Would you like to know how is living in Zurich because you have in mind to move to Switzerland but don’t know in which city? If that’s your case, here you have the experience of an Italian-Argentine in the financial city of Zurich.

Italian-Argentine family in Zurich

  • Info: My name is Veronica Burrai. I am 37 years old, I have a degree in Communication and I was born in San Nicolás, Argentina.
  • Where do you live and why: I live in Zurich and we’re here due to my husband’s work. I already lived in Istanbul, Madrid and Milan.
  • How long have you been living in Zurich? Almost two years

Moving to Zurich with a job: paperwork to live in Switzerland

When we came my husband already had a job offer. With the employment contract we were granted a residence permit called Permit B. It is the permission aspired by all those who come to live in Switzerland. It lasts 5 years but is easier to renew than the others. Permit B is the one prior to Permit C that gives you the citizenship and is the most difficult to obtain. To obtain a residence permit you must provide the employment contract, a document called “debt free document” where you prove that you have no debt in the country, your passport and a rental contract.

How to rent an apartment in Zurich?

As it is difficult to find an apartment without a residence permit what we did, which is what most of people do, was to rent an apartment temporarily. The contract we were given was enough to process the residence. Once you deliver all the papers, the residence permit arrives at the declared address and takes approximately 15 days. After that you can start to look for an apartment or a house.

For more information on the types of residence permits in Switzerland, click HERE.

Is it possible to live in Zurich, Switzerland without speaking German?

About the language, we are still in the process of adaptation, as none of us spoke German before coming here. We’re studying. Zurich is a city where its population is multilingual. Most people speak English and if not speak Italian, another of the country’s official languages, or even Spanish. So we’ve had no trouble communicating in our everyday life.

What is life like in Switzerland?

The Swiss are extremely educated. The first thing that struck me is that public transport drivers greet by speaker both to say goodbye either when they finish their work shift or when they start it.

Moreover, it is a society that respects the rules a lot and use to be trustful towards other people. This makes coexistence much more enjoyable and peaceful.

Compared to the countries where I have lived where everyone has to take care of themselves, here you have the feeling that both people and the state take care of you as well.

On the other hand, it’s a society that seeks sustainability, the reuse of furniture, clothing and other things that allows you to buy used things in excellent condition.

Working in Zurich, Switzerland

I am not working at the moment because when we moved here I was almost 7 months pregnant. My daughter was born a year ago and for now I am dedicating to her and studying German.

I think it depends a lot on the area where you’re looking for work, but I do know that for qualified jobs LinkedIn is what works best.

Cost of living in Zurich

Zurich is the most expensive city in Switzerland and the rental prices here are very high. If you live in the center (it also depends on the neighborhood) renting an apartment with a room (bilocal) starts from CHF 1500. There are cheaper apartments, but it’s already outside the city of Zurich.

Advantages of moving to Zurich: quality of life

Switzerland is known worldwide for being one of the best countries in terms of quality of life and is not an exaggeration. Despite living in a cosmopolitan city like Zurich here it seems that life works in slow motion, as I use to say. The importance of relax, of the house and the family, the contact with nature in addition to, of course, the great possibilities of work, make life much better, although it does not always mean earning large sums of money. For us the best thing about Zurich is that despite being expensive it is a city for all kinds of budgets. Of course I’m talking about budgets that go according to Swiss standards but not all the people here are millionaires and they can still live very well. And that’s what we like the most.

It also depend on what everyone is looking for but for us moving and starting a family here was the best decision we could make. Despite being alone, being a mom in Zurich was a big advantage.

Do you recommend moving to Zurich? Is it a country where you can live forever?

Absolutely. Much more than as a holiday destination.

And yes, we plan to stay here for a long time.

Tips before moving to Zurich

Be clear about the city or canton you want to live in. Prepare with the language (German, French or Italian) although keep in mind that in both the German and French areas they speak a dialect. Here in Zurich, although everyone knows German, they speak Swiss-German, a dialect that is not possible to know unless you live here. Learn about the steps to follow: work, residency, health insurance, apartment search. With the last one you must have a lot of patience.

Next projects

I am in the initial phase of the creation of a Website in Spanish about Zurich and how’s life here. I want to be able to provide information about everything I would have liked to know about when I moved here and that I couldn’t find in my language. Also I want to continue to write and tell our Italian-Argentine life in the country of chocolate.

About our next trips, both my husband and I have our families divided into 4 countries (Italy, France, Argentina and Ecuador), and we would be more than happy having the possibility to go to any of those places.

In short, if you have in mind moving to Switzerland, writes down Zurich on your notes because although it is the most expensive city in Switzerland, it is also the place “where money is managed”, for being a global financial center.

If you want to shuffle other options within Switzerland, I encourage you to take a look at the article on “Living in Lucerne, Switzerland”.

Interview conducted in January 2021 with @miplumaviajera

Living in Zurich

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