Thinking about relocating to a new country? In this case, advice from others who have already been through a relocation may help. Meet Iva and Zoltan Laszlo, a couple who moved from Vienna, Austria to Bern, Switzerland for business reasons. They have kindly shared their relocation experience in order to help others who are about to embark on a similar journey.
The move from Austria to Switzerland was not Iva & Zoltan’s first such experience, so they were cautious from the very beginning - and very right to do so, we may add. It always helps when our clients do not downplay certain aspects of the relocation. Coming from Austria to Switzerland one would expect an easier integration, cultural similarities. But what finds could not be farther from this.
"We knew that Switzerland is a very precise country, and that it’s important to start off on the right foot. We advise future expats to try and understand the national and regional/cantonal regulations – or work with an expert who can provide you with guidance. " (Iva & Zoltan)
Within Europe, laws can differ widely from country to country. And even within Switzerland, you should even expect massive differences from canton to canton. Iva and Zoltan have chosen to work with an immigration expert from the very beginning.
"You have to file the correct immigration paperwork the right way and at the right time. Even tiny mistakes or typos can set you back months. We are fluent in German and still the process was tremendously complicated. We were lucky to have our relocation consultant organise the entire immigration documentation – this was hugely helpful as it considerably lowered our stress levels. We were free to focus on other aspects of our relocation, without having to worry about bureaucratic details." (Iva & Zoltan)
"We’ve moved together over seven times, but the Swiss housing market is undeniably unique. We needed help finding an apartment, in addition to guidance on the immigration process. We really benefited from working with a true expert. Not only did we find our flat thanks to our helpful consultant, but felt that we could trust our consultant and that she truly understood our needs. We were very satisfied with the high quality service that Packimpex provided with the home search and immigration packages."(Iva & Zoltan)
As far as integration goes, Iva & Zoltan advise all future expats to take advantage of socializing at their workplace, and definitely try to learn your local language.
"One of the coolest things about Switzerland is the mixture of all the languages and cultures. So don’t worry – you will find your place here, although it may seem a bit daunting in the beginning." (Iva & Zoltan)
"From our experience, routine is key. Moving internationally can seem like a whirlwind sometimes. It will jumble up your schedule and, before you know it, you’ll realise that your relaxation time is completely gone. As an expat or a future expat, you should make a plan and stick to it. We found it very hard in the first two weeks after our move, as we couldn’t socialise as much and we often felt bored. It’s very important to keep busy. For my husband, exercise does the trick. I like jogging, but any sport sport will work, especially one that will help with socialisation, too. For instance, you can join a local gym.
One final piece of advice: talk to your relocation consultant about this, as well. You may be surprised to learn that they handle so much more than transportation, shipping, and housing. Our Packimpex consultant gave us a lot of great advice about the places where Bern expats hang out and we were able to socialise fairly quickly thanks to her." (Iva & Zoltan)
"I really like the Schwellenmätteli neighbourhood by the River Aare in Bern. There’s a great restaurant above the river, with a transparent floor, so you can see the river running underneath. The food is great, too, so you’ll be treated to more than an extraordinary view and ambience. We also like the Thunersee (Lake Thun), especially the beautiful Schloss Schadau (Schadau Castle) in Thun. Also, the Montreux Jazz Festival is not to be missed."
Do you want to learn more about how Packimpex can support you or your company? We’d love to tell you about how we work and what you can expect once you book a relocation project with us.