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Integration course with Stadt Zürich

If you follow me on Instagram, you have, no doubt, heard plenty about the Integration Course and its highlights – the inside info on how to properly greet others on the street! The visual calendar of local holidays! The detailed explanation of Swiss politics followed by a visit to a live session at Zürich city hall! The coconut culture model! The lessons on Swiss geography and history! And I am only halfway through the program 😉

The course is organized by Stadt Zürich (as part of their amazing integration program) and covers the A to Z of starting your life in Switzerland. It’s packed with useful information, it’s fun, and it gives you the feeling of slowly becoming a local. I still can’t believe that it exists, I’ve never done anything like this in my previous expat experience, so if you are new to Zürich, I highly recommend you take advantage of this local gem. Without going into too much detail, here’s what you need to know about the course and how you can register. 

The Integration Course that I am taking (note: a new course will begin in August!)

  • runs for 16 modules, every Wednesday morning once a week
  • costs 60 francs for all 16 classes
  • is for women who live in Zürich
  • issues a certificate at the end, and reimburses the cost in form of money towards German courses if you attend at least 13 sessions
  • is one of the best things I’ve done in Zürich so far – just read the description below:

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 14.13.17

Zurich integration course invitation

Though I’m taking my course in German, it’s offered in many other languages. Here is a screenshot of the course program in English:

Zurich integration course schedule

Screenshots source: Stadt Zürich.

To find out more information about the course and to register, go to the Stadt Zürich website (scroll down for brochures in different languages).

Here is a photo of me sitting inside Zürich city hall during our course visit, and a little story I shared on Instagram.

At live of session of Gemeinderat Zurich at city hall

Today I watched the government of Gemeinderat Zürich live in the City Hall. What a cool and educational experience for a newcomer. Depending on the conversation I usually understand about 60-80% of what is said in German but today I was at about 30% – so much new and specific vocabulary. Still, I could follow along when they debated whether or not Hochdeutsch or Mundart should be spoken at the Rathaus sessions. There were a few Swiss jokes that made everyone laugh (that’s the only way I know they were jokes – I was still translating previous sentences in my mind 🙈). I thought it was pretty cool that members of parliament have full-time jobs in addition to their part-time commitment as politicians. Somehow I feel like if they also lead everyday lives (not just play politics 24/7) they are better suited to make everyday life decisions for others. But this is just general level observation, I have so much more to learn about Zürich and Swiss politics. Overall this experience made me one small step closer to feeling like a local and almost made up for the fact that I received a lot of emails today saying “thanks for your interest, unfortunately, we think other candidates are much better than you…”. You lose some, you win some. Life of an expat 😊  An article about our visit in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung – https://www.nzz.ch/zuerich/kein-hochdeutsch-im-gemeinderat-die-zuerischnurre-setzt-sich-durch-ld.154297


  1. Shy says

    Hi very interesting post. You seem to be very interesting. If you are interested in meeting, feel free contacting me. 😊 078 705 73 71

    • Good question. I think they do have integration courses for everyone. This one in particular, seems targeted at women who came here to join their husbands/boyfriends and while their significant others are at work, the women need to figure out all the integration stuff on their own – so the course helps with that 🙂

  2. Dana says

    I am new to Switzerland also..Do you have any idea if those courses are only in Zurich?
    I hope not..
    Thank you for your post..It was very interesting for me😀

  3. Hi Dana!
    As far as I know, this is a Zürich only program. But check with the local Stadthaus of the place you are moving, maybe they have something similar or at least some events. Good luck 🙂

  4. Lívia Dalla Bernardina Abreu says

    Wow, Lara! This is probably reeeally interesting! Sometimes we spend a lot of time just trying to understand things that could be very easy, if explained. Its just that sometimes local people dont know this is a task for us!
    And speaking about the e-mails, I just want to tell you, that, even though I don’t know you in person, you seem to be a very special girl, and I’m sure life will be soon giving you back all this love you spread to the world! I’m also living a change time (just did a job interview today and i’ll be probably getting the same messages as you in a while) and its hard to get thru this!
    Hope we get better soon!

    • Lívia Dalla Bernardina Abreu says

      I just saw it was an old post! Sorry! hahahah

  5. Pingback: One year in Switzerland | Just moved to Switzerland

  6. “Coconut culture”!! That brings back memories of our integration immersion class! Whereas US is seen as “Peachy”!! This was what stuck with me about the differences between the culture and making local Swiss friends! Discovered you on Instagram and just now found your blog. Love seeing and reading about your adventures in Switzerland as it hits home for me on many levels when I first moved there! And how I so miss the beautiful country and the expat life now hat we have repatriated. All the best as you continue your journey in Switzerland!

  7. Pingback: One year in Switzerland - Just moved to Switzerland

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