Are you a Swiss citizen considering a move to the United Kingdom? In my previous post, I covered how your journey as a Swiss expat in the UK promises an exciting adventure brimming with unique cultural experiences and a lively social scene. In this blog post, I'll delve into the more practical facets of life in the UK for Swiss expats, covering work opportunities to acclimating to British customs and beyond.
Work Opportunities: The UK's Professional Landscape
The United Kingdom offers a wide range of work opportunities, especially in major cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham. As a Swiss citizen, you'll find promising prospects in sectors such as finance, technology, healthcare, and beyond. One key learning I had over the years, is that whilst many career opportunities will open up through the more traditional routes as we are used to, the potential for networking and career growth through post-work socializing and professional events is higher here than in Europe . Don't underestimate the value of attending these gatherings – they're often the gateway to conversations and exciting career opportunities that may not always be advertised, subject to your industry. I worked in media and advertising where this is very common.
Social Life: Pubs, Friendships, and Social Groups
British culture is centered around pubs, making them the perfect place to socialize and make friends. What struck me when I moved here is that Brits are very happy to stand for hours and have a drink in a very busy pub. It is very social and worth experiencing. It is also an opportunity to immerse yourself into the culture and meet interesting people.
While it might take a bit of time to crack the initial reserve of Brits, once you gain their trust, they make excellent colleagues and lifelong friends. Moreover, there are numerous clubs and social groups catering to various interests, ensuring you'll meet fascinating people if you're willing to put in the effort.
Language and Email Etiquette
English is the primary language in the UK, but be prepared for a variety of regional accents and dialects. You might need some time to adjust, but language is generally not a significant barrier. Additionally, email etiquette can be more informal here, depending on your industry. I find it much easier and faster to communicate when you do not need to worry about form as much especially in a social context or in certain professional situations. It is easier not to make a faux-pas here.
Transport: Navigating the UK
The UK boasts an extensive public transport system, including trains, buses, and the London Underground. While trains are generally reliable, they can be expensive. Occasionally, flying within the UK might be a more economical and faster option than taking the train. Always check your travel options in advance, and be very mindful of the weather's impact on transportation. In my my post last week, I mentioned how snow can bring the UK transport system almost to a standstill.
Healthcare: Access to the NHS
The National Health Service (NHS) provides free healthcare to residents, including Swiss expats. It's generally reliable, but non-emergency treatment wait times can sometimes be very lengthy. Dental care on the NHS has a very long waiting list in many areas. You might want to consider having private health insurance as an option. Some employers also offer private health insurance as a benefit.
Topics Deserving Their Own Posts
Certain topics like the cost of living, Brexit's impact, visa and immigration procedures, and education are really important aspects in considering a move to the UK and warrant separate, in-depth discussions, which we will dedicate future posts to.
In Summary: Embrace the Opportunity
Moving to the UK as an expat involves some cultural adjustments and adaptation to British customs, etiquette, and way of life. However, the support network for Swiss expats is substantial, both professionally and socially.
Stay tuned for more in-depth posts on various aspects of life in the UK. If you have specific questions or topics you'd like to explore further, please share your thoughts in the comments – we'd love to hear from you and tailor our future content to your interests.
Welcome to your exciting new chapter in the UK!