there are some snippy responses but I've found it really useful and informative especially if you have a particular query. I even got a job after following a link someone posted there. I haven't used it much in the last couple of years (switched to MN after the birth of my daughter) but I remember they didn't particularly like vague questions such as 'can we survive in CH on a salary of 150,000CHF?' and they expect you to have at least tried the search function.

I use the C&C in Chur too smile It's good for large quantities of frozen meat and also for fruit and veg that you'll easily get in a British supermarket but are hard to find here sometimes especially out of season. Mange tout springs to mind!

As for nappies, after I got through the hundreds of Pampers my mum brought over for me I switched to Lidl's own brand and I find their sensitive wipes brilliant too- my DD suffers with eczema and these don't give her any problems.

Driving here is generally fine. The roads are a lot less congested (with the exception of the motorways around the major cities) and much better maintained than in the UK. When it does snow, they get it cleared quickly and you'll have winter tyres on your car anyway. There are 'snow-driving' courses you can take to make you more confident and if you don't want to risk it then you can pretty much guarantee the buses and trains will still be running on time! I knew I'd been here too long when I caught myself tutting that the bus was running 3 minutes late smile

Hope the interview goes well tomorrow!

chocolateshoes Thu 30-May-13 11:14:25

DH has just seen an ad for a job at the university of Zurich and we are seriously considering it. Anyone know anything about it?

SwissDutchy Wed 29-May-13 18:25:05

Great! That's good to know as I too am an anxious driver.
DH actually knows the area around Chur very well as he spent many years there and also my SIL lives in that area, so when I told him about the cash and carry he said: Oh I know that! Handy grin

I guess it will always be a jump in the unknown but I am sure it will be easier once you are there and also that DH is Swiss. He can help with all the necessary paperwork etc and make sure we all have a good start there.

Speaking high German wasn't a problem in the past but now I am making a mixture of Swiss German and high German due to the fact that DH always speaks Swiss German to us. Joining voluntary groups etc will definately make things easier also to get intergrated.

Thanks for all the good tips smile I am very sure they will come in handy! But first lets see what Friday brings grin

GraduallyGoingInsane Tue 28-May-13 12:18:34

Driving is fine! I'm a nervous driver and go quite steadily, particularly if near a drop - the locals get a bit frustrated when you don't hurtle down mountain passes at 100mph but I never experienced road rage beyond the odd honk of a horn!

The motorways are fab - unless you're right by a city they tend to be free of traffic jams which makes a refreshing change!

My exP (pre kids) had a Prattigau accent/dialect which was virtually inpenetrable but you soon get used to it. I spoke 'high' German before I moved there, and found the majority of the authorities and formal forms used that. The locals understood me when I spoke in High German, so I'm sure they will understand you!

I really recommend Graubunden, particularly if you can avoid the really touristy bits. It's just gorgeous, and the people are lovely. I drove to Germany a couple of times from there and it was probably about an hour and a half (to Friedrichshafen) so not too bad. There is a good cash and carry in Chur for nappies etc too.

I'm so envious, I'd love to move back there! Unfortunately DH's work will keep us within the UK and he has no German at all so it's unlikely to happen.

SwissDutchy Tue 28-May-13 11:41:33

Wow thanks all for the nice responses. I did look at some other forums and yes they are not very positive there, which doesn't help with the descision making proces haha wink.

We have always said once we get children we move out of London but now that the time has come it is a bit harder then anticipated. However whenever we go over for visits I do love it there, I guess it is mainly the starting over in a new country thing that makes me quite anxious. Also the point of dealing with authorities in conversational German is a fair point. I guess you learn over time

We wouldn't move to DH's hometown, which is in Appenzell, so quite a bit away. I know DH's accent so if we would have moved to his hometown, I am sure I would at least understand majority of what the people would say to me! Not sure if they would understand me wink.

We were initially looking for something close to the German border for bi-weekly shopping trips such as pampers & long lasting stuff. I think we have to make it now a monthly thing if we are going to live in the Lucerne area grin.

He is going this Friday for an interview so that's quite exciting! Let's see what will be the result from that!

How about driving? Any experiences with that?

woolymammoth Sun 26-May-13 20:37:10

Ooo Gradually, I'm in GR! Just looking out the window and hoping the snow-level doesn't come down any lower- I put out my geraniums last week wink

Swissdutchy: The biggest thing for me was learning the language. Well, two languages: High German for reading and writing and Swiss German for being able to understand and converse with DH's family and the locals. It's a slow process but I'm getting there.

My experience here has been made a lot easier by the fact that we live in the village where DH grew-up and his family have lived for generations- I was accepted straightaway. I also made the effort to integrate by joining the 'ladies exercise group' and volunteering at events. Would you be moving to your DH's hometown?

But the prices... they still make me cringe. More than £20 for a pack of Pampers!

But I do LOVE it here. It is stunningly beautiful; hot in summer; snowy in winter; kids still grow up playing in the streets; the chocolate is fab; it is cheese and bread heaven and above all it is wonderfully EFFICIENT.

PM me if you want to know anything.

