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Old 27.12.2012, 04:23
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How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

A bit of a tough question, but if a US citizen were to relocateto Switzerland, how well would (s)he be received? If one has Swiss heritage and distant family in Switzerland, but doesn’t speak Swiss-German, Romanch, Italian, or French, how well would that individual fit in assuming (s)he was a productive, hard-working, good person?


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Old 27.12.2012, 04:50
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

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A bit of a tough question, but if a US citizen were to relocateto Switzerland, how well would (s)he be received? If one has Swiss heritage and distant family in Switzerland, but doesn’t speak Swiss-German, Romanch, Italian, or French, how well would that individual fit in assuming (s)he was a productive, hard-working, good person?


PS. How many posts do I need to “thank” other people's posts? (Newbe here)
basically welcomed as a guest. Everything else will depend on the details. You refer to "Swiss-German" which opens questions
- which of the Swiss German dialects do you have in mind ?
- do you possibly speak a bit of Standard German (official l. in CH) ?

and the other thing is that the USA is neither EFTA nor EU, which means that if looking for a job, you have to get the job BEFORE coming over
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Old 27.12.2012, 05:06
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

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PS. How many posts do I need to “thank” other people's posts? (Newbe here)
Ten ... you are getting close.
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Old 27.12.2012, 09:21
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

As Wollishofener says, you would first need to get a job here and for Ameriacans that's almost impossible. Swiss nationals and EU citizens are first and second in the job queue, followed by the rest of the world and potential employers have to prove that there are no Swiss/EU people who can do a job before they will be granted a permit to employ anyone else.

Geting a job here without speaking at least one of the national languages will be difficult, unless you have the skills that big international companies want. They will work mostly in English. But remember that most other documents will be in a local language, i.e. rental contracts, car purchase/leasing agreements, etc.

Also be aware that, due to the incoming FATCA law by the US, Swiss banks are very reluctant to have American citizens as clients and that you could also end up paying tax to the US as well as in Switzerland, depending on your earnings/assets. Americans have to file US tax returns wherever they live in the world as the system is based on citizenship, not residency like the rest of the world.

It depends on how far back your Swiss heritage goes. Are we talking parents? Grandparents? Further back than that? If it's only a couple of generations you might be able to claim Swiss nationality which would, obviously, make it easier to get a job here, but the Swiss are pretty strict on who they grant citizenship to. Check with your local Swiss embassy for advice or try the www.ch.ch website which is the official Swiss Federal site.
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Old 27.12.2012, 12:51
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

Well...I'm Swiss and if I'd relocate, I would be better received in the US, Canada, Australia,...than the other way round nowadays.

Due to the economic crisis in many countries, Switzerland attracts foreigners more thant ever, but there is a visible disapproval in the population towards immigration here IMO.

Come over to spend some time before considering to relocate here.

Happy new year
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Old 27.12.2012, 13:00
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

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A bit of a tough question, but if a US citizen were to relocateto Switzerland, how well would (s)he be received? If one has Swiss heritage and distant family in Switzerland, but doesn’t speak Swiss-German, Romanch, Italian, or French, how well would that individual fit in assuming (s)he was a productive, hard-working, good person?


PS. How many posts do I need to “thank” other people's posts? (Newbe here)
Well, it depends on who does the receiving. Some good, some not-so-good. Productive and hard-working has it's value but much depends on the character of your "boss" - there are some who will genuinely treat you as equal and others who would like to benefit from your productivity but just keep you away from positions of influence especially if you're coloured, but you're not so you don't have worry about their problems.
There's quite a bit of polite deceiving as well here.
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Old 27.12.2012, 13:29
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

I'm American and moved to Zurich in 2009, not speaking any German or Swiss-German. Of course, it was impossible for me to communicate with everyone (since, obviously, not everyone here speaks English) but whenever I would apologize and say something like: "Sorry. Sprechen Sie English?" they always replied very nicely.

I know the Swiss are a bit infamous for not welcoming foreigners, but I've never felt that I was treated poorly simply because I was a foreigner. I think that kind of discrimination might be a bit more common out in the rural areas, where people tend to be a bit more sheltered and conservative. But even in those areas, I've never felt that I was treated badly or not welcome here.
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Old 27.12.2012, 14:39
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

I would say generally speaking they are quite well received. Things that may help:

-not being too critical about the Swiss rules/culture/customs/systems. There's nothing wrong with constructive criticism but being perceived as a foreigner who never stops complaining is always negative, not only in Switzerland but in general.

-making an effort to speak the regional language, or at least learning how to ask "do you speak english?" as opposed to assuming that anyone and everyone should speak it. Nowadays a lot of people do speak some English but it's more polite to ask them if they do.

