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  #61  
Old 05.03.2016, 09:12
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

I have been made to feel very welcome in Switzerland... but then again I am Blonde, Caucasian, and speak passable German.

I don't think I will ever truly "integrate" in a seamless and un-noticeable way and neither do I really care about doing so, I was raised in a very British fashion and those character traits won't be going anywhere, so that task will be down to my future children.
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  #62  
Old 05.03.2016, 21:50
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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I never have felt unwelcomed in the three times I have visited. Now we are planning to move definitely and we will see. I did have a few awkward moments which I preferred to laugh them off, because I honestly think my husband's relatives and friends were just trying to be nice.

On our second trip to CH, we had just got married and my hubby wanted to introduce me to the rest of his family and to his childhood friends. (just to put you in context: I am from Honduras and we live in the Bay Islands,of Honduras in the Caribbean) We went easily to 6 different BBQ parties...in each single party they offered me Bananas...seriously, they would say: We have water, wine, beer or maybe you would like a banana? At first I thought it was weird and then by the third lunch my husband picked it up...by the sixth offer I had to say: I know Honduras exports bananas, I know we love them...but no, I don't eat them ALWAYS, but I will take Himbeeries anytime!

I felt they thought in Honduras we hanged around banana trees always...

The last visit, my mother-in-law was surprised to see I was able to operate the washing machine or drive a car...Yes Honduras is a third world country but we do have technology here. Though the toilets in Switzerland did make me feel stupid, didn't know how to flush them😁. Ours have a little handle on the tank and in Switzerland the flush thing is on the wall..jajajaja..had a good laugh when I had to go out and ask my hubbie how to flush..jajajaja
They might just like the Minion movies little too much.
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  #63  
Old 06.03.2016, 11:30
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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We have very reasonable neighbours in Ehrendingen. The building is relatively old from 1970's and walls make the noise isolation very weak. When one speaks loud or drops something on the floor, then one can hear almost everything.

My neighbour came in peace and offered rather a solution to the problem than desire to escalate it. TIS!
I was being sarcastic
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  #64  
Old 06.03.2016, 13:43
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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I have been made to feel very welcome in Switzerland... but then again I am Blonde, Caucasian, and speak passable German.

I don't think I will ever truly "integrate" in a seamless and un-noticeable way and neither do I really care about doing so, I was raised in a very British fashion and those character traits won't be going anywhere, so that task will be down to my future children.

I believe that the path is a lot smoother if you are Caucasian, speak German well enough to carry you through daily life, and your name doesn't end in "ic", though that alone is no guarantee.


In my experience although you can integrate here, you will never reach the point of indistinguishability.... and I don't think many Swiss even expect that (many do a double take if you know how to play Jass, the rules of Hornussen, Schwingen, anything of Swiss history or politics, or understand Swiss German while speaking Schriftdeutsch). For the most part what they desire is that you don't extricate, disengage, isolate or subvert (hard to think of a good antonym for this sense of integrate).


Many feel they need to protect their culture (which society doesn't?)


As a Canadian many Swiss ask "It must be wonderful to be Canadian, all that open space and wilderness, Why on earth would you choose to come here?" I generally respond, in German, by saying "Space, Wilderness? I grew up in Toronto, there there are more boat docks in the GTA than Zurich has people!" This generally takes them aback, as it doesn't jive with the Karl May/Jack London/Robert Service version of "Canada as wilderness" that the vast majority of Europeans hold. I then usually say that Canada and Switzerland are quite similar: Good school system, economy, healthcare, close ties to the geography, see themselves as a nation of farmers (but aren't), play hockey, both have a Röstigraben, are sometimes players on the world stage (but not in the front row), and have a neighbor which speaks almost the same language, dominates their media, and regards them as pretty, but a bit backward.


By this point I have communicated that I wasn't critical of the size of Zurich, have some knowledge of (and praise for) Switzerland, and they could easily believe that I dislike Germans AND Yanks (I don't, at least not all of them).