(hoi zämma to the unterlanders up-thread!)

snowcone Sun 26-May-13 20:03:03

I would also suggest that if you are thinking about whether to move to Switzerland, that you don't look at unless you absolutely need information on a particular topic. The people who post on there mostly are complaining about their bad experienced or applying their individual experience to everyone and everything in a hugely diverse country. The ones having a great time and enjoying Swiss life have no time to spend online!

snowcone Sun 26-May-13 20:00:42

I think we definitely have a better quality of life in Switzerland than in London. The reason being that we now have a child and we want to live outside the city. Here we can live 35 minutes direct train from the city centre but rent a big house with a big garden in a small village next door to farms, so we have both the easy commute and the more relaxed lifestyle. There are always seats on the train, dd has much more outside space, fresh air, animals, etc. I feel it's harder to do that in London as it's a much bigger, crazier city. However I know that some people who live in the really popular areas here experience the transport pressure I hated in London. I think the sheer effort of dealing with authorities when you only speak conversational German is the hardest thing for me, but couples with one Swiss partner don't have that problem!

I do miss our old social life, and all the opportunities to do things that there are in London, but realistically we wouldn't have had the same lifestyle in London with a child than we had before anyway. I'm also worried that if I give up the job I was lucky to find then I'll never find another one because my German isn't good enough. But if I don't give it up then I have to go back to work after 4-6 months maternity leave (14 weeks is legal minimum and you can in theory extend it if breastfeeding) as I really liked having longer off work with dd. I like earning money as it's quite an expensive place to live, but I also want to make a concerted effort to become more fluent in German and it's impossible to do this when working all week and looking after a child in the evening. So basically, the things I think and worry about now are not the same things that i used to worry about in London. When family come to visit I ask for cadbury's flakes, custard cremes, but tbh only because of the novelty not because I actually miss anything anymore.

I think if you have the opportunity to live abroad when your children are young it's worth thinking seriously about, as you don't need to worry about interrupting education, and there is the opportunity for them to absorb a second language. If thats also their heritage then there are even more benefits especially if they have family here. Switzerland is not that far, it's easy to go back and visit or to move back if you hate it. You just have to be prepared to put a bit of effort in to get the most out of it.

GraduallyGoingInsane Sun 26-May-13 07:36:25

Obviously that's delighted.

GraduallyGoingInsane Sun 26-May-13 07:35:56

I spent a good few years in the German canton of Graubunden and loved it! I later lived near Geneva in the French part and I must say, I prefer the German side. The locals were much more accepting and friendly, and I'm still in touch with many of them.

I agree with the beauty - every time it snowed I'd be in awe of how pretty it was, but when spring came I'd be equally deligjted

luxemburgerli Sun 26-May-13 07:30:16

For me it was the different language SwissDutchy. That and having a big lunch and bread/cheese type dinner smile

SwissDutchy Sat 25-May-13 21:44:59

Gosh I'm so glad I have found this thread. DH is from Switzerland and would love to relocate DD and me there wink. We would then go to the area near Luzern.

I have my reservations and would love to stay in London. However I do think we might have a better quality of life in CH then in London. It's a really though decision to make...

What was the biggest thing you had to get used to when living in Switzerland?

snowcone Sat 18-May-13 10:58:22

I've been living in Kt. Zurich (outside ZH city) for the last 3 years and pretty happy here at the moment. I don't think it's forever as my German will never be good enough to feel truly at home, but my daughter is growing up bilingual so i hope that will help me improve. It's a lovely place for children to grow up but I think is harder for adults to adapt as it's culturally very different to the UK, US etc. I've seen a lot of people unhappy here because they want it to be just like 'home'.

spamm Fri 17-May-13 11:58:46

I grew up in Switzerland, in the French speaking part, and i think it is a good place to grow up. But i left on a one-way ticket in my early 20s and have never looked back. There are a lot of good things about the country, and it is certainly beautiful, but I disliked the small-mindedness and the casual racism. I am sure it is evolving - I hope it is - but it was not for me

luxemburgerli Fri 17-May-13 11:53:24

That's true Wally - I've heard others saying things in a complaining tone that I would have said in an impressed tone grin

WallyBantersYoniBox Thu 16-May-13 16:33:51

Ah not too far from me in Basel Land then!

I know what you mean. But I also think it's a personality thing, you either love it or hate it!

luxemburgerli Wed 15-May-13 19:12:41

I'm in Aargau, and my area is also very relaxed. I like the efficiency too, things get done like they should and you know what to expect.

WallyBantersYoniBox Wed 15-May-13 11:57:12

What area are you in lux?

WallyBantersYoniBox Wed 15-May-13 11:56:06

Yes I am in my third year here and love it. I live in Basel though. Although it's a German canton I find it very relaxed.

I actually love the organisation of the German Cantons, and I love the efficiency. I don't actually favour the French side, Montreux always seems to dirty.

I was in Lugano over the weekend and it's great down there, but the Gotthard tunnel would really put me off. I hate the traffic jams just to get home. It turned a 6 hour drive into a 12 hour drive on Sunday.

luxemburgerli Sun 12-May-13 11:29:55

Out of interest, what is it about the German speaking cantons that (some) posters didn't like?

ripsishere Tue 07-May-13 01:41:11

No. we spent three miserable years in Zug.
I will never set a toe back in the german speaking cantons.
Italian and French were better.

SucksToBeMe Sun 05-May-13 19:55:56

Used to live in Zurich and bloody loved it! If I could move there permanently I would choose Geneva though. As far as nations go, I'd be hard pressed to find any negatives.

<maybe cost of living?>

EspressoMonkey Sun 05-May-13 19:48:20

Love CH too. We have been here 2 years. We are in Romandie though. Not sure i would like the German part

luxemburgerli Sun 05-May-13 12:54:02

I have been here a year and really like it too smile

I've lived in several countries and all have/had their good and bad points obviously. But Switzerland is one that seems to click with us, regardless.

coffeeinbed Sat 04-May-13 23:05:07


Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now