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London vs Geneva

Hi all, 


I am wondering if anyone here, particularily people with kids, has lived both in London and Geneva and would be able to briefly comment on how the two cities compare. I am particularily interested in the medical and educational system and general quality of life. 


Thank you!  

The text you are quoting:

Hi all, 


I am wondering if anyone here, particularily people with kids, has lived both in London and Geneva and would be able to briefly comment on how the two cities compare. I am particularily interested in the medical and educational system and general quality of life. 


Thank you!  


Anka BSep 15, 2022 @ 16:01
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 1

Hi,


London and Geneva are both so widely different that its almost impossible to compare.


London is a 24hr city with Museums and Theatre, and restaurants and deliveries and takeaways and pubs and whatever you want at your beck and call 24/7 almost.... oh, and the queues, and traffic, the strikes, the crime, the grime, the tube and busses running late and the insufferable commute.


Geneva has very little of any of that, in comparison its a village, you're perhaps better off comparing Geneva to one of the UK's midsized towns, albeit much much MUCH more expensive. There are supermarkets here that make Waitrose look like cheap discount stores.


With all that said, you have an immesurably better quality of life here compared to London. Sailing, skiing, walking, just about anything outdoors is on your door step... its quiet, much much less crime compared to London, less commute time, trains and trams and busses on time (mostly). Less stress in almost every aspect of life.


For schools, you have two choices for a UK educated child. A) Local school, which is free... but, its in French. Most kids here are trilingual at the very least, so foreign languages are just a thing most kids deal with here. And however tough this may sound its better to throw your child into the system here and you will see they will be fluent within a few months... the younger the better. Foreign kids usually start a year behind, which gives them the chance to learn the languages whilst catching up. 


The second option is B) an International school, and you'll have the choice of either French stream or English stream (where French is also taught). This is not free.... and prices compare to a private education at a top UK school, and can even be alot more expensive depending on choice. 


Either way dont feel that one is better than the other... its depends where you live for the free local school options... but most are pretty good.  If you can afford the private international route, that may be your preference, especially if you dont plan to be here long term... both options have their benefits and their negatives.


Medical is top notch here compared to the UK. Health insurance is obligatory, so you have no choice... the only options you have is the level of coverage, and the premiums related to that. If you need something done, it will generally get done... no two year waiting lists like in the UK.


Property is another topic altogether. Have a look at www.homegate.ch for the types of things you can get for different prices.... Think "central london" prices and you wont be too disappointed.


For Cars www.autoscout24.ch 


For health insurance prices www.comparis.ch


Good luck trying to figure it all out...


 

The text you are quoting:

Hi,


London and Geneva are both so widely different that its almost impossible to compare.


London is a 24hr city with Museums and Theatre, and restaurants and deliveries and takeaways and pubs and whatever you want at your beck and call 24/7 almost.... oh, and the queues, and traffic, the strikes, the crime, the grime, the tube and busses running late and the insufferable commute.


Geneva has very little of any of that, in comparison its a village, you're perhaps better off comparing Geneva to one of the UK's midsized towns, albeit much much MUCH more expensive. There are supermarkets here that make Waitrose look like cheap discount stores.


With all that said, you have an immesurably better quality of life here compared to London. Sailing, skiing, walking, just about anything outdoors is on your door step... its quiet, much much less crime compared to London, less commute time, trains and trams and busses on time (mostly). Less stress in almost every aspect of life.


For schools, you have two choices for a UK educated child. A) Local school, which is free... but, its in French. Most kids here are trilingual at the very least, so foreign languages are just a thing most kids deal with here. And however tough this may sound its better to throw your child into the system here and you will see they will be fluent within a few months... the younger the better. Foreign kids usually start a year behind, which gives them the chance to learn the languages whilst catching up. 


The second option is B) an International school, and you'll have the choice of either French stream or English stream (where French is also taught). This is not free.... and prices compare to a private education at a top UK school, and can even be alot more expensive depending on choice. 


Either way dont feel that one is better than the other... its depends where you live for the free local school options... but most are pretty good.  If you can afford the private international route, that may be your preference, especially if you dont plan to be here long term... both options have their benefits and their negatives.


