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  #21  
Old 18.05.2015, 13:52
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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Do I encounter nice people in France? Of course I do, but I sure don't feel welcome most of the time. Not speaking fluent french makes a lot of things hard that isn't the case in Switzerland, where I do encounter non English speakers sometimes but they do tend to try to help vs just brush me off.
I understand when you say that sometimes you don't feel welcome - I had that feeling when I lived in the UK. Some people looked at me, as if I stole their jobs because I was a foreigner, never mind they were not even qualified to do my job! But I had one or two people say that to me - "you stole our jobs". In CH, I also (sometimes) feel unwelcome; but I tend to brush off those moments, and just stay positive

And re language, again I understand your frustration. Recently I called a musikschool to get some information, and when I asked if the gent spoke French or English, he just carried on in German. I just had to use the few bits of A1 German I have been learning, and hey presto, within 2 seconds he started talking in English! I was rather peeved, but hey I need the guy's services, so I just carried on as if I did not notice his rudeness! I call it rudeness, but perhaps he comes from the point where "You live here, so you better integrate"
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  #22  
Old 18.05.2015, 14:46
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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And the dog poo/rubbish thing is a real issue that funny enough I never saw in any of my trips to Switzerland.
That's because meloncollie will personally hunt down any dog owners who leave the poo on the ground....and I applaud her for it. I clean up after my dog and not much is worse than stepping in dog poop.
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  #23  
Old 18.05.2015, 15:20
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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Lived in CH for allmost 33 years, now in France (rural Brittany).


Contra Swiss: Lovely country, too many Swiss. The Swiss: conservative, arrogant and xenophobe. You will never be truly accepted even if you do get a red passport. You will not make real friends unless they are (partially) foreign. They will allways wonder why you are doing a job actually a Swiss should do. With "friends": stick to the wheather, sports, tv, gardening. Avoid swiss politics, religion and child upbringing. Complaining about foreign (German!) politics is very good. No sense of humour. Do not play on words/puns, they will think you are stupid and cannot speak german and therefore will not laugh at your jokes which will be embarrassing for you but they will pretend they do not notice.

Pro France: They know how to live. Period. Good healthsystem though complicated. Very friendly people (do not confuse Parisiens with the French) Welcoming, patient with foreigners. They will not talk slower or change to "high-french" or just start talking lowder. But they will explain the subject in another way. They admire multilinguals and are ashamed of their horrible pronunciation of German or English. Therefore they stick to French. Very good autoroutes though they cost (drive from Zürich to Bern and you will notice the difference). Humorous, they adore wordgames.
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Having lived in CH in Be, Zh and Tg and having had to deal with many thousands of Swiss on a very personal level AND having dealt with French from many parts of France ... yes I think I can and will base my opinion on that.

I feel I "spoiled" the largest part of my life in that country. Sure, that is my problem. But that will not keep me from speaking my mind.
You do realise that there are more than three cantons in Switzerland don't you? You can't possibly make sweeping statements about the whole Swiss population based on your experiences of the three places you've lived in just because you had that experience whilst living there. If you had said 'in my experience the Swiss I've known are .......' then you would have been expressing your opinion of them but to make a blanket statement lumping all Swiss people into the one basket is just plain wrong.
By the same token you can't say that the French are all welcoming and friendly to foreigners based on your impressions in Brittany. There are plenty of foreigners who went to France to live and left again because if the attitude of the locals towards them just as there are foreigners like you who got lucky and moved to an area where the folks are welcoming.

I have to say that I actually feel sorry for you. You say you wasted 33 years of your life here being miserable. Why did you stay for so long? Nobody is forced to spend a huge part if their life living in a place they hate. Really life is way too short for that. Unless you had a job which could only be done in Switzerland ( which is seriously doubtful) you could always have moved to a place that suited you better.
As Odile says I really don't get why people join here ( in your case a year) after they've left the country just to whine about it. Why not just out it behind you and get in with your new (perfect) life elsewhere.

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I think we all have our own experiences and if bad things happen we can develop a bias. I know we still live in France and still seriously considering the move across the border and I know that I have had a few blah encounters in the country but mostly people have been super nice and friendly.

Do I encounter nice people in France? Of course I do, but I sure don't feel welcome most of the time. Not speaking fluent french makes a lot of things hard that isn't the case in Switzerland, where I do encounter non English speakers sometimes but they do tend to try to help vs just brush me off.

And the dog poo/rubbish thing is a real issue that funny enough I never saw in any of my trips to Switzerland.
We have lived in France, Germany, Belgium and now Switzerland having both grown up in the UK. You have to make the most of wherever you are living and go out and make opportunities for yourself. It's no use sitting around waiting for things to come to you. We have met friendly and less friendly locals wherever we've been but mostly the friendly kind.
Of all the places we have lived the one we would least willingly choose to live in again would be Germany.

I was totally miserable when we first moved to France and would have gone back to the UK in a heartbeat during our first year there and I think my lack of French was a major part of that. We did make some good friends there and were both very sorry to leave when the time came but I wouldn't say that the French in general were particularly friendly and welcoming. We have felt much more welcome here in Switzerland.

It's funny you should mention the dog poo. Dog poo in France is a nightmare and we've always told our son about the guys on motorbikes who go round sucking up the dog poo from the street.( poo sucker upper - fancy having that as your job title!) We were in Alsace at the weekend and actually saw one so now he believes that they actually do exist.

But we digress far off topic since the question relates specifically to frontaliers which is a whole different ball game.
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  #24  
Old 18.05.2015, 15:46
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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And re language, again I understand your frustration. Recently I called a musikschool to get some information, and when I asked if the gent spoke French or English, he just carried on in German. I just had better "


When first I came to Canada ,50 years ago ,I use to ask if anyone speaks "Swiss german" . most of the time it was answered with "F Off"
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Old 18.05.2015, 15:52
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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You do realise that there are more than three cantons in Switzerland don't you? You can't possibly make sweeping statements about the whole Swiss population based on your experiences of the three places you've lived in just because you had that experience whilst living there. If you had said 'in my experience the Swiss I've known are .......' then you would have been expressing your opinion of them but to make a blanket statement lumping all Swiss people into the one basket is just plain wrong.
By the same token you can't say that the French are all welcoming and friendly to foreigners based on your impressions in Brittany. There are plenty of foreigners who went to France to live and left again because if the attitude of the locals towards them just as there are foreigners like you who got lucky and moved to an area where the folks are welcoming.

I have to say that I actually feel sorry for you. You say you wasted 33 years of your life here being miserable. Why did you stay for so long? Nobody is forced to spend a huge part if their life living in a place they hate. Really life is way too short for that. Unless you had a job which could only be done in Switzerland ( which is seriously doubtful) you could always have moved to a place that suited you better.
As Odile says I really don't get why people join here ( in your case a year) after they've left the country just to whine about it. Why not just out it behind you and get in with your new (perfect) life elsewhere.


We have lived in France, Germany, Belgium and now Switzerland having both grown up in the UK. You have to make the most of wherever you are living and go out and make opportunities for yourself. It's no use sitting around waiting for things to come to you. We have met friendly and less friendly locals wherever we've been but mostly the friendly kind.
Of all the places we have lived the one we would least willingly choose to live in again would be Germany.

I was totally miserable when we first moved to France and would have gone back to the UK in a heartbeat during our first year there and I think my lack of French was a major part of that. We did make some good friends there and were both very sorry to leave when the time came but I wouldn't say that the French in general were particularly friendly and welcoming. We have felt much more welcome here in Switzerland.

It's funny you should mention the dog poo. Dog poo in France is a nightmare and we've always told our son about the guys on motorbikes who go round sucking up the dog poo from the street.( poo sucker upper - fancy having that as your job title!) We were in Alsace at the weekend and actually saw one so now he believes that they actually do exist.

But we digress far off topic since the question relates specifically to frontaliers which is a whole different ball game.

I agree with you for the most part but I think that everyone is different even when it comes to our ways of seeking closure from the past. He probably feels like ranting...it's not easy to realise you could have lived and felt much better in another place and lost so much time in a place you weren't totally happy. On the other hand some things from what he's writing sound true (at least to a certain degree) for many expats.
I am actually happy for him if he found a place that he really likes... maybe he'll also discover that looking back is not the best idea at some point.
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  #26  
Old 18.05.2015, 16:17
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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When first I came to Canada ,50 years ago ,I use to ask if anyone speaks "Swiss german" . most of the time it was answered with "F Off"
My bad if I see the Swiss as polyglots - certainly most of the Swiss people around me speak 3-4 languages fluently.