Once I throw in that I _like_ the diversity of all the dialects, the fact that I am closer to a natural (or near natural) environment and that I prefer to be here I am generally accepted and can then be critical.


Were I to present myself (in English) as being here for the money, moan about the prices, refuse to use pedestrian crossings, and tell them that they really ought to learn how to queue, at least when getting into/out of public transit then the reaction would certainly be different.


Sometimes someone will hold that despite having citizenship, I still can't be considered a Swiss. These generally stop in their tracks when I say "Well, legally we're both Swiss. In fact, I am more Swiss, as I chose to be Swiss, you just happened to be born here." This will generally provoke a smile, or at the very least a nod.


Most Swiss are concerned about cultural encroachment, what seems like an anti "Them" attitude is more of a pro "Us" stance. Once they are clear that your agenda is not to deconstruct Switzerland they are generally ok.


As a (paper) Swiss, I will say I was dismayed at one of the media bites from the recent vote about expatriating criminal foreigners. A young woman gave an interview and expressed her satisfaction and passion for the win on a purely internal Swiss referendum... why on earth did she feel the need to switch to English and quote from Obama? While not the end of the world, I see this as encroachment: She could just as easily said something in dialect, we all know she learned English at school and follows the political media. I am relatively certain that the sound bite caused a wave of clucked dentures.
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  #65  
Old 06.03.2016, 14:37
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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In my experience although you can integrate here, you will never reach the point of indistinguishability.... and I don't think many Swiss even expect that (many do a double take if you know how to play Jass, the rules of Hornussen, Schwingen, anything of Swiss history or politics, or understand Swiss German while speaking Schriftdeutsch). For the most part what they desire is that you don't extricate, disengage, isolate or subvert (hard to think of a good antonym for this sense of integrate).
Agreed. For instance unless you grew up here you'll most probably have a noticeable accent all your life - the same applies to any swiss born,citizen or not, once s/he leaves that area.

Perhaps the term you're looking for is "appreciate", to which I'd wholeheartedly agree, combined with accepting the fact that this is not that individuals' home country and therefor different; not necessarily better (hopefully though) but definitely different.
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  #66  
Old 06.03.2016, 14:40
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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In my experience although you can integrate here, you will never reach the point of indistinguishability....
You can never reach that point even if you are a 25th-generation Swiss but happened to grow up three villages away.

Old saying in our area: "There are only two things I really loathe: racism and having to sit next to a guy from [> insert any neighboring village <] at the bar."
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  #67  
Old 07.03.2016, 11:18
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

On Saturday afternoon I had another run in with the racist/xenophobic Swiss:


Waiting for the tram at HB, and this big Swiss guy comes up to me and offers me a bible (or kinda shoves it at me). I politely decline, and he says something along the lines of 'muslim'. So I just ignored. He goes on to say "You're a Moroccan right? You Moroccans are all the same". And he gets right up in my face and said "I could knock you out right now", and has his fist clenched and right up by my chin.


I just respond, "Go ahead, do it then". (Nervously calling his bluff).

He follows us on the tram, and continues in my face calling me and my SO drug dealers....to which I agree and offer him some. He then switches the name calling to Pedophile. At which my gf pipes up and says yeah, she's 12 years old (she's actually a very petite and young looking 30).


Luckily, my stop was only two away, so we had to nonchalantly ignore him and try and diffuse whenever he got up in my face.


Got off without any further issues, but the whole tram was nervous. Another guy who got off with a female was telling her, he would have knocked the guy out right away!


Anyways, that was my incident of life in Zurich.
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  #68  
Old 07.03.2016, 11:22
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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On Saturday afternoon I had another run in with the racist/xenophobic Swiss:

Waiting for the tram at HB, and this big Swiss guy comes up to me and offers me a bible (or kinda shoves it at me). I politely decline, and he says something along the lines of 'muslim'. So I just ignored. He goes on to say "You're a Moroccan right? You Moroccans are all the same". And he gets right up in my face and said "I could knock you out right now", and has his fist clenched and right up by my chin.

I just respond, "Go ahead, do it then". (Nervously calling his bluff).

