• 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

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

Bern museum issues list of Nazi-looted artworks

The Bern Museum of Fine Arts published on Thursday the first list of the more than 1,500 artworks hoarded during the Nazi era that it inherited from a German recluse. READ  

WTO agrees to enact first global trade reform deal
WTO chief Roberto Azevedo: 'We are back on track!" Photo: WTO

WTO agrees to enact first global trade reform deal

Ending months of deadlock, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization agreed Thursday to implement the first global trade reform agreement in its 19-year-history. READ  

Italy suspends Novartis vaccine after three die
Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Italy suspends Novartis vaccine after three die

Italy suspended the use of a flu vaccine made by Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Thursday amid fears it may have caused three deaths. READ  

Bern cathedral set to lose tower scaffolding
Bern's protestant cathedral, shown here with scaffolding, towers over the Old Town. Photo: Berner MĂĽnster-Stiftung

Bern cathedral set to lose tower scaffolding

For more than half a century scaffolding has cloaked Switzerland’s tallest cathedral, but in a few weeks most of it will be pulled down as restoration work on the exterior of Bern’s MĂĽnster nears an end. READ  

Man admits to strangling girlfriend to death
Town centre of Morges, west of Lausanne. Photo: Malcolm Curtis/The Local

Man admits to strangling girlfriend to death

A 31-year-old man in detention has admitted strangling to death his 25-year-old girlfriend following a dispute in the town of Morges at the end of October, Vaud cantonal police said on Thursday. READ  

Red Cross seeks record budget as aid needs soar
Red Cross chief Peter Maurer. Photo: Junior D. Kannah/AFP

Red Cross seeks record budget as aid needs soar

The Geneva-based Red Cross says it will need a record $1.68 billion (1.26 billion euros) to cover its humanitarian activities next year, amid soaring needs for aid in conflict-hit countries like Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. READ  

Meat firm apologizes over labelling scandal
Carna Grisha delivery trucks. Photo: Carna Grisha

Meat firm apologizes over labelling scandal

Faced with dropping sales in the wake of a scandal about falsely labelled products, Switzerland’s fifth largest meat company, Carna Grisha, has issued an apology and announced measures intended to reassure customers. READ  

Ronaldo goal gives Real Madrid edge over Basel
Ronaldo (left) vies with Basel's Swiss defender Philipp Degen in Wednesday night's match. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Ronaldo goal gives Real Madrid edge over Basel

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 71st Champions League goal as Real Madrid recorded a club record-equalling 15th consecutive win by beating FC Basel 1-0 in Switzerland in the Champions League on Wednesday. READ  

Bern museum gets grant to house Gurlitt artworks
Photo: Kunstmuseum Bern (Bern Museum of Fine Arts)

Bern museum gets grant to house Gurlitt artworks

An anonymous benefactor has put up at least one million francs ($1.04 million) to help the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern house a massive collection of 1,000 artworks hoarded during the Nazi era. READ  

Two men arrested over refugee centre fire
Photo: SIS/Ville de Genève/File

Two men arrested over refugee centre fire

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of intentionally setting a fire at a centre for asylum seekers in the canton of Geneva that left one man dead and 40 others injured earlier this month, according to a report. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Activists petition federal government for ban on eating cats and dogs
National
Swiss meat firm faces scandal over alleged false labelling of products
Sport
Federer victory gives Switzerland its first Davis Cup tennis title
National
Switzerland's Christmas market season gets into full swing
Business & Money
Italy's PM upset over Swiss mogul's acquittal in asbestos deaths
Business & Money
University of Zurich study finds 'banker's oath' could spur honesty
Sponsored Article
Exclusive offer: Try out home exchange
National
Swiss National Bank chief calls proposal to boost gold reserves 'fatal'
National
Mudslides kill four people in Ticino and neighbouring Italy
Culture
British X Factor star seeks internet support for Swiss Eurovision place
National
Court overturns ban by backing right for schoolgirl to wear scarf
National
Swiss ranking for English skills worsens among non-Anglo countries
Culture
Swiss model and French TV star Nabilla held for 'attempted murder'
Travel
Switzerland's Zermatt voted best ski resort in the Alps by skiers
Sport
VIDEO: FC Zurich claims crime after 'vicious' tackle hospitalizes player
Tech
Federal government announces new '.swiss' internet domain name
National
Zany emergency: Basel firefighters rescue ass stuck in manhole
Business & Money
American jury clears former UBS top executive of tax fraud
International
Switzerland ranks second to Norway in global 'prosperity' index
National
Financial regulator bans former Coop Bank CEO for three years
International
Switzerland slips in World Economic Forum's gender equality rankings
National
Job candidates unhappy with hiring process in Switzerland
National
Glacier 3000 opens new foot bridge spanning two mountains in Vaud
National
Swiss seek special Unesco heritage listing for yodelling and watchmaking
International
Switzerland regarded as best place in world for expats: global survey
National
Red faces at Migros over Hitler and Mussolini coffee cream pots
National
Quarter of workers in Switzerland 'stressed out': new survey
Travel
Lonely Planet ranks Zermatt among top places to visit in 2015
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
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

2,038
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply