I’ve had a bit of a difficult time adjusting to living in Switzerland – I’ve been homesick, lonely, felt out of place, haven’t really made any proper friends [except for one lovely girl who was on holiday here, and has now gone back home] and very recently I quit my job because I found it so stressful. In short, the past few months have been quite turbulent and full of upheaval, to the point where I’ve had to double check with myself whether I liked living here or not.
There are actually lots of things I really like about in Switzerland, and truthfully, I think it’s still far too early to give up on expat life. I think building a life takes time wherever you are, and I really do feel that in a few months, I will have found my feet a bit more. I’m still hopeful about my future here.
In order to help me appreciate my expat life more, I thought I would compile a list of 10 things I like about living in Switzerland [in no particular order] to remind me to stay in the game and to be grateful for what I have:
1. My flat
After living in a cramped, badly constructed, mouldy flat in London, it’s wonderful to live in a spacious, well-built modern flat for roughly the same amount of rent. I do think flats in Switzerland generally offer better value than their London counterparts. In London you pay a lot, but you don’t usually get very much. Here, you also pay a lot but you do get a lot in exchange for the money. Aside from my teenage home, this is the best home I’ve ever lived in. And even though I’ve had some good roommates over the years [I also had terrible ones] I really love just living with my boyfriend, and no one else!
2. Seeing my boyfriend every day
I’m starting to sound like a fan girl of my own relationship, but after a year and a few months of being in a long-distance relationship, it’s really great to be in the same country at the same time for longer than just a weekend.
3. The reliable trains
The stereotype is true – Swiss trains really are reliable. They are also air – conditioned and you almost always get a seat [the same can not be said of many London trains]. After journeying with the now notoriously bad Southern network for a year when I lived in Streatham, I really, really appreciate how reliable the Swiss transport network is in comparison.
4. Being close to nature
I am a city-girl at heart, but I do find nature invigorating and refreshing. I like how easy it is to go hiking here, like that I don’t have to travel far to be fully in the countryside. Now that Autumn is here, I want to get outside properly – I have a tendency to hole up inside when it’s too hot, which is the opposite of what most people do….
5. Being close to the rest of Europe
Since I’ve been here I’ve managed to go on three mini-breaks; I visited Geneva, Lorcano and Vaduz in Liechenstein. Whilst I often used to go on mini-breaks in the UK, there’s something exciting about being able to visit other European countries or other parts of Switzerland so easily. I definitely think that living here will afford me many new opportunities to travel, and I intend to make the most of it.
6. The food
Swiss cuisine is delicious. Zopf, Rösti, fondue and Zürcher geschnetzeltes now rank amongst my all-time favourite food. I’m happy to eat these foods any chance I get [which is bad news for my waist-line, as they are all very hearty foods].
7. Having new places to explore close to where I live
In addition to being in a good position to explore Europe easily, I also like the novelty of having places that are unfamiliar to me near where I live. If I wanted to go to an area of London I hadn’t visited, I would have to go quite far afield, but here there’s plenty of towns and places to try out that I haven’t seen before. I’m also looking forward to trying out different bars and cafes and finding out some new favourites, and whilst eating out here is expensive, I’m also looking forward to exploring more of Zurich’s food scene as well.
Zürich is one of my favourite cities in the World, which may be surprising, but I like its energy, it’s much less frenetic than London and you can actually walk down the main shopping street without being stranded behind relentlessly slow tourists. Now, London is also one of my favourite cities in the world, but I actually think Zürich might be more consistently appealing.
London has pockets of beautiful buildings and parks, but it is also considerably more grimy and run down in places -Zürich is more consistently good looking overall. Whilst most people might imagine Zürich to be brutally industrial [that’s how I imagined it before I saw it properly] it’s actually a very pretty city with an old town filled with cobbled, winding streets and fairy-tale spires, which I love to walk through. There is an industrial quarter, which is where all the cool-kids hang out [and where I would like to party in at least once if I got the chance]. I think Zürich is a good mix of the old and new, and there’s a lot more going on than first appears.
9. The lack of litter
Switzerland is a very environmentally friendly country, and as such it’s also very clean. London has rubbish all over the place, but honestly, it’s rare for me to spot much debris when walking around here, and I applaud the public here for taking more care with their surroundings.
Winterthur is a small town in the canton of Zürich, and in my head I view it as Zürich’s little sister. I love how easy it is to walk around this quaint little town, and there’s actually a great choice of restaurants and bars here too if you’re looking for a fun night out. I haven’t been for a night out in Zürich, but I have been for a night out in Winterthur and it was really great. I also brought my best friend and her boyfriend to Winterthur when they visited this summer and we had a really fun meal there. I’m looking forward to more nights out here, especially as it is where my International group is based.