When you first get to Switzerland, what do you need to know?

Health insurance is mandatory, and when you get a complementary health insurance, it allows you to benefit from alternative medicine and pay less. Complementary insurance often includes things like a new pair of eyeglasses every year or specific sports.

And since exercising is so important for your health, everywhere in Switzerland you can find free sports activities, such as free swimming pools in sommer and all year round Vita parcours in the woods.

Where do you buy more economic? As prices in Switzerland seem so high for a newcomer, there are still some tips that are useful to know.

Detergent and cleaning production of the big Swiss retailers. Just look for the ones on sales. And there are a few shops specialised in selling brand products at discount price. (For specific names contact us privately).

You can get good tasting fruits and vegetables in the Turkish shops. That‘ s where you can also get Halal meat. As for kosher food, there are lists with kosher products in Switzerland, you can find them on line.

There are many opportunities to get free stuff. In Switzerland people are offering their old furniture for free, sometimes also objects or children clothing.

Look for second hand furniture or house appliances online here: Tutti, Ricardo, Facebook groups like Market Place, Aues fort.

If you need more information on child-raising issues, you can join Facebook discussion groups such as: International Mothers living in Switzerland, and look for flyers in your paediatrician office.

There are also many apps for free things or for exchanges. One is I need which provides different free services for refugees, but not only.


As Kitas and playgroups can be quite expensive, you can subscribe for a subsidised placement for your child, through Kita Verwaltung of the city of Bern. This will offer you the possibility to pay in accordance with your family revenue.

Schools:  in Bern there is also a cantonal public French school ECLF. And different private schools such as International French School of Berne, International School of Bern

You can get a whole range of free courses. There are German courses for integration, such as MuKi – for mothers and children under the age of school.

Denkmal Bern offers many free courses, including boxing.

Migros Klub Schule offers a wide range of courses, where you can learn so many different things for reasonable prices.

Haus der Religionen is a place for cultural events, mostly free & collect. Within Haus der Religionen there is Eltern Caffe on a weekly basis – for people to bring their small children to play with other kids, while adults can exchange experience with others.

And for socialising and making new friends, you can look up for people and events in groups such as InterNations. We’ve all been new here, it’s tough to make new friends and to feel alone most of the times.

Last but not least, there is free food tasting for delicatesses at different factories in the canton of Bern, where you can enjoy fine chocolate and biscuits, such as Camille Bloch, Lindt or Kambly.


Enjoy being here and make the most out of every experience!

Über Anna Butan

Anna speaks French, German, English and Russian. She obtained a Master Degree at the University of Bern (Cultural Studies) and a Bachelor at the Lomonosov Moscow State University (Philology). Anna has big interest in such themes as: identity, cultural hybridity, music, and raising children in multicultural context. She is convinced that our children can teach us a lot. They are not born with stereotypes but they risk to acquire them later under external circumstances. Our task as parents is to help them grow as conscious and culture-aware humans.

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