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  #41  
Old 10.01.2015, 00:34
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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also complaining about swiss being cold n stuff, that i did not make much swiss friends does not have any impact that it makes me want to leave CH. i live in my expat bubble comfortably fine, im 3h away from Munich... peeps come here... so what more do i want? i made the right decision, i live hassle free, the small things make the difference for me. if i get ask, i let peeps know. also im not crying about things: i changed it! for me for the better. yeah, maybe nordics is superior to CH. doesnt matter to me as im here and again: fully happy.
If this is so, more power to you.
However wouldn't do the trick on me, from my point of view on life and its quality, but that might be personal. I don't give a damn about those silly little things, if I have to trade off family and friends in change. If you meant freedom or stuff like that (remember, those things you did not have in the old GDR?) I would still be with you, but such silly things like opening hours, swimming pools, tax rates and expat crap are no good, sorry.
And if memory serves me correctly, you infact have been complaining that you had not enough Swiss friends, or at least that you didn't get along with them.
Imho there's a reason to that. Guess which.
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  #42  
Old 12.01.2015, 12:15
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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If this is so, more power to you.
However wouldn't do the trick on me, from my point of view on life and its quality, but that might be personal. I don't give a damn about those silly little things, if I have to trade off family and friends in change. If you meant freedom or stuff like that (remember, those things you did not have in the old GDR?) I would still be with you, but such silly things like opening hours, swimming pools, tax rates and expat crap are no good, sorry.
And if memory serves me correctly, you infact have been complaining that you had not enough Swiss friends, or at least that you didn't get along with them.
Imho there's a reason to that. Guess which.
what reason should there be? i had 2 years testphase before i came here, i got introduced to do's and dont's way before i settled here. i lived in a swiss family for 4 years... in Schwyz/Goldau and i basically turned into a timid, considerate, taking myself back german and adjusted to the max. it peaked that i observed that when at a table, among a group of swiss people i did not know before i have met them... i did not even speak before i got asked. basically i answerde questions all the time about the GDR and shitloads of other stuff and behaved really humble just not to piss anybody off, but to show people that i find them interesting? tried to make friends softly and had even moderate success? what reason can there be if one is full of praise of the host country? i at all cost avoided any stereotype the swiss have about us germans. especially the complaints and superior section was non-existing as i have nothing to complain about CH. the only thing i did not do was learning swiss german. i met many swiss, diff backgrounds, age, status, class, bla bla... i hit off with some to get a friendship going... but it faded out when i took back my efforts to be the one who initiates things. if youd know me, or at least a few more post about the issue, you'd know that even my swiss GF back in the days had issues making friends when she moved to Goldau when she was 2 years old until she moved to Zurich. because she was not from the village and most students that move to Zurich have no base here, hence they get together and become friends over this fact. nobody at my office has swiss friends. the average time living here is 6 years. lots of my expats friends do not have swiss friends... but yeah... its me! definately! and it is because of the good ol' german characteristics! thats laughable, really.

also all that got nothing to do with the OP. he/she asked, i gave my opinion. fin. it would have been better if you just gave yours about the matter instead of attacking people, downgrading them and so on.

again why have you left Germany? if its all so perfect, why are you here then?

