Moving to Switzerland
The mountainous country of Switzerland with its towering Alps, medieval cities and thriving financial centre attracts people from all over the world. Immigration is high within this financially strong country with almost 25 percent of the population born elsewhere. This diverse country has four official languages spoken in all of its 26 states: French, German, Italian and Romansch.
Known worldwide as a banking centre, people moving to Switzerland will find low unemployment and a high quality of life. However, this high quality of life also comes a high cost of living. Services, such as public health and transportation, are excellent. Additionally, education is free.
In addition to having sophisticated modern cities, Switzerland also offers spectacular natural backdrops of alpine lakes and glaciers. Long known for its neutrality, Switzerland has not been involved in any military conflict since 1815, making it a peaceful and prosperous place to call home.
Although accommodations in Switzerland are high quality like you may expect, they also come with the price tag to match. Renting is far more commonplace than buying property within the country. If moving to cities or larger towns, such as Geneva or Zurich, or moving to Basel, a popular destination both on the river Rhine and close to the borders of France and Germany, then apartments are the most common type of accommodation available. Houses are more expensive and usually found in rural areas. Property can be found through online searches, real estate agents or even newspaper advertisements.
Schooling in Switzerland has an excellent reputation. Most schools are publicly funded and free to attend for foreigners as well. Although primary and secondary education are compulsory everywhere in the country, the ages differ depending on the region. Likewise, the first language used for classes will differ depending upon the region; classes are typically taught in a second language as well as English. Private schools and international schools are available, often with high fees, but a more diverse choice in curriculum.
With four distinct regions, the cultural experience differs greatly, depending on where you move. The diversity of the country is reflected through its wide range of traditions and customs. Despite signs and public transport announcements being made in the local language, many people within the country do speak English.
The Swiss have a reputation for being a conservative and reserved people, so respecting rules and customs is a good way to integrate yourself into the lifestyle and culture.
Good to know
You may encounter some rules that appear strict and that do not exist in your own country. For example, some apartment buildings only allow washing machines to be used during certain hours of the day. It is also prohibited for residents to wash their cars or mow their lawns on Sundays, so as not to be a nuisance to neighbours.
To use the motorway network requires a special sticker known as a vignette. These are valid for a year, and driving along autoroutes without one will incur a fine.
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