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Switzerland > Financial


Just How High *Is* The Cost Of Living In Switzerland?

Wednesday March 12, 2014 (00:16:12)

Switzerland is known for many things – the fine art of watch-making, spectacular ski slopes and melt-in-the-mouth cheeses, among other things. But there’s something else for which the country is known, and that is its exorbitant cost of living. In fact, the Swiss cities of Zurich, Geneva and Bern are often ranked among the top ten expensive places in the world. Expats thinking about moving to Switzerland need to be aware about the costs of living, so that they can make adequate preparations. Remember that there may also be a few unforeseen expenses and taxes after moving there. Another important factor is that there are differences in the tax percentages and fees for certain things that vary from one region to another. The Swiss tax system is complex, as it covers 26 cantons and around 2,600 municipalities, and each of these levies its own taxes.   more ...

Switzerland > Living


Expat Fairs In Geneva, Switzerland

Tuesday October 01, 2013 (23:45:10)

Expat Expo is an exhibition for all English speakers across Switzerland. It usually hosts five conferences each year, in Zug, Geneva, Basel, Ticino and Zurich. The next one for 2013 will take place on the 6th of October in Geneva. The exhibition plays host to over 5,000 people each time, and representatives from local businesses as well as meetup groups, information stands and voluntary initiatives convene for a day of speaking English, networking with other businesspeople and making new friends.

There are more than 400 stands around the conference, with services ranging from babywear to business tax, and if you’ve moved to Switzerland with the aim of starting your own business, this will be an excellent place to make new contacts. The purpose of the event isn’t to make sales, so if you’re running a kitchenware company, don’t expect to sell out of your best products by the end of the day. It’s more of an opportunity to get to know other expats and English speakers in the area, find people with similar interests to you, and work out how to make your life generally easier, especially if you’ve only made the transition fairly recently. If you have children, there’s also a play area complete with bouncy castle and café, where you can meet other expat families and swap tips on how to settle in to your new home country.   more ...

Switzerland > Living


Hochdeutsch, Frainc-Comtou and Ticinese: Understanding the Languages of Switzerland

Sunday September 22, 2013 (20:35:44)
Switzerland - a language lover's paradise!
On paper, Switzerland seems like a fantastic place to live. A top-notch public healthcare and social services system, close proximity to other major European countries, and neutrality in pretty much every war mean that even the prohibitively high tax rate might not put you off. Plus, if you studied French, German or Italian at school, you’ll be able to speak the languages, right? Right. Well, almost.

Mention that Swiss French is the same as their own dialect to any person hailing from France and you’ll probably find yourself in the midst of an onslaught. Not only are there the usual idiomatic differences in expression that spring from living in another place, there are also whole other words that drop into conversation so that even the most fluent German, Italian or French speaker can find themselves mystified by the range of new words they’re required to learn. And then there’s Romansch, a sort of convergence language sitting somewhere between French and Italian, spoken by a significant minority of the population mainly around the Grisons region.   more ...

Switzerland > Health


Why Switzerland Can't Be Beaten for a Healthy Expat Life

Friday April 26, 2013 (19:57:02)

In terms of overall well-being and health, Switzerland ranks among the top countries in the world. According to the Better Life Index, which looks at factors such as employment, education and health, Switzerland offers a high quality of life and is an excellent choice for expats.

Many people in the UK choose Switzerland for a new life, as the people are similar to Brits in their mannerisms and habits and a lifestyle change does not cause too much upheaval. People from the US or Australia will have to adapt to the way of life, and the local people can be reserved.

Employment is a key draw for expats. The average person in Switzerland earns more than the average American and although the gap between the richest and poorest is high, there are opportunities available for all and tax is low, which is always a bonus for an expat. Career opportunities in the country are good, with 79% of people aged 15 to 64 having a paid job. This is above the global average and the work-life balance within the country is reported to be good. Many expats find work in the finance sector of the country.   more ...

Switzerland > Living


Interesting Facts about Life in Switzerland

Thursday April 04, 2013 (21:01:59)
The Swiss Alps
As counter-intuitive as it seems, Switzerland has always seemed to receive a bad reputation on account of the fact that it enjoys a high living standard. For evidence of this, we need look no further than Orson Welles' famous monologue in The Third Man (based upon similar comments made by the painter McNeill Whistler), in which he castigates the Swiss for "five hundred years of democracy and peace" that produced nothing more than "the cuckoo clock." The country's steadfast commitment to neutrality, even in times of great geo-political upheaval, is one clear source of such resentment - but whatever one's personal take is on such matters, it cannot be denied that the Swiss standard of living is easily among the world's best. The nation enjoys one of the world's highest life expectancies behind Japan, with the cities of Zurich and Geneva being ranked as the #2 and #8 cities in the world, respectively, for overall quality of life. The net worth of the average Swiss adult, meanwhile, is over 500,000 USD, even after their considerable portion of the national debt is figured into the picture.   more ...

