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Meet the EF Zurich Office: Top things to know about living and working in Zurich

Meet the EF Zurich Office: Top things to know about living and working in Zurich

Amidst Zurich's stunning array of lakes and mountains is EF Education First's global headquarters, the EF Zurich office. The building was once home to the Swiss Stock Exchange, but in 2019, it transformed from the epicenter of finance into the epicenter of education. Team members have moved from all over the world to work and live in Zurich: the EF Zurich office staff represent over 60 nationalities. Read on to hear from EF team members as they share what makes living and working in Zurich great, and for tips and tricks anyone looking to relocate to Switzerland's largest city needs to know.

Sophie, EF International Language Campuses

Neighborhood recommendations:

Are you an outdoorsy person? Look to live close to the lake. Are you interested in living close to the city's nightlife scene? Then Kreis 4 is where you should live.

Favorite things about Zurich?

I love how Zurich is so small and so big all at the same time. By bike, you can get anywhere in a short amount of time, but Zurich also has everything a big city has. Within a short train ride, you can ski and hike. The city comes to life in summer when everybody sits outside, enjoys the long evenings, and swims in the river and the lake.

What are some tips that you wish someone had told you about Zurich when you first moved here?

Buy a bike! You can get anywhere quickly, so buy a bike and discover the city that way.

What is the commute like?

Switzerland has excellent public transportation, so a car is generally optional. Most people will commute by bike or by public transport. I am lucky to walk to the office—it only takes 15 minutes.

What do you love about your EF office?

The interior design is so beautiful, and the office is very international. You can hear dozens of different languages spoken every day. The office is in the city center, just a 15-minute walk to the lake. We even have a small river right next to the office to swim and a nearby botanical garden, a great spot to have lunch.

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Sonja, EF Study Abroad

Neighborhood recommendations:

Wiedikon, Albisrieden, and Enge.

Favorite things about Zurich?

The cultural scene for music, the bars, the nature, and the water-based activities in the summer make Zurich a fantastic place to live and work.

What are some tips that you wish someone had told you about Zurich when you first moved here?

Buy a bike or get the Half Fare Travelcard as soon as you arrive—it will make public transportation much easier and cheaper.

What is the commute like?

My commute can be anywhere from five to 40 minutes, depending on whether I take the train or ride my bike.

How would you describe the work environment in your EF office?

It's fun, warm-hearted, and dynamic every day.

What do you love about your EF office?

The in-house exercise studio classes EF offers! I commit to going a minimum of two times per week, and as a team, we motivate one another and hold each other accountable. Happy hours are also a great way to meet people from other departments.

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Helga, EF Educational Tours

Neighborhood recommendations:

I love Kreis 10 (Wipkingen/Höngg) because it is close to nature—you can take beautiful walks at sunset, it is excellent for families, and it is still close to the city. But if you like being central to restaurants and going out, Wiedikon area is your place!

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Favorite things about Zurich?

The variety of cultural options combined with the fantastic nature around it! Also, travel is convenient since we are in the center of Europe.

What are some tips that you wish someone had told you about Zurich when you first moved here?

Learn German well before coming to Switzerland. Then, once you're here, you can pick up Swiss German, a primary language used in Zurich, easier.

What is the commute like?

Despite being a major city, Zurich is manageable. Everything you need is typically within a 30-to-40-minute commute. The public transportation is amazing here, and it is the most common way to get to the office besides biking.

How would you describe the work environment in your EF office?

Since we have staff from over 60 nationalities, the environment is diverse, friendly, and engaging.

What do you love about your EF office?

The terrace, the gym, and The Exchange area are all beautiful! Also, the office is in the city center, which means everything is nearby.

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Amelie, EF Educational Tours

Neighborhood recommendations:

If moving alone, lovely areas to live include Wiedikon and Wollishofen Enge. Most families tend to settle on the Silver Coast (Kilchberg, Adliswil, Thalwil, and Horgen) as there are larger apartments there with closer proximity to international schools.

Favorite things about Zurich?

Without hesitation—the lake! I never thought you could get such a great summer vacation vibe from a landlocked country. I am also a big fan of Uetliberg, where you can hike within minutes of the city.

What are some tips that you wish someone had told you about Zurich when you first moved here?

An expat first learns that you need to get the correct trash bags.

What is the commute like?

Commuting to the office by bike has been life-changing for me. When I first moved here from the US, I was so impressed (and still am!) with the public transportation network in Switzerland.

How would you describe the work environment in your EF office?

There is always something happening in the office. It's a nice feeling of community when most of us are expats.

What do you love about your EF office?

The office location is so convenient, and I love that we are so close to the lake and have a terrace.

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Mariana, EF Educational Tours

Neighborhood recommendations:

For me, it was essential to be central and well connected with some restaurants and bars around, but quiet enough. If you are looking for that too, the perfect area is Wiedikon (Kreis 3). It is close to the river for the summer swims and has a central train station, making it easy to get to the airport. Some trendy restaurants and bars are there without it being a "going out" area, and there are many beautiful clothing and furniture shops.

Favorite things about Zurich?

The Saturday second-hand market in Helvetia Platz—you can buy anything from clothing to bikes. Pro tip: sit at the bar of the Xenix cinema and enjoy the view of the market. I also love Zurich's multicultural environment—you hear multiple languages on the street daily, and almost every type of food is available.

What are some tips that you wish someone had told you about Zurich when you first moved here?

That Sundays are the day of rest. The Swiss take it very seriously, so avoid using your vacuum or throwing the bottles in the recycling bin that day.

What is the commute like?

I can take the tram for three stops, but I usually prefer to walk, which takes me 15-20 minutes.

How would you describe the work environment in your EF office?

Busy, fun, collaborative, and insightful.

What do you love about your EF office?

The office is beautiful and comfortable. Some highlights for me are the gym (notably, the Thursday class), the coffee stations around the office, and the people!

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Serena, EF Study Abroad

Neighborhood recommendations:

A lot of EF employees live in Kreis 3: Wiedikon. It's close to the office and well connected to the center and the lake. If you're looking for a cafe for your weekend brunch or a relaxed restaurant to end your day, you'll head to this neighborhood.

Favorite things about Zurich?

One of the things I love the most about Zurich is its "badi" culture. The "badi" is what we call the open-air public baths. They are located on the lake and rivers, and they are all different from one another, from charming Art Nouveau wooden structures to serene parks. You can spend your lunch break there or an entire day during the weekends.

What are some tips that you wish someone had told you about Zurich when you first moved here?

Enjoy the feeling of being new to the city. Take your time to explore each neighborhood and discover your favorite spots.

What is the commute like?

Most people who live in Zurich walk or bike to the office. For all those who live further away (or on rainy days), there are train and tram stops in front of the building.

How would you describe the work environment in your EF office?

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are bursting with energy. These are the perfect days to schedule in-person meetings or a coffee with someone from another team or department. Mondays and Fridays are quieter as they are typical work-from-home days.

What do you love about your EF office?

I love all the natural light from the many windows, the view of the old botanical garden, and the Scandinavian design of the cafeteria and The Exchange with warm wooden colors and comfy chairs and sofas.

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