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.Networking is key in Switzerland, with a number of jobs allocated based on personal recommendations. Expats are advised to join networking groups and clubs to meet new people and help settle families into a new way of life and new social circles.
Switzerland is a great choice for the whole family. The majority of people in Switzerland gain at least a high school degree and education is a priority for the nation. The quality of education offered in the country is high. The majority of schools operate ‘streaming’ of pupils based on perceived abilities from a young age, which may be a culture shock for expat parents. University education is not the path of choice for most people in Switzerland, where there is an emphasis on vocational qualifications instead.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Switzerland is almost 83 years of age which is three years higher than the global average. While in Switzerland, expats can count on receiving world-class treatment. As a country, private health insurance is compulsory (not Government like the UK or employer-sponsored like the US), and no insurance company can refuse cover based on medical history or any other reason, which is similar to countries like France. Waiting times for appointments and treatment is low and quality of care is exceptionally high. Expats must arrange health insurance cover within three months of residing in Switzerland. It is important to understand the health system in the country, which often differs from your home country.
There is a strong sense of community in Switzerland and although the people can seem a little reserved, the local people are friendly when approached. It is beneficial for expats to learn the language and immerse themselves into the various social engagements on offer, especially outdoor pursuits. The country offers a real mix of relaxation and adventure, which appeals to family life and people of all ages. The natural beauty is unique and many tourists and expats enjoy the quality of life offered in Switzerland, which is more active and healthy than most other nations.
From the beauty of the country itself, in its waterfalls and glaciers, to its comfortable climate, low crime (particularly low violent crime) and the various high quality services on offer, the country of Switzerland offers excellent family life for an expat and you would be very hard pushed to find another nation across the globe to beat it.