26 cantons, 4 official languages, and a myriad of ethnicities make Switzerland a cultural potpourri. Never mind which country you belong to, you’ll find Switzerland a fabulous place to live and work in. Although most expats say that the Swiss locals being reticent, reserved and nonchalant, Switzerland is actually an easy country to “fit in” and should you have problems, there is an extensive expat community you can lean on.
Switzerland is a place of clichés, stereotypes and most Swiss locals will never ever give up on their systems of belief. Whether it is strict standards of general hygiene (you won’t find a speck of dirt anywhere in the country), high importance to punctuality (trains, buses and meetings are scheduled to the minute) or conforming to petty rules, the locals pride themselves on being one of the most disciplined and dedicated demography in the world. To get accepted into the community, you’ll have to adhere to all their rules and regulations.
There are four official Swiss languages and English is NOT one of them, which initially makes life difficult for expats. Although the locals are waking up to the importance of English as a global means of communication, you’ll have pharmacy boards, restaurant menus, retail store lists and official websites written in Swiss-German. International outlets have salesmen who speak English but you’ll find them only in huge cities like Lucerne, Geneva, Bern and Zurich.
As such, learning one or more of the official Swiss languages is important. You can also employ a translator to help you understand significant purchase deeds, Government documents and other papers.
Now, this depends on which canton you are living in. The attitude towards foreigners in huge cities is warm and most locals are also known to play charming hosts to expats. However, as you move towards the Swiss interiors, the approach changes to nonchalance and disdain, although no local is openly hostile to foreigners and immigrants.
You will, nevertheless, find party-lovers and adventure junkies welcoming you with open arms and maybe, make a few good friends in the landlocked country. Remember, like we said before, you’ll need to follow all their rules to get accepted.
The Swiss take their public holidays very seriously and most shops, institutions and stores remain closed, although the public transport services continue operating. The most important public holiday in Switzerland is the Swiss National Day celebrated on 1st August. Everyone joins in the celebrations with firecrackers, bonfires, public speeches, presentations and ceremonies in every canton.
Since Christianity is the main religion practiced in Switzerland, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, New Years Day, All Saints Day and the Immaculate Conception are big celebrations. Sundays are known to be religious days and thus, are holidays in this country. For a complete list of holidays in Switzerland, you might want to visit [this page] http://www.feiertagskalender.ch/index.php?hl=en.
Switzerland is a wonderful country to move to. Respect the local customs, practice conformity, and understand the local’s need for efficiency and high quality services and you’ll love this beautiful country a lot more.