He follows us on the tram, and continues in my face calling me and my SO drug dealers....to which I agree and offer him some. He then switches the name calling to Pedophile. At which my gf pipes up and says yeah, she's 12 years old (she's actually a very petite and young looking 30).

Luckily, my stop was only two away, so we had to nonchalantly ignore him and try and diffuse whenever he got up in my face.

Got off without any further issues, but the whole tram was nervous. Another guy who got off with a female was telling her, he would have knocked the guy out right away!

Anyways, that was my incident of life in Zurich.
Report his behaviour and description to the police, perhaps?
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  #69  
Old 07.03.2016, 11:30
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

I do understand the intelligent skill of adaptation, adjustment and integration. What I do not understand when people expect either of others or themselves to be indistinguishable. Mimicry is important, studying it is, applying it when smart is. But blending to an extreme, losing one's identity and integrity backfires and if not for those folks then for their kids. It is confusing and it creates waves of extreme will to blend in and then stick out laters. That dynamics is interesting to watch, either here or elsewhere, US where immigration is high and cultural difference create gaps sometimes, but I wouldn't recommend any of that to anyone. Conformism nor conventionality doesn't make one happy, nor does a constant strive to defend one's identity. There are better investments of energy.

I feel as welcome as I let myself feel, I think that's what I wanted to say. Validation coming from outside, a true genuine one, is hard to get in any country one moves to, really. There will be a superficial globality mantra welcoming all, including dogs and monkeys, but whether one feels at home somewhere, as a newcomer, must come from effort to actually get to know the new terrain, doing work exchanging and actively working on leaving a particular imprint and soaking up inspirations.
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  #70  
Old 07.03.2016, 11:33
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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On Saturday afternoon I had another run in with the racist/xenophobic Swiss:


Waiting for the tram at HB, and this big Swiss guy comes up to me and offers me a bible (or kinda shoves it at me). I politely decline, and he says something along the lines of 'muslim'. So I just ignored. He goes on to say "You're a Moroccan right? You Moroccans are all the same". And he gets right up in my face and said "I could knock you out right now", and has his fist clenched and right up by my chin.


I just respond, "Go ahead, do it then". (Nervously calling his bluff).

He follows us on the tram, and continues in my face calling me and my SO drug dealers....to which I agree and offer him some. He then switches the name calling to Pedophile. At which my gf pipes up and says yeah, she's 12 years old (she's actually a very petite and young looking 30).


Luckily, my stop was only two away, so we had to nonchalantly ignore him and try and diffuse whenever he got up in my face.


Got off without any further issues, but the whole tram was nervous. Another guy who got off with a female was telling her, he would have knocked the guy out right away!


Anyways, that was my incident of life in Zurich.
Boy, sounds like a fanatically religious and backwards nutcase

I would probably report him too btw. Not much will happen of course, but still
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Old 07.03.2016, 11:40
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

Definitely a nutcase (although the same can be said by many who house racist sentiments).


He was of the transient look, and was arm deep in a garbage can after harassing a young women before harassing me.


Carrying a half bottle of cheap vodka and relatively well dressed (for a harassing type at HB).


What was strange was that he didn't seem drunk at all, not even a bit tipsy. I figured he'd get off at Beckenhof and was one of the typical chronics from the center there. But he stayed on to continue his life-bitterness.


It crossed my mind to report him, but it just seemed like a lot of effort and inconvenience will little to no recourse. Maybe that's a failing on my behalf though--who knows what he would have gotten up to. Overall I figured he was pretty harmless--worst case scenario I get knocked out with punch to the face.
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  #72  
Old 07.03.2016, 12:08
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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Overall I figured he was pretty harmless--worst case scenario I get knocked out with punch to the face.
You probably should have reported it, as he could do worse to someone else.
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Old 07.03.2016, 12:25
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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Definitely a nutcase (although the same can be said by many who house racist sentiments).
I'm not sure it's fair to cite an obvious nutcase as an example of Swiss xenophobia.
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Old 07.03.2016, 12:55
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

Yeah this thread is a mess, overall, there's no common understanding or anything interesting to retrieve from this thread...
A few "I got positive experience with someone", " I got conflict", etc...
All nothing to do with what I perceive as "being welcome" in Switzerland.
But hey, maybe someone, say who got fined by policeman seems to be able to use that experience to backup "feeling unwelcomed in Swtzerland"...