bzw: if you get hold of the Süddeutsche Zeitung fom last weekend, please read the "Streiflicht".
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  #43  
Old 13.01.2015, 00:12
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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i am German now living in CH. you cant compare none of those cities above to Zurich or Basel. Berlin (home town) has roughly 4mio people living there.
the variety of things to do is endless! i dunno, it has 6 major theatres, gazillions of cellar stages where plays are shown when Zurich has 3 and a handfull of these stages here. there is 100 museums to 5 in Zurich, 1000 clubs to 10 in Zurich. Berlin has 200 parks, here its a 20sq km lawn at the lake, a few smaller parks. the same for Munich or Hamburg... the variety outshines Switzerland by far. Zurich/Switzerland has for every taste and style a niche, but limited. in these German cities you can choose from endless options... i say same counts for London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam etc pp. BUT: you will have the same situation here as there, that you can live your life peacefully and anonymous. I tend to say Zurich is way way way more cleaner! but i miss dog shit every now and then as it shows people actually live there...its no postcard scenery 24/7 like here.
big difference is the public transport: punctuality and time you need to travel from A to B. in return most of the german cities have better bike paths throughout the whole city. Germany is by far easier to get by making acquaintances. sit in a Munich beergarden and you wont sit there for long alone. somebody will chat you up... beer is our common ground and lingo, so... doenst matter if you can talk Bavarian as long as you know what "prost" means. bureaucratism is big in Germany but again id say Germany and its people are less lawabiding than its here, especially in Berlin and Hamburg, Munich might be an exception. service is also crap, but in Switzerland...its stoneage and people came just out of their caves. but in Switzerland you hardly find any vending machine broken, everyzhing works hassle free! all these subscriptions like passes for public transport etc. is just ace! any facility you enter in Switzerland is like a brand new 5* spa. its so well maintained... its incredible! in that respect Germany is massively run down!
taxation is the biggest nightmare one can think of in Germany. nah, you cant think of such a system if it wouldnt exist there! (i am feeling way more in control of my spendings, costs, though cost of living is much higher here. that was a massive relief and still is.) the state is peoples enemy, whereas here people have a different approach. politics, EU crap and all that comes with it... i am glad i am living here and watch it as a bystander now.
finding a job i think was and still is easier for me here. also i made much more progress in my career here. work ethics are different here. i cant name one company in Germany telling you, that after 5 months you MUST take holidays as its not healthy for you etc. so they look after employees more here. as everything here works rather smooth, it makes life hasslefree and easy. its like you live where other people go for hols and it makes some things i miss from Germany less important. also you get used to that here is no späti-business, so no 24/7 corner shops open all night in every borough of your city. you organise stuff differently. what i am missing is the variety of shopping. after 8 years i reached the limits. plus a few local specialties like a proper bockwurst, bread, brezn n stuff... never say never but i would never go back. never!

5 Museums in Zürich? THIS list here
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_d...in_Z%C3%BCrich
shows dozens of museums and the list is not even complete
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  #44  
Old 13.01.2015, 12:46
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

Botanik Gardens for me does not count as a museum sames as for
ETH-Bibliothek Zürich or Zoo and many more.

also if you want a comparison

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_d...n_und_Umgebung

it doest matter if its 5 or 30 as the message is the same: Zurich less than a major german city, its 5 that really matter (for me).
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  #45  
Old 13.01.2015, 15:55
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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what reason should there be? i had 2 years testphase before i came here, i got introduced to do's and dont's way before i settled here. i lived in a swiss family for 4 years... in Schwyz/Goldau and i basically turned into a timid, considerate, taking myself back german and adjusted to the max. it peaked that i observed that when at a table, among a group of swiss people i did not know before i have met them... i did not even speak before i got asked. basically i answerde questions all the time about the GDR and shitloads of other stuff and behaved really humble just not to piss anybody off, but to show people that i find them interesting? tried to make friends softly and had even moderate success? what reason can there be if one is full of praise of the host country? i at all cost avoided any stereotype the swiss have about us germans. especially the complaints and superior section was non-existing as i have nothing to complain about CH. the only thing i did not do was learning swiss german. i met many swiss, diff backgrounds, age, status, class, bla bla...
...
Why the heck did you do that? This is infact a huge error in the first place. Having the stereotype of people having a stereotype against one's culture is an offence and a big mistake right up from the beginning. I.e. putting oneself (and one's stereotype) a little bit in question, abandoning passive-aggressive behavior ('you are such a good person, considering from what terrible cultural background you are'), could do the trick, instead. So strange that you even know the nationality of all your friends, collegues and aquaintances, not to mention the thing that you claim to know all the Swiss after your bad experiences with the others.


Nach dem Motto: 'Ich bin Türke.' - 'Macht nix!' Hä?


