If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like living in Lucerne, Switzerland, a city in the center of the country, then don’t miss the next interview.
Living in Switzerland as Spanish
- Basic info: Noelia Morell, 30 years old, child education teacher specialized in special education and Jesús Alcázar, 39 years old, climate technician.
- Where are you at the moment? In Lucerne, Switzerland. We just turned 3 years old living in this city.
Why living in Lucerne, Switzerland?
We are young, brave and dreamy and we were looking for a country that would give us the opportunity to fulfill all our dreams. Switzerland offers us a present and a future that in Spain we wouldn’t be able to achieve. Here there are a lot of varied and very well paid job opportunities. As specialists in our work area here we can practice our profession in the best possible way: as we say, here we work to live and do not live to work as in Spain.
What are the advantages of living in Switzerland?
As nature lovers, we consider Switzerland to be a natural paradise all year round (since the four seasons offer incredible postcards). In summer you can enjoy the lakes and the countless trekking routes through the mountains, in autumn it’s impossible not to fall in love with the colors of the trees, in winter you can ski in the Alps and in spring you can visit the fairytale villages that Switzerland has to offer.
Moving to Switzerland: work and residence permits
Once you move to Switzerland you have 3 months’ to find a job, but if you don’t get it after 3 months it can be extended up to 6 months. After this time, if the authorities of the country are aware that you have exceeded your time in Switzerland, they kindly invite you to go back to your country.
However that doesn’t usually happen, if you come looking forward to work and, at first, you accept the offers they give you, which are usually from temporary work companies, you won’t have any problem to find a job.
Once you sign the employment contract, you have to register in the town hall of the town or city where you live to apply for your residence permit.
Living in Switzerland: types of permits
In Switzerland there are several types of permit:
- L: Short-term residents. Valid for 1 year and if in that year you didn’t have any problems in the country or debts they usually renew it to permit B. However this often depends on your nationality: it may be that because you are from a certain country, you will always receive a type L permission.
- B: Resident foreign citizens. Valid for 5 years and usually, if it does not happen as in the L permit and you have a demonstrable job of 1 year, you are renewed to permit C.
- C: Established foreign citizens. It has unlimited validity and gives you rights that you do not have with the previous ones in Switzerland, such as the right to vote, make the income statement, etc.
- G: Cross-border workers. For people residing in an EU/EFTA member state and working in Switzerland.
Moving to Switzerland for non-EU/EFTA members
For non-EU/EFTA people it works in a different way, it is much more difficult to settle in this country.
In addition to the residence permit, it is mandatory to register for health insurance, since here all health care is private.
Living in Lucerne, Switzerland: what languages do you need to know to?
Before we moved to Switzerland, we took German classes with a private teacher in Spain to come here with a basic level of the language and be able to speak it a little to get a job.
It is true that everyone here speaks English, but to work, if it is not in a multinational company, they demand German (depending on the area in which you live, it can also be French or Italian) and it is highly valued that you have even some basic notions of the language.
Despite the little knowledge of the language we had when we arrived here, we have strived to learn it and practice it and, thanks to this, we have adapted very well to the country and from the beginning have been able to make important arrangements and procedures.
What is life and work like in Switzerland?
Based on our personal experience, at labour level there is an enormous difference between Switzerland and Spain.
In Switzerland, the level of demand at work with respect to results (not time) is very high. That means that what matters the most is that the work is done in the best way, since they provide you with all the tools to do it, no matter how long it takes to do it. On the other hand, in Spain, what matters is how much you are able to produce more than the results.
Another big difference is the salary, being the minimum wage in Spain of 950 euros and here it is 3,500 Swiss francs (3,180€), depending on sector. It’s true that life here is more expensive, but it’s in accordance with the high salaries. In addition, specialists workers are very well valued and with a salary according to their academic education.
What are the Swiss like?
What we would highlight the most is the difference in attitude between Latinos and Swiss. The person-to-person treatment, the sympathy we have, well…Swiss handle it differently. They are colder in dealing with people, very mentally structured, very methodical and punctual, but as everywhere, there are always exceptions.
How and where to look for work in Switzerland?
In our experience, it is always best to deliver your resume in hand once you already reside in the country. Here they value lot the immediate availability, if they need to fill a job they will always hire before the person who is already here than who has not yet arrived.
However it is recommended that, once you know for sure that you are moving to Switzerland, you start sending resumes online to access to the labor market.
One thing that worked very well for us was looking for the temporary work companies in the area where we thought we would have lived and nearby areas, contacting them by email and sending them our CV.
Websites to find a job in Switzerland
Some pages that we have used to look for a job are:
Flat Rentals in Lucerne
Rental prices vary greatly depending on the area you live in.
In Lucerne, an average rental of a house with a room is 1,200 Swiss francs, about 1090€. The bigger the house and the better the area, the more expensive is the rental.
Where to look for apartments to rent in Switzerland?
The pages we use to look for rentals are:
Disadvantages of living in Switzerland: rentals
When you decide to move to Switzerland, you should know that if you don’t have a contract of employment you won’t be able to rent a home, except for a few exceptions. What most people do is rent a room in a guest house, here called “Gasthof” until they find work.
Living in Lucerne, Switzerland vs in Spain: climate and gastronomy
Without a doubt, what we miss most about Spain are family and friends, followed by the weather, the sun, the beach and our wonderful gastronomy.
Actually in Switzerland there is no “official” gastronomy, but some typical dishes such as raclette cheese or others dishes adapted from other countries such as fondue, cordon blue, sausages and some meat dishes.
Here we continue with our Mediterranean food customs, because although we cannot make the same food purchase as in Spain there are always similar options. Our life here has improved in quality and tranquility, both economically and in terms of peace of mind. Since we live in Switzerland we have the life we want and the opportunities to have the future we desire.
What is the quality of life like in Lucerne, Switzerland?
Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest quality of life in the world.
The best thing about living here are the opportunities the country offers to thrive as a person and grow in your work area. The not-so-good thing is always being away from your family, but that would be the same everywhere. To be honest, we do not consider that Switzerland has any negative aspect because in our case, as foreigners, we never had any bad experience, quite the opposite: this country has welcomed us as if it was our home.
We also have the advantage of having two airports with very good connections to fly to Spain whenever we want.
Advantages of living in Lucerne, Switzerland
We totally recommend Switzerland to live.
First, study German, at least basic notions to get to the country with some knowledge and look for a job. Also have money saved as a lifeguard in case you can’t find a job as soon as you get there.
Secondly, be aware that you are going to a foreign country and that you are the one who has to adapt to it, not viceversa.
Future plans and destinations
Our next project is to be able to celebrate our wedding in Elche, since we couldn’t celebrate it last year due to the pandemic. Then make the trips we had in mind last year, such as Santorini and Bali.
And going around the world together.
Write down this country (and if you prefer this city) on your list if you are looking for is an excellent quality of life, a very competitive salary and a stable economy, in the country considered as one of the best to live. Although it won’t be easy at first, it will surely be worth it afterwards.
Whether you are opting for this city or any other in the country, I invite you to take a look at the post “Visiting Geneva Switzerland: 7 must-to-see places”.
Interview conducted in March 2021 with @aguacatesviajeros
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