Challenges for expats living in Switzerland: Navigating loneliness, settling in, and balancing finances

Friendliness and a welcoming atmosphere play a crucial role in the expat experience, and the “Expat Insider survey 2023/Switzerland” highlights challenges in this aspect for those relocating to Switzerland. Despite the country's high quality of life and financial stability, many expats struggle to connect with the local population. The perception of locals as less friendly and unwelcoming can contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness among expats.

1. Settling In Challenges

The "Ease of Settling In Index" ranking at 47th indicates that settling in Switzerland can be challenging for expats. Making friends seems to be a significant hurdle, with 54% expressing difficulty in forming local connections. This challenge can impact the overall well-being and satisfaction of expats, affecting their social lives and support systems.

2. Financial Satisfaction vs. Social Experience

While 65% of expats express satisfaction with their financial situation, the survey suggests that the high cost of living may not fully compensate for the challenges in building a social life. It is interesting to note the trade-off between financial stability and the social aspects of expat life, emphasizing the importance of a balanced and fulfilling experience.

3. Outdoor Activities vs. Leisure Options

Switzerland's appeal for outdoor activities is evident, ranking 9th in the category. However, the perceived lack of leisure options (47th) indicates that the country may not cater equally well to diverse recreational interests. Expats with preferences outside of outdoor activities might find the social scene less vibrant, contributing to the sense of boredom mentioned in the survey.

4. Loneliness and Unwelcoming Feeling

Loneliness is a prevalent sentiment among expats, with more than half struggling to make local friends. The feeling of being unwelcome is also noteworthy, as nearly a quarter of respondents express this sentiment. Addressing these emotional challenges is crucial to improving the overall expat experience and ensuring a positive integration into the local community.


In summary, while Switzerland offers many advantages such as a high quality of life, financial stability, and excellent travel opportunities, it is essential to recognize and address the social challenges faced by expats. Initiatives to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment can contribute significantly to improving the overall expat experience in the country.

Navigating social challenges effectively