In any event, I am used to people (the Dutch and Norwegians are fantastic at that) who would happily switch to English, the moment they realise you are not local. To me, that is a sign of good education.
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Old 18.05.2015, 17:41
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

When all's said and done, it is where you feel happiest that counts, not salary, not conditions, not climate.
We spent 5.5 years in the southern hemisphere on a large island which shall be nameless where most people would give their right arm to live. We were desperately unhappy and couldn't wait for the opportunity to get out.
So it is "horses for courses" and the stability and happiness of the family is what counts most - at least, for us it is
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Old 18.05.2015, 18:05
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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My bad if I see the Swiss as polyglots - certainly most of the Swiss people around me speak 3-4 languages fluently.

In any event, I am used to people (the Dutch and Norwegians are fantastic at that) who would happily switch to English, the moment they realise you are not local. To me, that is a sign of good education.



Why don`t you learn 3-4 languages fluently ?
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  #29  
Old 18.05.2015, 19:41
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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Why don`t you learn 3-4 languages fluently ?
Oh but I do already speak 3 languages fluently . Thanks for asking!
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  #30  
Old 18.05.2015, 20:00
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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My bad if I see the Swiss as polyglots - certainly most of the Swiss people around me speak 3-4 languages fluently.

In any event, I am used to people (the Dutch and Norwegians are fantastic at that) who would happily switch to English, the moment they realise you are not local. To me, that is a sign of good education.

funny, and I can't find any that can even speak High German fluently I am actually surprised that the German speaking Swiss aren't better at French and vice-versa.

But, I think, a lot of the time people's reluctance to speak a foreign language when prompted is that they are afraid of their level of fluency and making mistakes. Unless someone speaks the language regularly, school knowledge goes away quite quickly. Granted, I live out in a rural part of Switzerland and those living in cities might speak more languages, but for the most part, my idea that most Swiss are fluent in at least 2 languages has never been proven....
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  #31  
Old 18.05.2015, 20:49
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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BTW I do find it strange that some people have left- for whatever reason/s- and just keep coming back on EF to post?!? Why not just quietly close the door behind them? I'd be the first to accept Switzerland is not for everyone- and fair enough- but just say your piece once and then go- and enjoy the amazingly perfect place you live in now Toodelooo- otherwise it seems a bit strange imho!
Hey, easy there!
I can only speak for myself, but I do like to "check-in" from time to time, to say HI, participate in a discussion, and sometimes, post a (hopefully) half-useful piece of info here and there.
I do share your sentiment that I find it sad when people choose to be bitter and bash their past instead of focusing on living their present.
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  #32  
Old 18.05.2015, 20:52
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

Yes, and how lovely it is to hear from you. But I can't ever remember you telling us you hated Switzerland and had wasted all the years you lived here- and you've never said you'd never ever consider coming back. A big difference Hope you come visit soon x
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Old 18.05.2015, 22:35
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

From 8 work colleagues who were living in France 3 years ago, 6 have in the meantime moved across the border to Switzerland (two pro forma, the rest for real).

The reasons quoted include:
- changes in health insurance coverage (restricted access to swiss doctors and hospitals) and high fees (8%) if you are with the french social security
- unemployment benefits below 60% compared to 80% (with dependants) in CH
- increasing taxes
- increasing number of jobs not accessible to Frontaliers (in public sector or banking)
- disastrous social reputation - free honks for your french 01/74 number plates
- swiss school and university access restrictions for their kids (16/20 in the french baccalaureat is now requested for entering EPFL/ETH, used to be 12/20), etc.

The french border regions are by far (very far) not as international as Nyon. Not even Divonne comes close.

BTW: there is NO direct train line from Annecy to Geneva. And, have you ever been at Bardonnex during rush hour?
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Old 18.05.2015, 23:32
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Re: Swiss life versus French life - your advice

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BTW: there is NO direct train line from Annecy to Geneva. And, have you ever been at Bardonnex during rush hour?
Just listen to the radio for a week. You will never want to have to cross Bardonnex!
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