Continuing to publish personal experiences of Life Abroad, as I believe that they show the realities much better than the articles with “do’es and don’ts”. This time Gioia, an Italian from beautiful city Verona, whom I met while studying in UK (at that time I did not speak any Italian by the way), is sharing her insight on life in Switzerland and abroad in general, enjoy!
I had never considered living in Switzerland before it happened. The first time I travelled there was in January two years ago and when I finally got to the hotel I had planned to spend the night at, the lady at the reception checked my ID and wished me “Happy Birthday”. That was the weirdest birthday I have ever had, I spent it on an eight hours train journey, passing through the snowy mountains, iced waterfalls, frozen lakes and dark green valleys. “The world is really beautiful” I had said to myself, “There’re more and more places worth to be seen”.
Maybe it was this thought, maybe the fact that I had given up celebrating with close friends, however travelling to Switzerland on that day had unexpected results. I got the job I was interviewing for and two months later I was moving to Zurich. Relocating from Brussels was quite challenging and I had to face many bureaucratic issues due to my job involving constant travelling to other countries and due to my lack of knowledge of procedures.
Here how it works: first of all, after accepting a job in Switzerland, you need to find a place and register at the town hall. This, together with your job contract entitles you to get a valid working permit [Margarita: please note that this procedure is valid mainly for the EU citizens, for citizens of other countries it could be different]. Within 3 months one has to purchase a compulsory health insurance [really expensive – cheapest is around 300CHF per month = ca. $326 and you still have to pay for your doctor and medicine] and convert their driving license within a year.
These are the basics one needs to be aware of. If they sum-up with the hassle of adjusting to a new environment, it can be a stressful start. However the positive sides of move are many: you experience new lifestyle, visit places you wouldn’t have seen otherwise, become familiar with other attitudes and cultures and very importantly you make new friends. Switzerland has certainly a lot to offer, since it’s very diverse in terms of languages, mentalities, and landscapes are mostly breath-taking.
Being a language enthusiast what I really appreciated whilst living in Zurich, is that not only you could hear many languages in the streets, you would also be quite sure that in offices people would understand you when speaking German, English, French, Italian or Spanish, just to name a few. Not always language-awareness stands for open-mindedness though; you may still find that old lady on a tram refusing to give a child the occupied extra sit next to her, because she had also bought a ticket for her dog… Anyway, as long as your new life works out for you, there’s quite a lot to learn, change and enjoy every day!