Living in a foreign country as an expat is never a simple task: it’s not just getting on a plane, settling in, and having the time of your life!
Firstly, you should deal with the legal and bureaucratic facets involved in your Zurich adventure.
1. Look for the accommodation in advance
Finding an accommodation in Zurich is one of the greatest initial challenges that every expat faces out, so don’t worry if it may appear a bit more complex than expected.
You have two main options to look for your home:
- Checking the Swiss online portals, where you’ll find hundreds of options and make an idea of the expenses you’ll deal with. Some of the most checked ones are Homegate, Comparis.ch, and ImmoStreet;
- Relying on a real estate agency, if you are willing to face a slightly higher expense to have the help of an agency that would count on a network of contacts and know the local market.
2. Choose where you’d like to live
Some areas are of the city are particularly expensive, like the districts 1, 2, and 8, while the districts 6 and 7 are still popular but more affordable. On the downside, districts 11 and 12, in the north, are less costly but also less central.
Anyway, when you have found a place you like, never forget to move fast, because Zurich’s real-estate market is really competitive and you have to convince a potential landlord to take you on as a new tenant!
3. Know how the health insurance works
Living in Zurich means enjoying a cutting-edge health quality, but also having to deal with a costly and private healthcare system.
As regards the basic health insurance’s costs, you should pay an insurance premium that’s up to 8% of your income, while the minimum annual threshold averages at 300 CHF.
Then, in case your annual treatments overcame the annual threshold, you will have to pay also a 10% of collaboration quote (a maximum of 700 CHF per year).
It means that, if you need any other specific treatment, you have to open some additional insurance policies that aren’t included in the basic packages.
4. Don’t underestimate the language gap
In Zurich the official language is German, even if you can find some locals that speak also the other official languages of the country – French and Italian.
The pro is that most Swiss nationals speak English quite well, and you’ll be surrounded by a huge English-speaking community living in the city.
Despite this, there’s a practical reason that should make you study a little bit of German or French: the immigration documents and instructions won’t be available in English!
5. Be aware of the Swiss weather
Zurich lies in the temperate climate zone, so in winter its temperatures can drop below zero, while the hot summer days can record temperatures of over 30°C.
The general rule is: consult the short-term weather forecast and be prepared for all eventualities!