Discover These 5 Reasons and More when you Become an Expat in Switzerland

Which cities are chosen the most by expats?  Will I need to buy a car in Switzerland?  These are only a few of the many questions asked when moving to Switzerland.  To combat too much of a culture shock when you arrive in Switzerland with its multicultural population and four official languages, you should gather more facts before you embark on the actual move.

5 Positive Reasons to Move to Switzerland:

  1. Switzerland is a True Democracy; and one of the rare working examples of democracy. People have the freedom to bring their issues, have a petition signed, with enough signatures a referendum is carried out.  Power is not in the hands of only one person.  A Federal Council of seven acts as head of State.
  2. Swiss-German is one of four national languages, and it is far different than German. The other three languages are French, Italian, and Rumantsch.  It all depends on the region you stay in.  Swiss-German is the most likely to be heard all around.
  3. You can have a drink of water from any tap or water-fountain in the city; and you can also refill your water bottles for free, anytime. You can drink water from any tap at home, too.
  4. Swiss people like to hike a lot; most will have a good pair of hiking boots, a backpack filled with enough water, fruits, bread, cheese, snacks, a camera and wind jacket, and a Swiss Army Knife.
  5. Switzerland is a Super-organized country; with specific days for different types of disposing of garbage. And for all of this, there is a specific type of bag.  Everything works impressively smooth.

Switzerland does have delightful chocolates, a good public transport system, and a Health Insurance system, sunshine in summer and snow in the winter.  Switzerland is also the country with picturesque mountain scenes and ski-slopes in winter.

Switzerland is an outdoor, family-friendly place to live in.  It has an active outdoor culture and includes and encourages expats to take part in all the outdoor offerings, biking trails, hiking, and skiing in winter.

There is more to Switzerland than Famous Cheese, Fabulous Chocolate and the Fact that they are also Good with Time

You will get lots of information about a lot of things in Switzerland, but some things you will only find out when you live there already.  Things like the church bells ringing all night long, the fact that you need to include photographs of the whole family when applying to rent an apartment, and that tenants need to install their own light fixtures.  Recycling is very important and also very difficult to understand.

Facts about Switzerland:

  1. There is more than one brand of chocolate: And, all of the chocolate brands are great.  As with chocolate, there are lots of different kinds of cheeses available.  Many of the brands are easily obtainable in supermarkets.
  2. Punctuality is a way of life: They do not just make the clocks and watches that the Swiss are famous for, they meticulously follow their time.  They take pride in their punctuality.  Showing up on time not only shows respect for someone else but also state that you value that someone’s’ time.  Make sure you are on time if you are meeting a Swiss national.  Public transport, for instance, trains, leave on time, if you are late, you missed the train.
  3. You will be using Swiss Franc (CHF) and not Euros: Switzerland is not obliged to use Euro because they are not part of the EU, European Union.  Certain places might accept Euros as payment but you will receive Swiss Francs if you need change.  You can exchange money at any bank, airport, railway station and some major hotels.
  4. There is a train to almost anywhere: There public transport system has train tracks right across the country.  You can travel almost anywhere by rail.  Just always keep in mind, Swiss trains run on time and leave promptly.  You need to do some connection planning if you have to catch more than one train to your destination.
  5. Recycling: Switzerland is very serious about sustainable materials and recycling.  You will be encouraged to respect this and to do your bit towards the country’s efforts to sustainability.  You should deal with your own trash in a responsible manner and always be on the lookout for designated trash cans in public places.  Do not put glass in the paper bin, etc.

There are still many things to find out and know about Switzerland; for instance, the fact that they love indoor games, at any age.  Switzerland is actually a small country.  They are serious about their languages.  Over-the-counter medications are very expensive.  Switzerland is very conscious about contributing positively to their environment.  When you think about the idyllic scenery that Switzerland is known for, this is not difficult to understand.

Advice on Things that should be handled and organized before the actual move to Switzerland

The decision is made and you are starting to organize your move to Switzerland.  There are lots of things to do beforehand, other than the usual documentation; you need application forms if you plan on taking items like furniture, etc.  If you are planning to take your pets with, there are certain regulations to follow.

Advice on Things that should be handled and organized before the move:

  1. Decide beforehand what you will be taking with you; things like furniture, mattresses, and appliances. It takes time to ship such things internationally.  You should decide on the timing of packing up your home and having your things delivered on time on the other side.  You will also need to fill out an application form for all the items that you want to bring into your new country.
  2. Pets should be vaccinated against rabies and you should have a vaccination certificate that is dated at least 30 days before the move but not longer than a year old. All cats, dogs, and ferrets entering the country should also be microchipped to be able to identify them.
  3. You will need a “motorway vignette” if you plan on driving in Switzerland; even though you do not need to apply for a new Swiss drivers license in the first year after your move. You are allowed to drive with your country’s license if it is still valid.  The “motorway vignette” is a sticker that allows you to drive on highways all around the country.
  4. Look into opening a Swiss bank account, and notify your bank that you are moving. You might want to keep your current bank account if you still need to do payments after you move, but it will be easier if you also have a bank account in your new country.  You can transfer money before your move to help make the arrival and transition smoother.
  5. Find out if your Health Insurance will be covering you in Switzerland; and even if it does, you will still need to register for a Swiss health care plan. When you register the state office will tell you if your international health care plan is acceptable or not.  They will also inform you of the health insurance or “sickness funds” that you can choose from.

This is only a few things to make your move easier.  Be well informed on all the areas you might run into issues and do your planning well in advance.