I think some basis needs to be established:

-What means being welcome? Can you say you have been welcomed because your female colleague was smiling to you???

-How many "experiences" contribute to the general feeling? Can you really say you are feeling welcome because once, someone was nice??? Or unwelcome because some freako on the tram was aggressive?

-Who is supposed to be "welcoming"? Locals? people with Swiss nationality? Expats?
Can you really say "unwelcome in Switzerland" because some people were nasty on EnglishForum??

-What were the initial expectations? Can you comment on being welcome because the postman was doing nice service?

-Whats the general attitude? Are you blaming every negative encounters based on your pre-conceived theory that everything not nice is due to your skin color or origin?


It seems people are using 1 element and draw conclusions from that solely.
I commented based on the numerous experiences I had and even if sometimes I had really negative one(s), I tend to moderate with other elements....

My overall impression, as said earlier is that whatever I will do, I will always only be "tolerated". Which is, in my opinion and based on my attitude and integration efforts, something negative. I would expect after so many times to "blend in" and considered as just another "citizen". Not happening here.
As comparison, in UK, even if the differences were greater (language, culture, etc...) I felt more considered on numerous aspects (not everything, of course).

Is that a big deal? Depends, it's also ok to have different culture, keep some of the roots, etc... but sometimes it is unpleasant to be reminded you are a "foreigner".

PS: I don't think there is a "right or wrong", regarding feeling welcomed or not, everyone can experience differently. But I do think the method used to lead to that conclusions has been incorrect or incomplete on numerous posts.
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Old 07.03.2016, 13:19
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

Well I'm definitely feeling many steps above tolerated here.

I have made many friends over the past year who I ride with, play squash with, go to the gym with, practice French with, do stupidly painful Fisherman's Friend and Toasted Challenge assault courses without training with, eat and drink with, and I could go on. This is across both the French and the German sides of Switzerland.

I feel genuinely accepted and appreciated here, and will chat away with the local bakery and florist shop keepers etc. who see me as a slightly quirky regular with a very strange accent.

The Swiss are a little reserved admittedly, but if you make the effort they become very close and life-long friends. I just think that the superficial and artificial "welcome" you often see in the West (particularly in the USA) is thankfully not present here and that's what people are seeing as unfriendliness/unwelcoming.

Edit: I don't try to blend in and be untrue to myself, and I wear my "quirky foreign gentleman" hat with pride. I do make sure I follow local customs and unwritten social rules though as that's just the respectful thing to do if you move to someone else's country.
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Old 07.03.2016, 13:32
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

I have never felt un welcomed. Swiss people have always been very kind and helpful. They even apologized sometimes that their English was not so good
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Old 07.03.2016, 13:40
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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Yeah this thread is a mess, overall, there's no common understanding or anything interesting to retrieve from this thread...
A few "I got positive experience with someone", " I got conflict", etc...
All nothing to do with what I perceive as "being welcome" in Switzerland.
But hey, maybe someone, say who got fined by policeman seems to be able to use that experience to backup "feeling unwelcomed in Swtzerland"...

I think some basis needs to be established:

-What means being welcome? Can you say you have been welcomed because your female colleague was smiling to you???

-How many "experiences" contribute to the general feeling? Can you really say you are feeling welcome because once, someone was nice??? Or unwelcome because some freako on the tram was aggressive?

-Who is supposed to be "welcoming"? Locals? people with Swiss nationality? Expats?
Can you really say "unwelcome in Switzerland" because some people were nasty on EnglishForum??

-What were the initial expectations? Can you comment on being welcome because the postman was doing nice service?

-Whats the general attitude? Are you blaming every negative encounters based on your pre-conceived theory that everything not nice is due to your skin color or origin?