-obeying the rules/regulations, even if other people don't. It might be unfair, but the ground reality is that people will point to foreign heritage if they see a foreigner breaking rules (even if a local is doing the same thing).

Switzerland proportionally has one of the highest foreign-born populations in the world so it really isn't that uncommon to be a foreigner here.
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Old 27.12.2012, 23:00
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

my 14 year old son put it like this the other nite, as he politely asked a cashier for "ein Coke, bitte" - so long as there is money in your hand and a transaction to be had, you will be treated very nicely.
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Old 27.12.2012, 23:12
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

Curiosity has me, is there a difference between Americans vs Brits?

Different areas of France I know are pro/anti American/Brits, how is it in Switzerland. Is there a difference or both lumped into the "english speaking" kettle of fish?
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Old 27.12.2012, 23:17
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

Though a valid question... this entire thread deals with how well one integrates within the community. Whether from South or North America, Europe, Asia, Australia or Africa... Acceptance is, IMO, individual.
JC
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Old 27.12.2012, 23:22
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

I would say that *all other things being equal*, ease of integration and acceptance will be: British first, US, German.

The US aren't exactly making themselves popular right now due to over-archingly imperialistic legislation and regulation on a number of topics dear to Swiss hearts.
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Old 28.12.2012, 00:37
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

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I would say that *all other things being equal*, ease of integration and acceptance will be: British first, US, German.

The US aren't exactly making themselves popular right now due to over-archingly imperialistic legislation and regulation on a number of topics dear to Swiss hearts.

Moving from the USA back to the EU does spark some interesting comments from Americans. Usually this one .
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Old 28.12.2012, 00:39
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

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Though a valid question... this entire thread deals with how well one integrates within the community. Whether from South or North America, Europe, Asia, Australia or Africa... Acceptance is, IMO, individual.
JC

You are right. I've had interesting experiences when I lived in various countries and some times my experiance has been vastly different from others and I have to scratch my head.

I think how you are raised makes a huge difference as well.
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Old 28.12.2012, 00:51
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

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my 14 year old son put it like this the other nite, as he politely asked a cashier for "ein Coke, bitte" - so long as there is money in your hand and a transaction to be had, you will be treated very nicely.
Yes, well, my ex-wife tried that phrase in Fribourg, just across the river in the French speaking part. The kiosk woman started really telling her off in French, and she never got her coca-cola.

Coke in Swiss French is short for cocaine...!
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Old 28.12.2012, 08:38
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

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Coke in Swiss French is short for cocaine...!
I think this is pretty much world wide
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Old 28.12.2012, 08:57
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

Well the concept" productive, hard-working, good person" worries me a little but it all depends on YOUR attitude as to the feedback you get.
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A bit of a tough question, but if a US citizen were to relocateto Switzerland, how well would (s)he be received? If one has Swiss heritage and distant family in Switzerland, but doesn’t speak Swiss-German, Romanch, Italian, or French, how well would that individual fit in assuming (s)he was a productive, hard-working, good person?


PS. How many posts do I need to “thank” other people's posts? (Newbe here)
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Old 30.12.2012, 14:05
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

My experience having been here nearly 17 years is that most foreigners are welcome here.
However we moved from Kanton Zürich to St Gallen & MY wife had more problems than me with her Zuridütsch, i took almost 2 years before was accepted up here.

However good luck if you come here.
The streets are not paved with gold
You will have to pay tax
& theres no fish & chips!

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Old 30.12.2012, 14:24
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

I'd say how you are received depends very much on your attitude - be positive, make an effort to understand aspects of the culture, try to learn some of the language asap - (we are not talking fancy grammar here, but basic communication), accept the differences with an open mind, and you'll be warmly welcomed.

Last edited by Odile; 30.12.2012 at 15:40.
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Old 30.12.2012, 14:34
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Re: How well are Foreigners Received in Switzerland?

Learn some basic German & French.
Speak first at meetings & everyone will switch to English.
Later ask them not to or you won't learn anything.

I had Dutch & basic German before I came here and it took me 2 years plus to get the swiss german working.
Now all they have to do is get used to my accent ( my mum is from west london) they all think i'm a Cockney but my Dad is Welsh and when I speak swiss german I do a kind of sing song welsh.

In my work ( stage manager) i have to command big teams of people in German & for this i imagine I am that classic German Üboot comander .. get kinda Nazi in my german and by god it works, i didn't get any one to salute me yet though ;-)

The Swiss are very reserved ( unless they are driving a car & which point they all become a ME ME ME more me & DON'T use indicators at all)

However younger people tend to have a different out look and attitude.

Good Luck
Simon
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