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... i hit off with some to get a friendship going... but it faded out when i took back my efforts to be the one who initiates things. if youd know me, or at least a few more post about the issue, you'd know that even my swiss GF back in the days had issues making friends when she moved to Goldau when she was 2 years old until she moved to Zurich. because she was not from the village and most students that move to Zurich have no base here, hence they get together and become friends over this fact. nobody at my office has swiss friends. the average time living here is 6 years. lots of my expats friends do not have swiss friends... but yeah... its me! definately! and it is because of the good ol' german characteristics! thats laughable, really.
...
You really should make a decision if continuing feeling yourself a victim of the Swiss lacking in many things and all that stuff locals have done to you (i.e. complaining) on the one hand, or if you are, in the contrary, happy to live in your 'expat bubble' you were talking about some posts ago, on the other. The latter is OK, the first would be silly; both lacking completely in respect of basic communication skills.


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also all that got nothing to do with the OP. he/she asked, i gave my opinion. fin. it would have been better if you just gave yours about the matter instead of attacking people, downgrading them and so on.
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I don't mean to attack anybody. For me it's sad to see that one falls easily for that old worn-out stereotype about easy money and low tax crap in Switzerland, if only those silly retarded locals didn't get on everybody's nerves.
Imho bad bad advice.


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again why have you left Germany? if its all so perfect, why are you here then?
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Again, you should maybe decide if you complain more about which one, about Germany or about Switzerland?

Anyway, I might be in Switzerland because Switzerland is my home? Imagine this to happen ...


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bzw: if you get hold of the Süddeutsche Zeitung fom last weekend, please read the "Streiflicht".
I will. Thx.
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  #46  
Old 13.01.2015, 16:42
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

Just my two cents here.

In terms of money, you may find you're better off in Germany. A lot of stuff is very cheap (compared to Switzerland), and if you're thinking Weil or Waldshut, that's nothing to how cheap stuff can get further inside. Of course you also earn less but if you look at the sort of jobs most expats would be interested in, these are not badly payed in Germany either.

Of course some of that is offset by taxes. Germany is not only expensive tax-wise but tax forms and tax offices are much more nasty to deal with than their Swiss equivalents. Having said that, anything that's got government in it is hell in Germany. Nobody is prepared to take a decison and things get deferred endlessly as people prefer to cover their backs and ask their boss, who will come back with some new rule or regulation that the other person had "forgotten about". Take it from somebody who bought a plot of land off the German government. I wouldn't want to go through that again. The up side is that you can get a subsidy of some sort for virtually everything too.

Appartments are not up to Swiss standards. So maybe a well built and new place might be roughly equivalant but there are lots of old and ugly places out there that simply wouldn't be allowed in Switzerland. In Switzerland you move into an appartment and can assume everything is perfect. In Germany you may often have to start with doing some light renovation work such as paining walls or fitting a kitchen. The up side is that you can expect the next tenant to do the same so you can leave the appartment much as you found it.

As for the people, there are all sorts. I've met many extremely friendly people but also total prats. So same as any other country really. A lot of Germans have a teacher complex. They feel a pressure to tell you you're wrong (when you are wrong) even if it doesn't affect them. So after I had moved in on the first day I was digging in the garden and the neighbour came over and before he even said, welcome my name is X, he said, your spade is the wrong type. When you're driving and you do something wrong, people honk or flash lights even if there is no danger. Everybody feels they are an off duty policemen needing to educate you. But there are also things you cannot do. You can honk or flash lights at cars that are more rubbish than yours but you have to do so with caution if the other car is more expensive. Thus an idiot in an expensive car basically rules the road. This can be annoying at first but you get used to it and even start doing it yourself after a while.

A lot of people say this is in Switzerland too, but i haven't really noticed it to the same extent.

In terms of free time activities, I think Germany is abolutely great. Restaurants are cheap and there are lots of them. Depending on where you are, stuff like carneval is really a big thing and much more impressive than anything you've seen in Switzerland. Even if you don't want to go your friends will be dragging you along and before you know it you'll be in the middle of the fun. But even at other times, Germans are more amenable than the Swiss to just having a sponatneous sit down or after work beer and this makes it easy to make friends. And contrary to what we Brits think, they do have a great sense of humour.
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  #47  
Old 13.01.2015, 17:11
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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Why the heck did you do that? This is infact a huge error in the first place. Having the stereotype of people having a stereotype against one's culture is an offence and a big mistake right up from the beginning.
haha, thats interesting: what ever i do is wrong, eh? being a cry baby, a moaner, whiner... then being suspected being arrogant-> no swiss buddies. did i miss one of your accusations? ah, passive-aggressive. thats a good one!
well, i wonder how i lived, survived 38 years? was it all in a matrix until you opened my eyes im living in my own fantasy world?

