• 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
Federer advances as Wawrinka falls in Paris
Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Federer advances as Wawrinka falls in Paris

Roger Federer advanced at the Paris Masters tennis tournament on Thursday after beating Frenchman Lucas Pouille in two sets. READ  

Geneva doctors dress for battle with Ebola virus
Health workers take part in pre-deployment training. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Geneva doctors dress for battle with Ebola virus

Sweating behind fogged-up goggles, Thanh Dang meticulously follows each instruction as she peals away layers of protective clothing, stopping repeatedly to wash her double-gloved hands in chlorine disinfectant. READ  

Former Coop Bank CEO faces three-year ban
FINMA found irregularities at the bank. Photo: Coop Bank

Former Coop Bank CEO faces three-year ban

The Swiss Financial Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has banned former Coop Bank CEO Andreas Waespi from any managerial role for three years after it was found he manipulated share prices at the bank. READ  

Federal law aims to ease Swiss rent rises
New tenants will now have the right to know the rent paid by their predecessors. Photo: Ruth Hartnup

Federal law aims to ease Swiss rent rises

Anyone taking on a new lease on a rental property in Switzerland will have the right to know what rent the landlord charged the previous tenants under new changes to the tenancy law. READ  

Weapons stockpile found in home near Interlaken
Police took two days to take an inventory of the weapons (not those pictured). Photo: AFP

Weapons stockpile found in home near Interlaken

Police have seized a stash of around 2,000 weapons and ammunition hoarded by a 68-year-old man in his Unterseen home, near Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland. READ  

Federer struggles to win opener at Paris Masters
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Federer struggles to win opener at Paris Masters

Switzerland’s Roger Federer struggled at times but finally prevailed in three sets in his opening match at the Paris Masters tennis tournament against hard-serving Frenchman Jérémy Chardy. READ  

Nestlé to 'employ' robot clerks in Japan stores
Photo: AFP

Nestlé to 'employ' robot clerks in Japan stores

Swiss-based food giant Nestlé says its Japan unit is hiring 1,000 robots as sales clerks at stores across the country. READ  

Lagging Swiss ease 'barriers' for business
Switzerland has made it easier to start a business by introducing online procedures, report says. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Lagging Swiss ease 'barriers' for business

Switzerland may be best in the world for competitiveness but when it comes to ease of starting a business the Alpine country lags behind 19 other countries — although it has improved over the past year, a new World Bank report says. READ  

Bern police track clues on 50 armed robbers
The Reithalle, seen here as it looked in 2003, is used by young people in Bern as a centre for alternative culture. Photo: Roland Zumbühl/Picswiss

Bern police track clues on 50 armed robbers

Bern police are seeking witnesses after a bizarre robbery involving 50 masked gunmen at an alternative culture centre in the Swiss capital at the weekend. READ  

Neuchâtel tech firm unveils white solar panel
Christophe Ballif, head of CSEM's solar panel team, and staff show off white panel. Photo: CSEM

Neuchâtel tech firm unveils white solar panel

A non-profit technology company based in Neuchâtel has unveiled what it describes as the first white solar panel in the world. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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
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
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

2,197
jobs available