• Switzerland's news in English
 
moving_to_switz_header
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
Swissport to be sold in multi-billion franc deal
Photo: AFP/Nicolas Maeterlinck

Swissport to be sold in multi-billion franc deal

Private equity company PAI Partners announced Thursday it is selling Zurich-based airport ground handling and cargo company Swissport International to China's HNA Group for 2.7 billion Swiss francs ($2.8 billion, 2.54 billion euros). READ  

Missing Swiss cats spark record helpline calls
Missing cats concerned 85 percent of calls. Photo: Dennis Jarvis

Missing Swiss cats spark record helpline calls

Switzerland’s recent heatwave resulted in a record number of cats going walkabout in the months of June and July, according to Swiss animal call centre STMZ. READ  

Swiss researcher creates yarn from abattoir waste
The yarn was spun from a gelatine-based thread. Photo: ETH Zurich

Swiss researcher creates yarn from abattoir waste

A PHD student at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich has devised a fibre with similar properties to merino wool from gelatine gathered from slaughterhouse waste. READ  

10 amazing places to be on Swiss National Day
Head to Zermatt for a sunset dinner overlooking the Matterhorn. Photo: Marc Weiler

10 amazing places to be on Swiss National Day

From mountain-top barbecues to sunrise breakfasts and cliff walks, follow The Local’s suggestions for making the most of Swiss national day on Saturday. READ  

Swiss watches stolen in second museum break-in
The town of Le Locle is a watchmaking centre. Photo: Neuchatel Tourism

Swiss watches stolen in second museum break-in

Burglars have stolen a number of valuable items from the watch museum in Le Locle, in the canton of Neuchâtel, just two months after a similar incident in nearby La Chaux-de-Fonds. READ  

Drunk Swiss man tied up on flight to Bangkok
The Thai Airways flight continued to Bangkok. Photo: Faisal Akram

Drunk Swiss man tied up on flight to Bangkok

Passengers on a flight from Zurich to Bangkok were forced to tie up a drunk Swiss man who caused a fracas during the journey. READ  

Solar Impulse
Millions needed by Solar Impulse after grounding
The solar-powered plane lands in Hawaii. Photo: Eugene Tanner/AFP

Millions needed by Solar Impulse after grounding

The team behind the sun-powered Solar Impulse 2 plane, piloted by two Swiss men, said on Tuesday that it needed an additional 20 million euros ($22 million) to complete a historic round-the-world flight after battery damage grounded it for months. READ  

Le Locle epidemic due to E.Coli in water supply
Residents are advised to avoid drinking the water in Le Locle. Photo: Neuchatel Tourism

Le Locle epidemic due to E.Coli in water supply

Authorities in Swiss watchmaking town Le Locle, where a mystery stomach bug has laid low up to 1,000 residents, have confirmed the presence of E.Coli bacteria in the water supply. READ  

Swiss equestrians ride again after drugs appeal
Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets compete in La Baule in May. Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP

Swiss equestrians ride again after drugs appeal

Swiss rider Steve Guerdat, the individual show jumping gold medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, is free to compete again after the international equestrian federation (FEI) announced on Monday they would lift a provisional ban. READ  

EXPAT GUIDE | Presented by Greenback
Taxes in Switzerland: the easy way
Photo: MoneyImages/Flickr

Taxes in Switzerland: the easy way

Tax season is daunting enough at home – let alone in a foreign country. That’s why expats David and Carrie McKeegan started Greenback, the tax company designed specifically for American expats. The Local talked to the couple about how to handle taxes in Switzerland. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
The Expat Guide: Moving to Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
National
Swiss army airlifts water to thirsty cows
International
Canary Islands: diver killed in collision with Swiss windsurfer
National
VIDEO: Seagull steals camera for amazing bird's eye selfie
Switzerland celebrates first ascent of Matterhorn
Politics
Immigrant recruits may not be loyal: Army chief
Solar Impulse 2 round-the-world flight halted for repairs
Society
Teenager gets high on vegetarian meal at Zurich club
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Sponsored Article
Geneva's revolutionary marketing education
National
Greece seeks tax revenues from assets 'hidden' in Swiss banks
Culture
Paris police arrest Swiss artist for naked Eiffel Tower selfies
National
Scientists uncover largest Swiss dinosaur skeleton ever found
National
National weather office extends danger alerts as heatwave takes hold
National
Most severe heatwave in Switzerland since 2003 on the way
Travel
Bogglingly expensive Geneva club sandwiches remain 'priciest in world'
Politics
Anti-immigration nationalist party remains most popular: poll
National
Greek finance minister slams Swiss over lack of tax evasion info
Business & Money
Insects proposed for sale in Swiss supermarkets next year
National
'Oh God — I'm coming': noisy lovers' complaint goes public
National
Canton of Ticino threatens closing Italy border to asylum seekers
National
Just in case: Swiss National Bank prepares for Grexit 'crisis'
National
Russian crisis fuelled by sanctions threaten 40,000 Swiss jobs: study
National
Art Basel: Art for art's sake — or to make an investment?
National
New survey ranks Zurich Europe's priciest city for expatriates
National
Quarter of residents in Switzerland 'have multiple homes'
Features
Veggie lovers and 'flexitarians' challenge Swiss meat-eating habits
National
Forest officials struggle to save Switzerland's dying ash trees
Education
Historian finds ancient Egyptian papyrus texts in Basel uni library
National
Seven large Swiss employers back 'flexible work' charter
National
Basel police rescue of ducks forces closure of A2 motorway
National
Mother and daughter die as rain storms lash central Switzerland
Sport
'Stan the man' Wawrinka: French Open triumph 'completely crazy'
Culture
Expat's Zurich 'then and now' video shows how little the city has changed
National
Phoney Geneva police officers rob tourists and UN staff
Sport
Blatter's abrupt resignation seen as a 'stunning capitulation'
Features
Cleanup crews head to ski resorts to keep Swiss mountains tidy
Culture
Interlaken museum showcases works by Picasso using Caran d'Ache pencils
National
Low interest rates give tenants right to seek rent reductions in Switzerland
Sport
Switzerland's Blatter fends off critics to win fifth term as Fifa president
National
Agricultural researchers discover why Swiss cheese has holes
Culture
Swiss filmmaker returns home to shoot 'gender-fluid' film in Ticino
Features
Severed rope recalls Matterhorn's first ascent 150 years ago
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

4,238
jobs available