Medical is top notch here compared to the UK. Health insurance is obligatory, so you have no choice... the only options you have is the level of coverage, and the premiums related to that. If you need something done, it will generally get done... no two year waiting lists like in the UK.


Property is another topic altogether. Have a look at www.homegate.ch for the types of things you can get for different prices.... Think "central london" prices and you wont be too disappointed.


For Cars www.autoscout24.ch 


For health insurance prices www.comparis.ch


Good luck trying to figure it all out...


 


Charlie, Sep 16, 2022 @ 14:26
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 2

That's very useful information. Thanks so much for responsing in great detail, Charlie! Just a few follow up questions: 


- do the Swiss doctors speak English? can you navigate the system with basic/intermediate French? 


- are there any towns around Geneva which are known to be particularly family-friendly, for people who choose to live outside the city?


- what are the specificities of the real estate market for foreigners who want to rent or buy property? I understand different rules apply for foreigners as compared to locals, but I might be wrong. 

Thank you! 

The text you are quoting:

That's very useful information. Thanks so much for responsing in great detail, Charlie! Just a few follow up questions: 


- do the Swiss doctors speak English? can you navigate the system with basic/intermediate French? 


- are there any towns around Geneva which are known to be particularly family-friendly, for people who choose to live outside the city?


- what are the specificities of the real estate market for foreigners who want to rent or buy property? I understand different rules apply for foreigners as compared to locals, but I might be wrong. 

Thank you! 


Anka B, Sep 16, 2022 @ 16:02
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 3

That's very useful information. Thanks so much for responsing in great detail, Charlie! Just a few follow up questions: 

- do the Swiss doctors speak English? can you navigate the system with basic/intermediate French? 

- are there any towns around Geneva which are known to be particularly family-friendly, for people who choose to live outside the city?

- what are the specificities of the real estate market for foreigners who want to rent or buy property? I understand different rules apply for foreigners as compared to locals, but I might be wrong. 

Thank you! 


Sep 16, 22 16:02

Anka,


1)  do the Swiss doctors speak English? can you navigate the system with basic/intermediate French? 


Yes many do, once you're here its easy to ask around for a referral or whatever. You have choice here. For example many / most doctors have their own radiology depts or one close by, ditto blood test places, so they can cover most stuff without sending you to hospital (as the UK would do). In Switzerland generally if you need treatment you get it, there and then, unless its a major operation.


2) - are there any towns around Geneva which are known to be particularly family-friendly, for people who choose to live outside the city?


Yep many, but initially as a first timer you might have to live in the Canton that issues your permit, so for example, if Geneva issue you a permit for work, then your'e bound to Geneva.. equally so for Vaud and so on.


In Canton Geneva it depends also where you work, because commuting around the lake from say Hermance to the UN can be longer than you might want (not relative to London of course, but in Swiss terms a 30 plus minute commute is quite long). Outlaying villages such as Satigny and Russin are family friendly, as well as big wine producing areas, and some districts within Geneva are lovey too, such as Eaux Vives, or Petit Sacconnex or even Chambesy.


In Vaud, all down the lake coast there are villages that are lovley, from Coppet to Founex, to Nyon, to Prangins to Gland, and even Lausanne.  


When you know where you will work its best then to ask for reccomendations and ideas.


3) what are the specificities of the real estate market for foreigners who want to rent or buy property? I understand different rules apply for foreigners as compared to locals, but I might be wrong. 


Renting here is very competative, especially at decent price levels. So you need to be quick or need help from a relocator agent. You're limited generally to 3 times your salary as max rent... agents are arrogant here and dont have to work for their money, although recently its gotten a little better.


To rent a place you need a residents permit, proof of earnings (contract of employment), and certificate showing youre debt free... plus between one and three months deposit... etc yada yada usual stuff. 


For a two bed apartment you're looking at CHF2500 - 4000 per month depending on location.


For a 3/4 bed house (semi detatched) CHF 4000 per month upwards.


To buy, you need a B permit as EEA EU passport holder, or a C permit (after 5 or 10 yrs depending on nationality), plus the 30% deposit... its best to wait till you're here, and not rush this one, since you'll want to find an area you like first, then the house etc.