what do you think why i did it, toned down my voice etc.? because i was a guest in a house, in a family i wasnt part of? because i am not bumming in conversations on a table and taking things over at peoples house i dont even know? that got nothing to do with being among swiss, its the way it is done where i come from. that simple. cake got iced by the things i have read in newspapers, things i got told by the people i have met, the stuff people spoke about in conversations and what was/is going on in the media in switzerland. things you look at different when its directed to you as foreigner, something you cant emphasise, because youre not german/foreign living in switzerland, or as a swiss you wont face anything than a little banter about blackmoney, chocolate, cookoo clocks, etc. so what do you know about my feelings? effing zero!
plus what is the problem with being careful? why having a opinion on everything, whats wrong and right? you werent even there, so youre mr. knows it all, eh? looks like you fullfill the swiss stereotype of telling off people. Imho bad bad characteristic. but when you change you grow. true story!
it is that it cant be i can not count one swiss to be (my definition) of a friend while i was not behaving you think i was. that is a projection. plus i said it many times: i dont give a toss! but still it is part of my integration process, so it was like that, but its nothing i am losing sleep about.

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So strange that you even know the nationality of all your friends, collegues and aquaintances...
i am missing the logic here: why ist it strange to know the nationality of my colleagues or friends?

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You really should make a decision if continuing feeling yourself a victim of Swiss lacking things and all that stuff locals have done to you (i.e. complaining) on the one hand, or if you are, in the contrary, happy to live in your 'expat bubble' you were talking about some posts ago, on the other. The latter is OK, the first would be silly; both lacking completely in respect of basic communication skills.
do you mind if i call you siggi from now on? because your freudian impersonating skills... you think your funny, but youre funnier, really.
as i said: you dont know me. 3000 posts and feedback etc. in online life of this platform alone clearly is a proof of lacking communication skills. like... totally!

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I don't mean to attack anybody. For me it's sad to see that one falls easily to that stereotype crap about easy Money and low tax crap in Switzerland, if only those silly retarded locals didn't get on everybody's nerves.
Imho bad bad advice.
again projection and accusations. you dont know why i came here! do you really think one single person here on that forum came because of that, easy money and low tax which is hearsay until you live here? and find out its all different, eventually? giving up family and friends? i came because of a swiss girl i fell in love with! and after 2 years of distance relship i decided to come here, because i wanted to move on with my career, see something different, wanted to be closer to mountains... all the comparison to germany i made is a retrospective! little man... what now?

also i have nothing against swiss, not at all. its just that i dont count one as my friend. yes, i dont know them all, but those i met are totally different type of people i have ever met elsewhere.

ok, so when you are swiss... where and for how long did you live in germany to have an opinion? did you ever live abroad? do you have any german/foreign friends?
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  #48  
Old 13.01.2015, 17:28
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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Of course some of that is offset by taxes. Germany is not only expensive tax-wise but tax forms and tax offices are much more nasty to deal with than their Swiss equivalents. Having said that, anything that's got government in it is hell in Germany. Nobody is prepared to take a decison and things get deferred endlessly as people prefer to cover their backs and ask their boss, who will come back with some new rule or regulation that the other person had "forgotten about". Take it from somebody who bought a plot of land off the German government. I wouldn't want to go through that again. The up side is that you can get a subsidy of some sort for virtually everything too.
oh oh oh! cry baby alert! also in Timbuktu its worse, i have heard!

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Appartments are not up to Swiss standards. So maybe a well built and new place might be roughly equivalant but there are lots of old and ugly places out there that simply wouldn't be allowed in Switzerland.
nah, thats not 100% true. a few places i have seen here in Zurich had a "draw well-style plumbing". its like everywhere else: you can find top and crap standard.

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start with doing some light renovation work such as paining walls
i moved 7 times in Zurich, only one time my place was renovated.
i moved 6 times in germany, all places were freshly painted.

rest what you said: 100% agreed.
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  #49  
Old 13.01.2015, 17:38
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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Take it from somebody who bought a plot of land off the German government. I wouldn't want to go through that again. The up side is that you can get a subsidy of some sort for virtually everything too.

