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Moving to Switzerland, general moving abroad advice

(8 Posts)
mumhum Fri 09-Oct-15 10:47:47

DH has just been offered a job in Switzerland, near Zurich, good relocation package including international school. Very excited but also very apprehensive! DS1 is 4 and has just started reception, settling in well. DS2 is 6 months so I am on maternity leave. I had planned to go back to work in Jan but we are likely to be moving Jan/Feb. My work had not been great when I left to have DS2 so I am not too bothered about resigning, although being a SAHM is not my preferred choice (either here or abroad) I think this is the best decision for the family. I speak good German so may find work when over there (I am a City lawyer). Just getting a bit stressed about practicalities, like how does the house get packed up when we still need somewhere to sleep and eat, what to do with our furniture (we will prob rent out our UK house) etc. Just looking for some encouragement/advice/tips from others who have made a move abroad with young DC.

mumhum Sun 11-Oct-15 14:36:55


PinkBallerina Mon 12-Oct-15 09:31:39

We're in CH but in the French part. Do you have your house/apartment in Zurich sorted yet? Have you been put in touch with a relocation agent in CH yet?

Once you have these sorted your next step is wrapping up your house in UK. You will probably be asked to find a number of relocation companies to quote for your move. I can recommend Crown, they are good. Your DH's company will probably choose the cheapest quote, what a surprise, so avoid getting a quote from a removals company that is not rated highly. When they come over to quote they will want to see and measure everything, including what is in the loft, so anything you don't want get rid of. Ear mark any expensive items of furniture and request that they are crated for the move, this will cost more but i have always struggled to get any kind of decent payout for damaged items in moves. A knock to an expensive Danish coffee table will ruin it but you will only get a small percentage of the cost in compensation because a knock doesn't make it unusable.

Day or days of the move are tough. Pack yourself and DCs enough clothes and toys to survive the duration of the packing, the period of the move when you will likely be in a hotel up until you are reunited with your boxes in your new house. I moved with a young baby and did the following - moved myself into a spare room in the house with baby and dog and everything we didn't want them to take because i was taking it myself and everything the foreman and myself had agreed would be packed at the last minute ie. travel cot and jumperoo and my bed. We were in prison in this room for a few days during the duration of the move but we had privacy.

Our foreman informed me a couple of hours before the trucks were finished packing that there was some space and advised me to take a trip to the nearest supermaket to stock up - nappies, wipes, the inside of those nappy bins, this all costs a lot more in CH than UK and we filled the remaining space up.

The removal comany will store your stuff until your new place in CH is ready for you to move in. I've spent this time in temporary accommodation and hotels. Make sure you pack for that.

You will arrive in Zurich in Jan/Feb there will be snow on the ground. DCs will need winter wear - snow suits and snow boots. Buy this in the UK in advance and save yourself a race to the shops upon arrival. A few other things you can do before leaving UK to save hassle on arrival are - get passport photos for all the family for your permits, get everyone's hair cut just before you go (took me a year to find a decent hairdresser in CH that didn't charge the price of a cheap holiday), buy some moving house presents for your DCs that will keep them busy during the unpacking period.

Good luck. Oh and don't forget your tea bags.

mumhum Mon 12-Oct-15 10:57:41

Thanks for that PinkB, very helpful and some great tips. Details of DH's package expected this week. I am feeling a bit less panicy today but likely to come back with some more questions. We have an agent coming round tomorrow about renting out our house, and I am enquiring about international school (currently on October break).

When did you move over? How old are your DC, have you managed to make new friends etc?

PinkBallerina Mon 12-Oct-15 11:24:33

We moved here when DC1 was a baby and DC2 was born here. Yes i have made lots of friends, i love it here. My DCs are in local school and so are fluent and that helps with local intergration for me too.

All DCs come home for 2 or 2 1/2 hour lunch so working is hard, most expat families have one SAHP in order to make it work. I work part time as an English teacher, it is all i can fit in. It wasn't my original calling in life but i like to have something else to do other than being a SAHM. I have friends here who were Drs, producers, back in London and they have all found something else to do - family photograhers, bakers etc and set up their own part time businesses. You will need to check out whether you are able to practice as a Lawyer here, CH is quite restrictive.

Next big question for you is apartment or house. Apartment living is quite restrictive. There are Swiss rules, which do vary, on things such as no appliance use after certain times, no washing machines in apartments (you use the communal ones on allocated days), no showers or toilet flushing after certain times. Be aware and ask questions about this when looking at apartments. And everyone is expected to observe 'silent sunday' so no lawnmovers, no laundry drying outside, no carwashing, no loud noise on a Sunday.

Goodluck, got to go, school holidays!

mumhum Tue 13-Oct-15 09:41:27

Does anyone have advice on pushchairs or baby carriers for snowy places please? I currently use an iCandy for DS1, loved it for DS1 and used until he was 2.5 except when out and about in the car when we had a Maclaren in the boot. Would the Maclaren's small wheels get stuck in the snow? It does fold up well though, only disadvantage of the iCandy. DS2 will be out of the Baby Bjorn soon, so maybe an Ergo is the way to go as I anticipate using public transport a fair bit too.

TortillaDeMaiz Tue 13-Oct-15 14:38:30

My recommendation is to book a hotel room for the time you will be spending in UK after your things get packed away and get a cleaner to do the final cleaning. Once in Switzerland you might also need to stay a few days in a hotel and even weeks or months in short term accommodation. Check if your DH employer have some sort of agreement.

First thing you need to sort out in Switzerland after your arrival is your resident permit (Auslanderausweis), then you can start searching for a place to live.

Check out for rental or buying. Like pp said, it is not so easy to find a house, mostly people live in flats, but these can be quite spatious. As well, there are some strange rules which are now old-fashioned, e.g. where I live people wash on sundays, some flats have facilities to install your own washing machine/tumble drier inside the flat, etc. When you see a place to rent it might be shown by the current tenant, so you can ask questions about the washing rota and other rules which could apply in the building. Houses with younger people living in it might be also more flexible with the rules.

If your children are going to international school, I think the timetable is a bit more extended so they won't have to go home for lunch home. If not, you can also arrange a "hort" or lunch daycare or a tagesmutter (childminder) if you intend to go back to work.

About the pushchair, the maclaren buggy might work well in the city where the streets are normally cleared very quickly after a snow fall. You might only struggle at crossings if the snow has been only cleared with a snow-plough. In smaller villages and countryside a three-wheeler might be more convenient to push through uneven snow paths.

All the best with your move!

PinkBallerina Mon 19-Oct-15 19:31:56

IMHO snow and pushchairs are not a match made in heaven. Try one of these...

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