Unless youre already very wealthy, nothing here will happen for you without a job. get that first then decide about where you want to live, how big a commute etc.

The text you are quoting:

Anka,


1)  do the Swiss doctors speak English? can you navigate the system with basic/intermediate French? 


Yes many do, once you're here its easy to ask around for a referral or whatever. You have choice here. For example many / most doctors have their own radiology depts or one close by, ditto blood test places, so they can cover most stuff without sending you to hospital (as the UK would do). In Switzerland generally if you need treatment you get it, there and then, unless its a major operation.


2) - are there any towns around Geneva which are known to be particularly family-friendly, for people who choose to live outside the city?


Yep many, but initially as a first timer you might have to live in the Canton that issues your permit, so for example, if Geneva issue you a permit for work, then your'e bound to Geneva.. equally so for Vaud and so on.


In Canton Geneva it depends also where you work, because commuting around the lake from say Hermance to the UN can be longer than you might want (not relative to London of course, but in Swiss terms a 30 plus minute commute is quite long). Outlaying villages such as Satigny and Russin are family friendly, as well as big wine producing areas, and some districts within Geneva are lovey too, such as Eaux Vives, or Petit Sacconnex or even Chambesy.


In Vaud, all down the lake coast there are villages that are lovley, from Coppet to Founex, to Nyon, to Prangins to Gland, and even Lausanne.  


When you know where you will work its best then to ask for reccomendations and ideas.


3) what are the specificities of the real estate market for foreigners who want to rent or buy property? I understand different rules apply for foreigners as compared to locals, but I might be wrong. 


Renting here is very competative, especially at decent price levels. So you need to be quick or need help from a relocator agent. You're limited generally to 3 times your salary as max rent... agents are arrogant here and dont have to work for their money, although recently its gotten a little better.


To rent a place you need a residents permit, proof of earnings (contract of employment), and certificate showing youre debt free... plus between one and three months deposit... etc yada yada usual stuff. 


For a two bed apartment you're looking at CHF2500 - 4000 per month depending on location.


For a 3/4 bed house (semi detatched) CHF 4000 per month upwards.


To buy, you need a B permit as EEA EU passport holder, or a C permit (after 5 or 10 yrs depending on nationality), plus the 30% deposit... its best to wait till you're here, and not rush this one, since you'll want to find an area you like first, then the house etc.


Unless youre already very wealthy, nothing here will happen for you without a job. get that first then decide about where you want to live, how big a commute etc.


Charlie, Sep 16, 2022 @ 17:27
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 4

Charlie,


One thing that strikes me about central London property, apart from price, is the quality or .. the lack of thereof. Most buildings are old and very old, in quite poor state - you get condensation, lack of sound proofing, cracks in the walls, single-layered windows and all the rest. The price reflects mostly the location and "character", but that's pretty much it. Does CHF3500 - 4000 per month get you a decent, more contemporary property in Geneva, where insulation, for example, is not something you need to worry about? 


Also, something that came to mind while taking a breath of chilly autumnal air in London, how does the weather year-round in the two cities compare? We were in Geneva once before, but it was June and the weather was gorgeous, if not a bit too hot. 


Thanks! 

The text you are quoting:

Charlie,


One thing that strikes me about central London property, apart from price, is the quality or .. the lack of thereof. Most buildings are old and very old, in quite poor state - you get condensation, lack of sound proofing, cracks in the walls, single-layered windows and all the rest. The price reflects mostly the location and "character", but that's pretty much it. Does CHF3500 - 4000 per month get you a decent, more contemporary property in Geneva, where insulation, for example, is not something you need to worry about? 


Also, something that came to mind while taking a breath of chilly autumnal air in London, how does the weather year-round in the two cities compare? We were in Geneva once before, but it was June and the weather was gorgeous, if not a bit too hot. 


Thanks! 