Appartments are not up to Swiss standards.
...
Imho depends a lot on the level we are talking about.
Yes, easy stuff is easier in CH than in D. Difficult stuff can be more complex in CH.

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They feel a pressure to tell you you're wrong (when you are wrong) even if it doesn't affect them. So after I had moved in on the first day I was digging in the garden and the neighbour came over and before he even said, welcome my name is X, he said, your spade is the wrong type.
...
But this is great, this is "Fachsimpeln" from the helper's side, a smart form of small talk. I praise Germany for that.


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... cake got iced by the things i have read in newspapers, things i got told by the people i have met, the stuff people spoke about in conversations and what was/is going on in the media in switzerland. things you look at different when its directed to you as foreigner, something you cant emphasise, because youre not german/foreign living in switzerland, or as a swiss you wont face anything than a little banter about blackmoney, chocolate, cookoo clocks, etc. so what do you know about my feelings? effing zero!
...
The thing is that imho you do not really sound this happy (of course I might be wrong), and your advice from above doesn't get it in the slightest. Reducing Swiss life on material things, being forced to live in an "expat bubble" because the Swiss stink is not really a good strategic tool for newbies, me thinks.

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it is that it cant be i can not count one swiss to be (my definition) of a friend while i was not behaving you think i was.
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I beg your pardon?

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i am missing the logic here: why ist it strange to know the nationality of my colleagues or friends?
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That you put the nationality on the first level. Schubladendenken hoch 10.
I don't think ZH is so different from Ticino in this matter. I from my part don't know exactly who of my collegues is exactly of which nationality, where they are born, what Heimatort they have or if they are multi passport holders. The reason might be that I don't care that much.

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do you mind if i call you siggi from now on? because your freudian impersonating skills... you think your funny, but youre funnier, really.
as i said: you dont know me. 3000 posts and feedback etc. in online life of this platform alone clearly is a proof of lacking communication skills. like... totally!
...
EF is a virtual id, remember?
A good base of communication skills in real life could be simply avoiding stereotypes like Schweizer=this and that, others=those and the other.

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ok, so when you are swiss... where and for how long did you live in germany to have an opinion?
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Let me think ... NRW, more than 18 years, quite all my childhood.

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did you ever live abroad?
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Yes, Middle East and Italy.

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do you have any german/foreign friends?
Of course.
Btw. 'Foreign' from which point of view?
Anyway yes. Also family.

And you know something? This is not abnormal in CH ...
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  #50  
Old 14.01.2015, 01:15
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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Botanik Gardens for me does not count as a museum sames as for
ETH-Bibliothek Zürich or Zoo and many more.

also if you want a comparison

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_d...n_und_Umgebung

it doest matter if its 5 or 30 as the message is the same: Zurich less than a major german city, its 5 that really matter (for me).

Even if you deduct such places, there is still more than a dozen, and if you add as you should the many ORTSMUSEUM you
have more than 20


But if you want to be specific, simply mention the Deutsche Museum in München --- -you might also mention that German Museums were copied in Switzerland, quite often in fact, and many by German nationals. Good luck, as lots of cultural treasures that way survived WW-TWO.

Last edited by Wollishofener; 14.01.2015 at 06:22.
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  #51  
Old 14.01.2015, 06:06
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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The truth is, there's just as much difference between the people in various Swiss cantons as there is between the inhabitants of various parts of Germany.
Hell, no. I for example have the language in common with flow but am culturaly far closer to users on this forum from the Netherlands or Belgium... or even the sane part of France (Anything from Alsace to Metz) compared to a person from Berlin. That doesn't mean that I have a problem with Berlin, it's just a fact.

I have worked in "very Swiss environments" and have witnessed not just the differences between the cantons but also how the various Swiss poke fun at each other - the differences are minimal compared to Germany. Difference in mind set from rural Schwaben to Hamburg is about as big as from Aargau to Vienna, not Zurich.

