Moving to a new city can be daunting. Especially when you are dealing with a new language, a foreign culture and a very different socio-political system.
Integration is not easy and this is especially true for women, who are traditionally responsible for taking care of the home and children in many cultures. They may not have the same opportunities as men to meet other people and to learn about the new city through work. Thus, those who stay home may end up feeling isolated and lost.
Learning about Everyday Life
The city of Zurich is aware of this problem and set up their "In Zürich leben" course several years ago especially for women. The aim of the course is to inform participants on the practicalities of Zurich life as well as bringing them closer to Swiss culture.
How does the healthcare system work? How is the school system set up? How is the rubbish separated for recycling? What are the social customs when it comes to neighbors and what are the traditional festivals and social events that bring people together? At the end of the 12 week course, all the question marks floating around should have settled, opening the way for enjoying life in Zurich!
A Worthwhile Investment
One of the great things about this course is that it is held in some 12 languages. As a result, you are likely to meet people with similar experiences and you can learn about the city in your native tongue. Your teacher probably went through the same experience when they first arrived, so they understand the problems you might be facing and leave plenty of time for lively discussions and individual questions.
Another benefit is the childcare service provided by the course. While you are in class, your children will be looked after on site by caregivers that speak multiple languages. All this comes at a subsidized price for residents of Zurich: CHF 60 admission fee, plus CHF 30 for childcare. This makes it a worthwhile investment into your future life!
Incidentally, I met my fellow Newly Swissed contributor, Dani, through this course. So not only did I learn a great deal about Zurich and Swiss culture, I also gained a good friend. What more can I say?
(Feature photograph courtesy Gsell Photography)