Anka B, Sep 16, 2022 @ 19:11
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 5

Charlie,

One thing that strikes me about central London property, apart from price, is the quality or .. the lack of thereof. Most buildings are old and very old, in quite poor state - you get condensation, lack of sound proofing, cracks in the walls, single-layered windows and all the rest. The price reflects mostly the location and "character", but that's pretty much it. Does CHF3500 - 4000 per month get you a decent, more contemporary property in Geneva, where insulation, for example, is not something you need to worry about? 

Also, something that came to mind while taking a breath of chilly autumnal air in London, how does the weather year-round in the two cities compare? We were in Geneva once before, but it was June and the weather was gorgeous, if not a bit too hot. 

Thanks! 


Sep 16, 22 19:11

Yes our buildings are insulated and heated. Yes there is double glazing, and No, its unlikely you will find mould. Apartments and houses are handed to you in pristine condition, and you will be required to return it as such at the end of tenancy. 


One caveat, is that theyre pretty much almost bare... hardly a lightbulb, so you will be expected to provide everything... Kitchens are normally fully equipped, BUT depending on the agency and land lord, can come without a oven or fridge (and if there is a fridge its most likely to be a small one). Just check each listing as to what the kitchen has... most are modern and updated thankfully (small fridges aside).


Houses tend to be a little more "dated" in terms of kitchen equipment and tiing etc.


Depending on where you live, some apartment blocks would ask you not to shower or flush your toilet after 10pm, and you generally shouldnt wear heeled shoes in the apartment, as steps carries through the wooden floors. In high end apartments blocks there will be rules about keeping your area outside tidy... no leaving of prams or pushchairs or bikes in the hallways for example. There are lots of rules here, and theyre enforced.... so loud parties till 5 am by your upstairs neighbour (as i experienced in london several times during covid lockdown) wont happen here... the police will shut you down (at 11.01pm) and fine you alot...


I moved to London in 2018... and left in 2021.... after 18yrs in Switzerland I couldnt handle London any more.


Summers are hot, often in the mid to high 30's (when the UK is complaining about mid 20's) and winter is cold with snow in the city sometimes. Strangely enough though, everything seems to work, even when it snows.... Just look on your phones weather app for a historical average weather comparison. 

The text you are quoting:

Yes our buildings are insulated and heated. Yes there is double glazing, and No, its unlikely you will find mould. Apartments and houses are handed to you in pristine condition, and you will be required to return it as such at the end of tenancy. 


One caveat, is that theyre pretty much almost bare... hardly a lightbulb, so you will be expected to provide everything... Kitchens are normally fully equipped, BUT depending on the agency and land lord, can come without a oven or fridge (and if there is a fridge its most likely to be a small one). Just check each listing as to what the kitchen has... most are modern and updated thankfully (small fridges aside).


Houses tend to be a little more "dated" in terms of kitchen equipment and tiing etc.


Depending on where you live, some apartment blocks would ask you not to shower or flush your toilet after 10pm, and you generally shouldnt wear heeled shoes in the apartment, as steps carries through the wooden floors. In high end apartments blocks there will be rules about keeping your area outside tidy... no leaving of prams or pushchairs or bikes in the hallways for example. There are lots of rules here, and theyre enforced.... so loud parties till 5 am by your upstairs neighbour (as i experienced in london several times during covid lockdown) wont happen here... the police will shut you down (at 11.01pm) and fine you alot...


I moved to London in 2018... and left in 2021.... after 18yrs in Switzerland I couldnt handle London any more.


Summers are hot, often in the mid to high 30's (when the UK is complaining about mid 20's) and winter is cold with snow in the city sometimes. Strangely enough though, everything seems to work, even when it snows.... Just look on your phones weather app for a historical average weather comparison. 


Charlie, Sep 17, 2022 @ 08:48
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 6

"There are supermarkets here that make Waitrose look like cheap discount stores"


I am just curious Charlie, which supermarkets are these you mention? Coop, Migros, Manor are all devoid of inspiration and imagination unless it's cheese or pizza!

The text you are quoting:

"There are supermarkets here that make Waitrose look like cheap discount stores"


I am just curious Charlie, which supermarkets are these you mention? Coop, Migros, Manor are all devoid of inspiration and imagination unless it's cheese or pizza!


itisrich, Sep 20, 2022 @ 10:44
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Post 7

Hi Rich(?)! Any personal reflections on living in Geneva or living in Geneva vs living in London, if you have experience of living in both cities? Many thanks! 

