Friday, August 12, 2011

So You Want to Move to Switzerland

When Brian first mentioned the slim and distant possibility of a job in Switzerland, I was all over it like cheese on grits. For those who know me, I like to know everything about everything, so I did some research on what's involved with working and living in Switzerland and, more specifically, the experience of being a foreigner living in Switzerland. Here are the various resources I have used, for anyone else considering a move to Switzerland, or just curious.
  • My first resource was a PDF document put together by the Swiss government on working and living in Switzerland. My favorite sentence: " expenditure is highest worldwide with the exception of the United States." Touché.
  • I read a number of blogs of people who moved to Switzerland from other countries (generally the US, but also the UK and Australia). It has been really useful to hear about others' experiences and try to learn from them. Some, such as Swisstory, have ended as the author has moved onto another country, but are still good resources. Others are still active and interesting, including One Big Yodel and TwoFools in Zürich [edit - no longer available, as they moved back to the US!].
  • There are a variety of discussion forums and mailing lists geared toward English-speaking expats. I subscribe to the Expats-in-Zurich and Expats-in-Switzerland yahoo mailing lists and there is (very) occasionally something of interest there. I also read and reference English Forum Switzerland often. I've found that almost all of my questions have been asked and answered there at sometime, and if it hasn't been, I can ask and get responses quickly, albeit occasionally snarky (it is the Internet, after all).
  • As soon as we decided for sure that we were moving, I plunked down for Living and Working in Switzerland. I read it cover to cover and it's a great reference guide. There's also a book, Zurich for Newcomers - I flipped through it in a bookstore, and it didn't seem to be worth buying. The American Women's Club of Zurich has published a book, Living in Zurich, that sounds pretty comprehensive, but I haven't checked it out yet.
  • I also picked up a few guidebooks: A Rough Guide to Switzerland and Rick Steves' Switzerland. Usually, I'm a Lonely Planet fan, but their most recent Swiss guidebook is from 2009 - it'll be updated in 2012. For the other two, I think having both is useful - the Rough Guide gives a lot of context and talks about more places, while the Rick Steves book gets into the specifics of how to actually do something (like go up that there mountain!).
  • Finally, we talked to people! Through friends, we met a few people who already live in Zurich. I have also met a number of spouses of Googlers, and it's been great to ask them the dumb questions that come to my head (e.g., "what is that thing sticking to the wall of that building", "how do you pronounce MIGRO and COOP [the two main grocery stores]").
While I don't know everything about everything yet, the above have all been great resources to help get there.


Jodi said...

so how do you pronounce migros and coop?

Amy said...