Switzerland > Living


A Drive Around Lac Léman in Switzerland – the West Side

Wednesday February 13, 2013 (22:26:58)
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
by Nancy Bach

In other parts of the world, it is known as Lake Geneva. But the Swiss and French know this lovely glacial lake as Lac Leman. I like to call it that so it's not confused with Geneva Lake, Wisconsin! Its southernmost tip is at Geneva Switzerland; then it stretches up to Lausanne and curls to Montreux. In summer the beautiful blue waters are dotted by sailboats.

In autumn the hillsides are redolent with the aroma of vineyards yielding their bountiful crops. In winter icy blasts whip lake waters up over the banks, creating ice statues of trees and benches. And in spring the glorious wildflowers and fields and mountains beyond the lake are direct from the triumphant ending of "The Sound of Music."   more ...

Switzerland >


A Drive Around Lac Léman in Switzerland – the North and East Sides

Friday February 08, 2013 (23:11:35)
Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) in the evening
by Nancy Bach

Views from the heights of Lausanne looking south to the lake with the surrounding Alps, in the crisp, clear Swiss air are impressive. City businessmen sponsored construction of the Sauvabelin Tower, with a 100-foot climb up a circular wooden stairway to make the views even better. Breathe in the tranquility; you may never have this opportunity again.

Lausanne, of course, is the home of the IOC, International Olympic Committee, with an interesting museum, worth a visit. Each January Lausanne is home to the Prix de Lausanne international amateur dance competition. We missed it during our one year in Geneva—wish we could get a do-over!   more ...

Switzerland > Living


If You Thought Swiss Watches Were Good, Wait Till You Try Their Railway System!

Saturday January 26, 2013 (21:06:50)
Swiss rails
by Nancy Bach

We loved Swiss trains. As expats we faced uncertainty every day, but we could always count on the trains for grounding. If the scheduled time was 12:30, we knew with certainty that we’d miss the train if we arrived at 12:31. When you’re running late there’s far less stress if you know you don’t have a chance of making it. Just relax and grab a glass of wine while you wait for the next train.

Once you’re ready to take the train, all of Switzerland is open to you! Europe, too, for that matter.

We lived in Geneva, tucked into France so far that it might as well be France. So we took advantage of the high-speed train to Paris. Liz and I zipped there (~200mph) to see the musical Notre Dame de Paris (in French), the trip very comfortable and easy compared to air travel. On another empty weekend we took a family trip by train to visit the Louvre, hassle-free.   more ...

Switzerland > Living


Feeling At Home In Switzerland

Friday January 25, 2013 (22:26:52)
Nancy Bach
by Nancy Bach

After living in Hong Kong for six years, we were ready for a change of pace with our move to Switzerland. Just as we had done in Asia, we wanted to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So we used every weekend and holiday to explore.

We took a long drive down through France, stopping in Provence, Grasse (perfume capital), Nice, Cannes, then on to Genoa, San Remo, and Rome Italy, soaking up history, culture, and Rivieran rays. We made several trips to London and Paris. My husband and the boys drove the Nurburgring in Germany—at 125 mph! And we visited many smaller cities in Switzerland and France, especially enjoying festivals; it seemed there was usually one every weekend. We ended up staying in Switzerland for only eleven months, and packed in as much exploration as we could. But it was a blink of an eye.   more ...

Switzerland > Living


Guns, Lies and Bibliothèque At The Swiss Border

Tuesday January 15, 2013 (04:56:14)

by Nancy Bach

La Douane? What’s that?

When we learned we were moving to Switzerland I was elated. I love visiting new countries and learning new languages, so I was excited for the opportunity to add Swiss to my personal language portfolio. It took a while to remember that there is no “Swiss” language. Depending on the part of the country visited, Switzerland uses three official languages: French, German, and Italian.

Our assignment was at Switzerland’s southwest tip in Geneva, a small, but powerful international city hosting numerous UN and other global organizations. In this beautiful setting on Lac Leman and the Rhone River, Genève, as it is known to natives, is totally surrounded by France. Formidable! I was set. With my full year of high school French I would be speaking fluently in no time.   more ...

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