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Living in Switzerland > Zurich > 5 Tips for Living in Zurich, Switzerland

5 Tips for Living in Zurich, Switzerland

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Expats in Zurich, Switzerland find themselves in one of the most important financial centers in Europe, and the world. While they are treated to a city with many English speakers, it can be difficult to find good housing... and friends!

Expats in Zurich - 5 Tips for Living in Zurich, Switzerland

Expats in Zurich are right in the middle of one of the largest economic centers in Europe, and the world. Here are a few tips from expats about how to manage expat life in Zurich.

Finding Housing In Zurich

Some expats choose to live outside of Zurich. "Moving to this area offers a great lifestyle plus easy access to city (Zurich). This is a small, peaceful village -- with a lake. Has basic ammenities eg. post office, Migros, Newsagent, Fab Doctors Clinic, kindergarten, school. Nearest major shopping centre is Volketsville or Uster. (10-15 mins either side of G/see). Public transport [is] excellent. Accommodation is limited and [it's] best to try early in [the] year and mid-year as these are the main times for change of leasing."

Another expat wrote that finding housing was "very difficult with a zero vacancy rate, our decision was dictated by what was available." In terms of costs, the expat added that "[costs] were much higher but salary made up for the difference. It was a 3 - 1 difference."

Speaking German in Zurich

Swiss Standard German is the official language of Zurich. However, it is important for expats to know that there are different dialects of German in Switzerland that are quite different. Swiss German is not the same as High German - yes, it gets confusing. The good news is that many people in Zurich are bilingual (at least) and English-speaking expats find it relatively easy to get by.

Zurich is Tolerant... and Not Tolerant?

Expats occasionally comment on the multicultural aspects of the city of Zurich. One expat reported that "the city of Zurich is multicultural and tolerant but many of the Swiss are not; ... a recent poll showed the Swiss have the highest negative opinion of America; anti-Semitism is high and the Albanians are the latest to be despised; sexism, especially in the business world, is much higher than in America."

Banking and Insurance Rule Zurich

One expat, commenting about jobs in Zurich, wrote that "banking and insurance jobs abound; teaching English is possible but not that profitable; women have a tough time finding jobs (better to have one before you come); children in the public schools come home for lunch every day making it impossible for mom to work (private schools run over 20,000CHF); most jobs require knowledge of high German." Zurich's economy is widely regarded as the center of Switzerland's overall economy.

Long-Term Expats Viewed More Favorably Than Short-Term Expats

From time-to-time expats report that Swiss nationals have more interest in making friends with expats on long-term assignments than those on short-term assignments. One expat reported that "it is hard, very hard to make friends with the Swiss. When they hear you are just a few years here... well you will see their back."

About the Author

Joshua Wood joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Healthcare in Switzerland

Healthcare in Switzerland

Information about healthcare, expat health insurance and hospitals in Switzerland.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Join our Switzerland Expat Forum

Visit our Switzerland Forum and talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in Zurich, Switzerland.

More about Switzerland

Moving-to-SwitzerlandMoving to Switzerland

Switzerland is a country rich with tradition, natural beauty and one of the most stable economies in the world. It is, however, also extremely expensive and expats often report difficult settling into the culture.

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Expats in Switzerland advise newcomers to join a few expat clubs, learn German (or French / Italian), enjoy the outdoors and travel Europe.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-Switzerland10 Tips for Living in Switzerland

Advice from expats in Switzerland on housing search, finding a job in Switzerland, international schools, expat clubs and organizations, learning the language and cost of living. A must read for newcomers and anyone moving to Switzerland.

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Comments about this Article

cajunboi
Jul 13, 2015 22:30

I agree- no matter where you live if people know that you are in for the long haul they will quickly help you adapt. I've been in my village in France for 8 years now and have been accepted as a part of the community. Of course my French is not perfect but people accept that I'm trying and comment on the improvement in my skills.

First Published: Jul 07, 2015

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Get a Quote

Guide to Living in ZurichGuide to Living in Zurich

Expats in Zurich, Switzerland find themselves in one of the most important financial centers in Europe, and the world. While they are treated to a city with many English speakers, it can be difficult to find good housing... and friends!

Healthcare in SwitzerlandHealthcare in Switzerland

Information about healthcare and hospitals in Switzerland.

Restaurants in ZurichRestaurants in Zurich

Support your favorite restaurants in Zurich as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

Moving-to-SwitzerlandMoving to Switzerland

Switzerland is a country rich with tradition, natural beauty and one of the most stable economies in the world. It is, however, also extremely expensive and expats often report difficult settling into the culture.

14-Expats-Talk-about-What-Its-Like-Living-in-Switzerland14 Expats Talk about What It's Like Living in Switzerland

Expats in Switzerland advise newcomers to join a few expat clubs, learn German (or French / Italian), enjoy the outdoors and travel Europe.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-Switzerland10 Tips for Living in Switzerland

Advice from expats in Switzerland on housing search, finding a job in Switzerland, international schools, expat clubs and organizations, learning the language and cost of living. A must read for newcomers and anyone moving to Switzerland.

Switzerland Guide
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