Martin Mielke fulfilled his dream of moving to Switzerland in the middle of 2020 when he took a job as a Senior Systems Engineer in Zug. Martin became one of my candidates in April this year during the height of the pandemic, after he had searched for an opportunity in Switzerland for several months. A month later, I was able to find him the perfect role. He managed to get through a smooth interview process, then relocate with his family to start their new life despite the evolving COVID restrictions.
How easy did you find it to make new friends, and integrate with the Swiss and expat community?
Swiss people are nice to you but not necessarily friendly. We do have a good relationship with our neighbours and my colleagues at work are great. Besides that, we still do not know many people here.
Has language been a problem?
While I speak German, my girlfriend does not speak, but the language is really not needed, at least in some cases. With that being said, in small villages, German is the only option. Luckily, there are German courses aplenty offered by several institutions you can choose from.
How long did the whole interview process take? (from your first interview to your first day)
It was really quick, about two and a half months, thanks to all the parties involved. We even had the chance to relocate a month earlier.
How difficult was it to find an apartment ?
Finding a place to stay was quite a challenge because Swiss landlords usually ask for two to three months’ deposit as well as the current month’s rent. That becomes a huge payment upfront, especially when you are moving from a country like Spain, where salaries are not only a joke but are also frozen in values from the year 1999.
The other thing we noted is that accommodation is advertised as fully furnished but when you show your interest you are told that the place is empty (usually the kitchen is fully equipped, though). In our case, we had to rush to IKEA to purchase a bed to avoid sleeping on the floor the first night on Swiss soil!
What about getting a work permit?
Once you are registered in the city or town hall, the process of getting your residence permit is almost automatic. The authorities send you letters to welcome you to your new home and to inform you of what you have to do, how and where.
How does Swiss life compare to where you were previously living?
Switzerland is a very expensive heaven on Earth. But it is worth relocating here. Salaries allow you to live relatively well. The price of some items, such as meat, dairy, etc. may be shocking at first but after some time, you get accustomed.
Name three things that you love about living in Switzerland
The picturesque scenery, the security and the respect that people have for others and the way they care for things
What are you favourite things to do in your spare time in Switzerland?
Going for long strolls and enjoy breathing fresh air, swimming in the lake (only in summer!), and discovering this amazing country as long-term tourists.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about moving to Switzerland what would it be?
Try to save some money before relocating. Inform yourself carefully on https://ch.ch about relocating and moving your stuff here. If you travel with pets like we did with our four cats, make sure that you have their pet-passports and vaccines up to date before you book your flight. Be ready to pay extra money for the local handling on arrival and toll clearance.
Above all, enjoy your new life here and all the opportunities ahead!
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