Expat Voices: Katrin Gygax on living in Zurich

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After 16 years in Switzerland, Katrin still finds the food yummy, the people reserved, and the houses way too expensive.

Name: Katrin Gygax
Nationalities: Swiss and Canadian
City of residence: Zurich
Date of birth: 28 February, 1961
Civil status: Married
Occupation: Journalist/translator
Reason for moving to Switzerland: Too numerous to mention; click here to read more.
Lived in Switzerland for: 16 years

What was your first impression of Switzerland?

Sixteen years ago it needed some work as far as social openness is concerned, but things are changing rapidly and otherwise it’s almost perfect.

What do you think of the food?

What do you think of the shopping in Switzerland?

It can get quite pricey, but there are bargains to be had all over. And for some strange reason, things made of glass are much cheaper than back in Canada.

What do you appreciate about living in Switzerland?

Being spoiled by public transit, the plethora of social events, and the multicultural aspect of Zurich.

What do you find most frustrating about living in Switzerland?

There is no chance of a normal person ever being able to afford a house.

What puzzles you about Switzerland and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
Canadians are more sociable than most Swiss; it’s not as easy to get into a conversation with people here.

How does the quality of life in Switzerland compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
Vancouver has often beaten Zurich to the top of Mercer Consulting’s list of best cities to live in. While this may be true for the expat managers who are the subject of the annual study, in reality Zurich offers much more in the way of safety, financial stability and cultural events. The only thing missing here is the wide open spaces.

If you could change anything about Switzerland, what would it be?
I would love to see the end of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei), which takes advantage of gullible people with the single aim of furthering the careers of its politicians.

What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Don’t hang out too much with other expats just for the sake of speaking English; it can often have the opposite effect and make you feel even less at home. Learn the local language. Switzerland’s many festivals are a great way to meet people.


expat voicesIf you would like to share your perspective about life in Switzerland and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorCH@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire' in the subject line. 

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