We have just come to the end of our first year of living and working in Zurich and I thought it would be useful to note down some of the lessons learnt.So, in no particular order, here you go…
- Always make sure you have a valid ticket when you use public transport. If you get used to buying a particular type of ticket (eg a 9 O’clock Pass) and you are traveling at a different time than usual, make sure your ticket is valid. If you get this wrong, you might get out of jail with the SBB iPhone application.
- When you are sure you have the right ticket, double check! The SBB inspectors are clinically efficient. In the last 24 hours I saw a penalty fine being given to a blind disabled woman.
- Don’t obsess about buying a car or importing one. With a few minutes planning, the train system and Mobility system can cover any journey.
- You will inevitably go to IKEA. You can rent a van from them for a few hours if you don’t have your own way of getting the packs home, or you can get them delivered. If you have to go on a Saturday, wait until after lunch.
- If you can, explore the local area on foot or by bike. You will see and experience things that you do not pick up in a car or on the bus.
- When you use one of the automated petrol payment systems, make sure that the pump you have selected is the one you are using. Some stations have more than one diesel pump but only one is actually usable. When you have finished, check that the pump resets to zero.
- When using a local company for any service, make sure you know exactly what their charges are. For some reason, it is acceptable for a company to charge you for their time traveling from their base to your home. They will charge in distance and time.
- The benefit of learning the language cannot be overstated. It may be easy enough getting by in English but speaking (or attempting to speak) the language is better for you and sometimes gets you better service.
- Timekeeping is extremely important. The transport system is reliable enough that you can accurately plan how to get around.
- When you have an administrative task to perform, like arranging healthcare or a driving licence, asking five people what to do will give you ten different answers! You can usually get a good idea of what to do at the English Forum.
- You live in a wonderful country. Respect it and respect its people.
It’s a fairly arbitrary list but is based on experience.Feel free to add your own experiences in the comments.