The text you are quoting:

Hi Rich(?)! Any personal reflections on living in Geneva or living in Geneva vs living in London, if you have experience of living in both cities? Many thanks! 


Anka B, Sep 20, 2022 @ 11:30
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 8

"There are supermarkets here that make Waitrose look like cheap discount stores"

I am just curious Charlie, which supermarkets are these you mention? Coop, Migros, Manor are all devoid of inspiration and imagination unless it's cheese or pizza!


Sep 20, 22 10:44

Rich, 


Fill a "basket" at any Geneva supermarket and you're close to CHF100 in cost.


Fill a basket at Waitrose with the same or comparable items and youre more than likely to be closer to £30 - 40


Thats a discount in my book.


ps Manor isn't too bad... and certainly better than Coop or Migros.

The text you are quoting:

Rich, 


Fill a "basket" at any Geneva supermarket and you're close to CHF100 in cost.


Fill a basket at Waitrose with the same or comparable items and youre more than likely to be closer to £30 - 40


Thats a discount in my book.


ps Manor isn't too bad... and certainly better than Coop or Migros.


Charlie, Sep 20, 2022 @ 13:46
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 9

Ah yes sorry my mistake, for a moment I thought you were suggestimg supermarkets were better in Switzerland ???? 

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Ah yes sorry my mistake, for a moment I thought you were suggestimg supermarkets were better in Switzerland ???? 


itisrich, Sep 20, 2022 @ 16:38
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 10

Ah yes sorry my mistake, for a moment I thought you were suggestimg supermarkets were better in Switzerland ???? 


Sep 20, 22 16:38

yeaaaaah....nope Laughing

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yeaaaaah....nope Laughing


Charlie, Sep 20, 2022 @ 16:43
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 11

Just on the supermarket thingy, one thing that still delights me here is how much better the food tastes and how we don't get blasted with "buy 2, get an unnecessary third one free" offers that seem to be obligatory in Sainsbury's ;)   I feel there are fewer wasteful practices going on in the supermarkets here and less unnecessary packaging - my eyes rolled out my head the last time I was in London and they were selling individual artichokes boxed in plastic. 


I know I'm biased, but I could tell you which tomato or blueberry or chicken has been bought in a UK supermarket vs a Swiss one with my eyes blindfolded.  Coming to Switzerland reignited my taste buds for everyday food rather than having to use sauces in England to mask the lack of primary flavour in the ingredients.  We don't quite get to juicy Italian watermelon standards here but still, coming from Britain, I find this place a considerable upgrade.  But yeah.  you pay for it...I tell myself it's down to the mass production methods and the smaller population here, dunno if that's true. 

The text you are quoting:

Just on the supermarket thingy, one thing that still delights me here is how much better the food tastes and how we don't get blasted with "buy 2, get an unnecessary third one free" offers that seem to be obligatory in Sainsbury's ;)   I feel there are fewer wasteful practices going on in the supermarkets here and less unnecessary packaging - my eyes rolled out my head the last time I was in London and they were selling individual artichokes boxed in plastic. 


I know I'm biased, but I could tell you which tomato or blueberry or chicken has been bought in a UK supermarket vs a Swiss one with my eyes blindfolded.  Coming to Switzerland reignited my taste buds for everyday food rather than having to use sauces in England to mask the lack of primary flavour in the ingredients.  We don't quite get to juicy Italian watermelon standards here but still, coming from Britain, I find this place a considerable upgrade.  But yeah.  you pay for it...I tell myself it's down to the mass production methods and the smaller population here, dunno if that's true. 


hucklewoo, Today @ 12:23
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Re: London vs Geneva
Post 12

You know, the same striked me when I went to Austria .. the taste of the food is just better. I'm all for less waste, more flavour .. even if it comes at a price. 

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You know, the same striked me when I went to Austria .. the taste of the food is just better. I'm all for less waste, more flavour .. even if it comes at a price. 


Anka B, Today @ 13:43
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