• Switzerland edition
 
Sponsored Article
Top ten barriers for expats in Zurich (and how to overcome them)

Top ten barriers for expats in Zurich (and how to overcome them)

Published: 06 Sep 2013 10:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Sep 2013 10:51 GMT+02:00

Having moved from Spain to Switzerland 16 years ago, Maria Teresa enjoys sharing the lessons she has learnt over the years with those new to town. Born in Zurich to Italian parents, Sandra knows all too well what it's like to be a bit of an outsider in Swiss society.

The two joined forces to launch @ YOUR SERVICE, a company that enables expats and foreign professionals to enjoy life in Zurich by tailoring a range of services to the needs of clients in terms of language and cultural needs. 

1. Finding time
You're an expat here but you're certainly not alone. Zurich is an attractive city for multinational companies to set up headquarters and bring employees from all over the world. Although you may not be a rarity, finding spare time in the bustle of working life can be. "The free time that you have could be better spent than having to arrange house cleaning or gardening," Sandra says. "That's where we can help by organising everyday services that people need at home. In that way expats can use their free time to be with their family and discover what Zurich has to offer." 

2. Experiencing the city
Aside from the job opportunities, there are so many positives about living in Zurich. "It’s a big world and small world in one," Sandra adds. "Cosmopolitan with the advantage of still being small and safe." This beautiful green city, set with the backdrop of the stunning Lake Zurich and great skiing on its doorstep, should be explored. That’s why @ YOUR SERVICE organises events tailored to your needs in every detail, from local experiences to parties and dinners.

3. Making acquaintance
Zurich's residents are notoriously reserved. "It can be difficult to make contact and friends with Swiss people," Sandra says. "The people are not very open but they are happy for others to take the first step. "If you want something, you need to take time to persuade and explain and if you're from the outside that can be difficult." 

4. Which language?
Aside from the variations of German (Standard, Swiss and Zurich) there's Swiss French and Italian to contend with. Between them, Sandra and Maria Teresa speak five languages fluently (Spanish, English, German, French and Italian) so conversing is made easy. "We find our language skills opens the doors in finding the right service providers for our clients," Maria Teresa says. "Swiss German is generally used for day-to-day living and official information can only usually be found in German, French and Italian."

5. Local knowledge
"If you don’t have local knowledge, you can miss out," adds Maria Teresa. "We have spent time building up both a personal and professional network and know what’s going on in the city." That goes for everything from arranging grocery shopping and laundry services to advising on the pick of local events to attend. The @ YOUR SERVICE philosophy is all about offering the services you need to ensure you can enjoy your free time without having to worry about a thing.

6. Tackling the tax return
Zurich is well known for it’s attractive, low tax rates but tackling the tax system can be a headache when it comes to filling in your annual tax return. "It's relatively simple compared to other countries but you still need time and an understanding of the Swiss tax regulations," says Maria Teresa. "And making a mistake could prove costly." @ YOUR SERVICE works with professional tax advisors, providing a confidential service to ensure your tax return is completed in compliance with local tax regulations.

7. Family matters
Expats and foreign professionals in Zurich often move with their families in tow - for very good reason. "The standard of education is very attractive," Sandra says. But where do you go if you’re looking for a Spanish-speaking nanny? "With our multicultural background we have a better understanding of what clients require and where to find the solution," Sandra says. "We can tailor our services to the need of the customer in terms of both language and cultural needs."

8. Where to find…?
You might think the task of finding a handyman is a simple case of Do It Yourself. "There are things to consider such as whether they are certified and will carry out the job properly," says Maria Teresa. Remember time you spend looking for a service shouldn’t be more than the time you spend doing it yourself.

9. Friendly advice
Where can you turn when you need advice that’s concise and convenient? With an ambition to provide an efficient service for busy expats, friendly advice is on hand, online. Grown from an ambition to help other expats get the most from their move to Zurich, @ YOUR SERVICE and offers meetings in person or via Skype to discuss your needs in the home or with your family. What’s more you can shop online for household, tax and event services.

10. The right service
It's hard to know what is value for money in a city that provides high quality of life at a high cost. For example, you need caterers for a special party and you don’t want to be overcharged. "We know what you should expect to pay and the quality you should expect at what price," Sandra adds. "With our help you can be sure you are getting what you should for the money you are paying."