It seems people are using 1 element and draw conclusions from that solely.
I commented based on the numerous experiences I had and even if sometimes I had really negative one(s), I tend to moderate with other elements....

My overall impression, as said earlier is that whatever I will do, I will always only be "tolerated". Which is, in my opinion and based on my attitude and integration efforts, something negative. I would expect after so many times to "blend in" and considered as just another "citizen". Not happening here.
As comparison, in UK, even if the differences were greater (language, culture, etc...) I felt more considered on numerous aspects (not everything, of course).

Is that a big deal? Depends, it's also ok to have different culture, keep some of the roots, etc... but sometimes it is unpleasant to be reminded you are a "foreigner".

PS: I don't think there is a "right or wrong", regarding feeling welcomed or not, everyone can experience differently. But I do think the method used to lead to that conclusions has been incorrect or incomplete on numerous posts.
OMG, are we going to write a research paper?
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Old 07.03.2016, 13:41
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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I'm not sure it's fair to cite an obvious nutcase as an example of Swiss xenophobia.


Fair opinion.


Personally I disagree: Generally anyone exhibiting xenophobic opinions, would be placed in the nutcase category.


As I mentioned on another similar thread. The grand majority of people living in Switzerland are polite and welcoming. However I've experienced a larger fraction of 'nutcases', xenophobists, racists, then in comparison to other countries. Maybe the % is more per capita, maybe the small number are just more vocal.

Last edited by Chemmie; 07.03.2016 at 13:52.
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Old 07.03.2016, 14:32
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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OMG, are we going to write a research paper?
Nae but in all fairness it's an important topic for expats or anyone trying to integrate into Switzerland's society, or at least to have a pleasant "few years" of cohabitation, living together and making a good experience out of it from both sides.

I just though it's a shame to ruin the entire possibly interesting debate based on limited experiences...
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Old 07.03.2016, 15:45
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Re: Do you feel unwelcome in Switzerland?

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Yeah this thread is a mess, overall, there's no common understanding or anything interesting to retrieve from this thread...
A few "I got positive experience with someone", " I got conflict", etc...
All nothing to do with what I perceive as "being welcome" in Switzerland.
But hey, maybe someone, say who got fined by policeman seems to be able to use that experience to backup "feeling unwelcomed in Swtzerland"...
Well yeah sure, BUT we all draw conclusions based on one or two experiences, positive or negative. It's human. I agree a lot in here is not racist or xenophobic, but just people who are either just idiots because they are idiots, are ignorant in general, were in a shit mood that day or whatever else it may be. And some just "fell victim" to something that is completely normal here, yet they were not used to from "back home".

However, the "it's because I'm [insert "diversity" aspect here]" is quite common in every part of life these days, personal, corporate, and no matter where you go. I remember even in primary school here in Switzerland, over 30 years ago, back when there were comparably few foreigners, we had that one Italian girl in our class who played the race/nationality card every time she got a bad grade and she continued doing so all the way up until university, where people stopped giving a damn She never even considered that she may just not have studied enough or not be smart enough, of course it MUST have been because she was Italian (funny that the same didn't apply to the one Spanish and the one Portuguese we had in our class).

And you see that happening with everything, here, elsewhere, with race, with other things. It's also always racism even when it's at worst/best discrimination and no race is involved (Muslim is still not a race, for instance ). These days, it's either because you're black/white/yellow/green/male/female/hetero/gay/Christian/Muslim/Hindu and it goes on and on and on.

Sometimes, I dare say even mostly, isolated incidences are just a coincidence. However, I can nevertheless understand why those isolated experiences irritate people quite a bit and why they may be jumping to conclusions. As said, it is human.

That is not to say btw that there are no racists in this country. Of course there are. But you can find racists everywhere in this world and I don't think Switzerland is any worse than other countries, in some aspects it's probably even much better. And as I've posted here many times, the "suspicion" towards everything and everyone people are not fully familiar here doesn't just apply to foreigners, it even applies to Swiss from another area. As ridiculous as it is...
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