Zurich is a city with extensive history and plenty of career opportunities. However, it is also one of the most difficult cities to move into. Listed below is a guide for newcomers to Zurich.
Switzerland has one of the most stable economies in Europe and the world. Although the Swiss Franc is tied to the Euro, it still maintains a lot of independence. This has protected Switzerland from the financial woes that have plagued the rest of Europe. The Swiss franc also has the world's lowest inflation rate.
Swiss schools are not cheap, but they are certainly high quality. Depending on where you are living in Switzerland, the taught language may be in German, French, or Italian. Don't worry though, there are also many schools that have English taught programs.
Everything in Zurich is expensive, including houses. The easiest way to find a house in the city is through a real estate agent. You could also search online or ask any friends you have who already live there.
If you plan to relocate to Zurich permanently, you should consider applying for Swiss citizenship. This will eliminate the need for re-doing residence paperwork when switching jobs and will also allow you to start your own local business. Non-Swiss citizens are also not able to purchase residential property.
As a Canadian, the most popular way to obtain Swiss citizenship is through naturalization. You will need to file a request with the Alien Police which will then be forwarded to the Department of Justice. Canadians will need to have lived in Switzerland for at least 12 years, although any time spent while you are 10-20 years will count as double. Certain municipalities may also have additional stipulations for getting citizenship.
Don't move to Zurich if you are looking for sunny skies all year around. The summer can be very pleasant, but the winters are equally cold and unpleasant. Remember to pack plenty of warm clothes and be aware that the temperature can greatly vary several times a day.
Swiss are very good with languages and in Zurich most people will be able to speak basic English. German is the next important language, followed by French and Italian. Although Swiss people can understand German, they have their own secret Swiss-German dialect that is virtually impossible to understand if you are used to hearing normal German.
Zurich is a wonderful city to live and work. To truly thrive in this city however, you will need a fairly hefty bank account, plenty of warm clothing, and an open mind. Speaking a few extra languages won't hurt either.