Article sponsored by @ YOUR SERVICE

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Today's headlines
Cold and snow signal end to Indian summer
Webcam view of La Tzoumaz in the 4 Vallées resort area in the canton of Valais on Wednesday. Photo: Televerbier.ch

Cold and snow signal end to Indian summer

After a summery weekend with temperatures as high as 24 degrees, parts of Switzerland experienced an early taste of winter on Wednesday with snow falling at levels as low as 600 metres in some areas. READ  

Switzerland regarded as 'best place for expats'
Photo: Zurich Tourism

Switzerland regarded as 'best place for expats'

Switzerland is the world's favourite destination among expats, followed by Singapore and China, a poll on quality of life for bank HSBC found on Wednesday. READ  

Swiss Guard launches popes' recipe book
Photo: AFP

Swiss Guard launches popes' recipe book

From an Argentinian dessert that translates as "milk candy" to Polish ravioli, a member of Vatican's famed Swiss Guard on Tuesday unveiled a range of recipes of dishes favoured by popes. READ  

Zermatt ranks among top places to visit in 2015
Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Zermatt ranks among top places to visit in 2015

Swiss mountain resort Zermatt is listed among the world's top ten towns and cities to visit in 2015 by Lonely Planet, the travel guide. READ  

Swiss pedestrian safety takes turn for worse
Drivers largely responsible for upturn in pedestrian accidents: report. Photo: BFU

Swiss pedestrian safety takes turn for worse

Although Swiss streets are regarded as among the safest in the world, a pedestrian dies on average every week from motor vehicle accidents, while two are seriously injured every day, the Swiss accident prevention bureau (BFU) says. READ  

Last volume of Swiss history lexicon finished
Initial volumes of the dictionary of Swiss history (in French) next to other reference books. Photo: Ludovic Péron

Last volume of Swiss history lexicon finished

The final volume of a massive dictionary of Swiss history is set to be published at the end of the week. READ  

Federer poised for home-town glory in Basel
Federer at Swiss Indoors last year. Photo: AFP

Federer poised for home-town glory in Basel

Life couldn't be better — or more surprising — for Switzerland's Roger Federer as the 33-year-old takes aim at multiple major goals starting with a sixth title at his home Swiss Indoors tennis tournament in Basel. READ  

WHO slammed for 'slow' response to Ebola virus
Hospital doctor in Philippines checks an isolation room for Ebola patients. Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP

WHO slammed for 'slow' response to Ebola virus

The Geneva-based World Health Organization insisted on Tuesday it would probe complaints that it had been slow to wake up to the scale of Ebola, but insisted the focus now must be on battling the epidemic. READ  

Majority back new immigration curbs: poll
Detail of poster for Ecopop proposal. Photo: ecopop.ch

Majority back new immigration curbs: poll

A majority of Swiss citizens support a proposal to limit annual net immigration to 0.2 percent of Switzerland’s population, a new survey indicates. READ  

Eritrean refugees find shelter at Swiss abbey
Eritrean refugees in front of Einsiedeln abbey. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Eritrean refugees find shelter at Swiss abbey

After a harrowing flight from autocratic Eritrea, the last place Nuguse Teklestion expected to call home was the pastoral grounds of a Swiss monastery housing a mysterious black Madonna. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Majority of Swiss back proposed new immigration curbs: poll
Features
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in Swiss monastery town
National
Expat American professor disputes 'unjust' Swiss citizenship rejection
National
Sputtering eurozone drags down Swiss economic growth forecast
Features
Swiss-based English expat writer lauds immigrant 'brains and brawn'
International
Our survey: Switzerland third priciest for food and drink from back home
National
Zurich market gardener sets world 'record' for heaviest pumpkin
National
Report: Switzerland's residents richer than before economic crash
Features
Geneva lab sleuths use high tech to help art world uncover fakes
National
Father of Scot missing since early September fears Swiss trauma
National
Foreign women give birth to rising share of newborns: latest figures
National
'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel uni botanical garden bigger than ever
National
Switzerland's voters reject public health insurance proposal
National
Zooming foreign immigration continues to boost Swiss population
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
National
Geneva MP seeks ban on charging for tap water in restaurants
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,265
jobs available