Observations on Work and Life in Switzerland

Posted on 08 February 2007 by PCT

The For people coming from the majority of countries, Switzerland will be a culture shock. Even those moving here from other European countries will discover it is better to be prepared for some hassles.

When you arrive, you first of all get your work permit from your employer — your ‘permit’ is your official permission to work in Switzerland. Within a given period of time you then have to register with the local town hall so that you get your ‘Auslanderausweis’ ID Card that you must keep with you at all times.

There will be a whole raft of bureaucracy that has to be dealt with in the first few months. It pissed me off big time at first, but most of it is one time only so you can survive it.

Things run on time in Switzerland! I have now become as bad as the locals complaining if a train is two minutes late. It only takes a quick trip back to the UK and the disaster that is British Rail to put everything back into perspective.

I personally expected to be here only two years. I have been here eight and counting. I suppose that Switzerland grows on you and its central position within Europe makes it a wonderful base for visiting the rest of the continent.

Switzerland is clean safe but also very expensive. Am I maybe stating the obvious here? You generally get what you pay for although do not expect things to be done too quickly.

Do not expect to be able to rent a penthouse apartment in the centere of Z├╝rich. Prices are akin to those in central London and only drop of slightly as you move out of town.

I would rate the Swiss quite conservative and they generally keep to themselves. If you are expecting to party every weekend don’t expect it at the local Swiss ‘Kneibe’. However, with an estimated 20% – 25% foreign population rhere are a multitude of places to go and meet other foreigners in the same position who are out to enjoy themselves.

Lesser-known sports such as cricket (and for our American friends: baseball) are still catered for in Switzerland. The clubs may be hard to find, but they are out there.

From a standard of living point of view, expect your move to Switzerland it to be an increase compared to most places in Europe. Although prices are high, most remuneration packages are such that you should be better off.

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