Sunday, November 3, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Move to Switzerland

Whenever someone learns about our move abroad, we get a barrage of questions, usually many the same ones. We so appreciate everyone's excitement and interest in our adventure and try to answer each time with as much enthusiasm as the first (second or third!) time we were asked. For those who have been wondering but unable to/haven't yet asked, here are some FAQs about our move to Switzerland.

How long will you be there?
The job Matt has accepted is permanent; there's no specific end date to the contract.
Henry enjoying our deck before moving.
Are you bringing your dog?
Absolutely! Henry is flying over with us. They do not quarantine pets in Zurich. If his paperwork is all done correctly, he'll go through customs and head home with us!

Do you know where you're living? Do you have a place picked out?
Matt's company has provided temporary housing for us in Uster, which is about 20 minutes outside of Zurich by train and one train stop from Matt's office. In January, we'll start looking for a permanent place to move in the spring.

Will you buy or rent?
The housing market is very tight in Switzerland and houses for sale are incredibly expensive. Most people rent and so will we. We're looking forward to a break from home ownership after our first "fixer-upper."

What did you do with all your stuff?
Determining what to do with our things, without knowing what our permanent housing will be like, was quite a challenge. Some Swiss apartments are roomy, but some are typically European, in older buildings with tiny, oddly-shaped rooms. So, we opted not to take most of our large, American-style furniture. Most of it we sold. We packed up and shipped smaller furniture and lots of our home items like dishes, pots, linens, etc. The rest we put in reasonably-priced long term storage, a.k.a our parents' basements and garages. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Do you speak German/French/whatever it is they speak over there?
Zurich is in the German speaking area of Switzerland. Actually, they speak Schweiz Deutsch, Swiss German, which is practically it's own language. No, we do not speak German or Swiss German. Matt does speak French, which will help as we travel. We're hoping to take some intensive language classes while we're there.

How do your parents feel about your move?
They're getting used to the idea, but certainly aren't thrilled to have us move so far away. We're looking forward to visits and anticipate making trips back to Columbus a couple times a year.

Will Becky work?
Becky wants to work, but hasn't started a serious job search yet. She currently works as a development and grant writer/fundraiser for the library. Unfortunately, non-profit fundraising isn't nearly as prevalent in Europe, so her job prospects are limited. She's hoping to do some freelance writing for non-profits in the states while she explores her options.

What will you miss most?
Our families and friends. Jeni's ice cream. Mexican food. Convenience. There aren't 24 hour drug or grocery stores on every corner like in the States. Or fast food drive thrus.

Are you excited about socialized medicine/universal healthcare?
Well, no. Because unlike much of Europe, Switzerland doesn't have it. Everyone is required by law to buy a personal health insurance policy and they aren't usually offered through or subsidized by your employer.  But we've heard great things about the high quality of medical care in Switzerland and we're curious to see how it works.

Will you have a car?
Layla, when Becky first brought her home. It'll be sad to leave her!

Nope. We'll be relying on public transportation and the occasional use of a car share. Luckily Switzerland is famous for their clean, prompt and convenient trains, trams and buses. And Henry is welcome to travel on them too!  We're sure to miss the convenience of a car, but are looking forward to learning to rely on public transportation.

What will Matt be doing?
Matt will be writing a separate post about this, since it's a question he gets asked a lot.

So, there you have it: the basics of our trip. Are there any questions we've missed? Anything you're curious about knowing?

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