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Of course some of that is offset by taxes. Germany is not only expensive tax-wise but tax forms and tax offices are much more nasty to deal with than their Swiss equivalents. Having said that, anything that's got government in it is hell in Germany.
a) tax office: nobody in his right mind deals with them on their own. I can make my tax declaration in Switzerland in two hours or so, but in Germany you simply hire a professional as you don't want to take a week off to make your declaration... Anyone who earns just a bit over average will do so. They will help you stay sane and can work wonders in the amount of tax you pay - and do not try to understand the logical reasoning behind those loopholes or you'll go insane...

other government: Not half as bad as described here. But my experience is that the most underestimated difference is between city and small town life: Things work way better and are way more friendly in a German town than in a larger city. Everyone knows each other, so even the local tax guy won't be as rude (plus he knows anyway who is cheating already...)
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Old 14.01.2015, 06:29
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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Hell, no. I for example have the language in common with flow but am culturaly far closer to users on this forum from the Netherlands or Belgium... or even the sane part of France (Anything from Alsace to Metz) compared to a person from Berlin. That doesn't mean that I have a problem with Berlin, it's just a fact.

I have worked in "very Swiss environments" and have witnessed not just the differences between the cantons but also how the various Swiss poke fun at each other - the differences are minimal compared to Germany. Difference in mind set from rural Schwaben to Hamburg is about as big as from Aargau to Vienna, not Zurich.



a) tax office: nobody in his right mind deals with them on their own. I can make my tax declaration in Switzerland in two hours or so, but in Germany you simply hire a professional as you don't want to take a week off to make your declaration... Anyone who earns just a bit over average will do so. They will help you stay sane and can work wonders in the amount of tax you pay - and do not try to understand the logical reasoning behind those loopholes or you'll go insane...

other government: Not half as bad as described here. But my experience is that the most underestimated difference is between city and small town life: Things work way better and are way more friendly in a German town than in a larger city. Everyone knows each other, so even the local tax guy won't be as rude (plus he knows anyway who is cheating already...)

Amazing is that Züritüütsch/Schaffuuserisch is understood in Frankfurt am Mâin and in Strassburg and in Metz and in Luxemburg
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Old 14.01.2015, 09:13
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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Amazing is that Züritüütsch/Schaffuuserisch is understood in Frankfurt am Mâin and in Strassburg and in Metz and in Luxemburg
This heavily depends on the individual, not on the region.

In my opinion (or is it experience?) it is the exposure to different versions of the German language, be it dialect, or accent - or recognized language -, which familiarizes the individual with a broader spectrum.

Letzebuergesch, for instance, is still reasonably close in grammar to the surrounding German local dialects, with a lot of French and some Flemish vocabulary added. I myself am able to *read* Letzebuergesch just fine (save some really, really local dialect vocabulary), understand slowly spoken Letzebuergesch sort of ok, but speaking it myself is a bit of a challenge.

Swiss German is (in my opinion) as much of a challenge for a regionally rooted native German as trying to comprehend any dialect of German, for lack of exposure. Sometimes it is easier (same dialect grammar, few dialect words, similar pronounciation / intonation), sometimes it is more of a challenge (e.g. Allemanic grammar, local dialect words in heavy use, pronounciation - e.g. the tonal shift in the Bern region from "l" to "u": "viel" -> "vui")

Disclaimer: Not even an armchair linguist here, only perception at work http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schweizerdeutsch probably is ever so much more authoritative
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Old 14.01.2015, 10:51
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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This heavily depends on the individual, not on the region.

In my opinion (or is it experience?) it is the exposure to different versions of the German language, be it dialect, or accent - or recognized language -, which familiarizes the individual with a broader spectrum.
I agree. We've had visitors from the Eifel / Mosel region (near Luxemburg) and they understand very little of the dialect spoken here in Zurich when they've come to visit.
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Old 14.01.2015, 12:37
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Re: Expat Living: CH versus GERMANY? Differences/similarities?

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I agree. We've had visitors from the Eifel / Mosel region (near Luxemburg) and they understand very little of the dialect spoken here in Zurich when they've come to visit.
Yes. I am from there and it took me years to get Swiss German properly, which was longer than it took me to get by well in the Netherlands... My home dialect is part of the "low German" group - closer to Dutch than Swiss German. A guy from Stuttgart would have the opposite experience.
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