±JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Get useful expat articles, health and financial news, social media recommendations and more in your inbox each month - free!



We respect your privacy - we don't spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners

Expat Experiences

Switzerland > Expat Experiences

Switzerland

Chantal Panozzo, Zurich

Posted by: Jamie on Thursday December 01, 2011 (15:20:54)
Zurich
Zurich

I’m an American writer and copywriter living in a small town near Zurich, Switzerland. I write about life in Switzerland on my blog, www.onebigyodel.com. I also write about how to survive (and thrive) as an international creative person at Writer Abroad www.writerabroad.com. In addition, I’m the co-founder of the Zurich Writers Workshop www.zurichwritersworkshop.com.

I moved from the USA to Switzerland in 2006. Why? Curiosity more than anything else. My husband had a chance to take a job there and while I was worried about giving up my job as a copywriter, and therefore what seemed like my entire identity, I knew that if I didn’t go, I’d always be haunted by the “what if?”

What challenges did you face during the move?

Well, for one, our shipping container had “China Shipping” written across it in big, block letters, which seemed awfully suspicious at the time. I had nightmares that involved all my stuff being sent to China while I sat in an empty Swiss apartment with nothing to show for my life but a fondue pot. Luckily, this didn’t happen and our stuff arrived seven weeks after we did. But sadly, not before our inflatable air mattress broke.


How did you find somewhere to live?


We had a relocation agent. We thought we wanted to live in a house (we were Americans, after all), but then we realized most of the houses in Switzerland were in the middle of nowhere and that sheep cut the grass instead of lawn mowers. So our agent found us an apartment in the center of town. We had to complete several forms stating salary, nationality, how long our fingernails were, well, ok, maybe not the latter, but boy are you scrutinized before you’re allowed to live anywhere in Switzerland. It took so long for the powers at be to approve us, I thought we’d become the first homeless problem in Switzerland in the process. Anyhow, we didn’t, and we got our chosen apartment, which was near a clock tower that dinged every 15 minutes. I assumed they would turn it off at night. Silly me. I had a lot to learn about living in Switzerland.


Are there many other expats in your area?

Yes, in Zurich there are a lot of expats. However, in our small village just outside of Zurich, there are fewer. This makes living in Switzerland more challenging, but it also gives you a more authentic experience.


What is your relationship like with the locals?

It took a year (and a few laundry and gardening lessons) before we learned our neighbor’s first name, but now we’re good friends and eat a lot of melted cheese together. But other locals are hard to get to know. Most Swiss people are very private. The few Swiss friends I have, I met at the office (I worked at an ad agency in Zurich). Although once my husband started learning the alphorn, making Swiss friends got easier.

What do you like about life where you are?

I have found a niche for myself as a writer and copywriter in Zurich www.chantalpanozzo.com I also find Switzerland beautiful (when it’s not foggy) and I love the way that nature is integrated into city life and that the transportation system is so punctual that I often regret my tardiness.


What do you dislike about your expat life?

I miss the ease of doing simple things, easy-to-find English books, and cheap ethnic food. But mostly, I miss family. While I probably see them more than I did when I lived in the U.S., the times I do see them (usually twice a year) are very intense and packed with activity. That can be tough. But we’ve also been able to travel abroad together and that has made for some wonderful memories.


What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Don’t be so worried about giving up your career so your spouse can advance his. If you want to continue yours, you will find a way to do this or discover a way to reinvent yourself.


What are your plans for the future?

I’m finishing a memoir and starting a novel. I’m also busy planning the next event for the Zurich Writers Workshop.


To learn more about Chantal, visit these sites:
One Big Yodel: a blog about life in Switzerland www.onebigyodel.com
Writer Abroad: surviving (and thriving) as an international creative person www.writerabroad.com
Chantal Panozzo: Writer and Copywriter in Zurich, Switzerland www.chantalpanozzo.com

 
Link  QR 


Expat Health Insurance Partners


Aetna International

Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

Aviva International

Health is your number one priority. At Aviva we understand this, which is why we’re focused on helping you and your family access high quality healthcare at home or overseas. Our award winning medical insurance will help you get the treatment you need or simply provide guidance and advice wherever you are, 24/7.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.

Cigna International

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.