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Old 20.04.2011, 13:23
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Breaking down integration barriers: your opinion?

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_ne...l?cid=30029810

I have been in Switzerland for the best part of 10 years and have lived in Basel, Bern and Zug. I found Basel and Zug welcoming but have never integrated properly. I am a classic example of the "problem". I do agree many of us expats would like to make more contribution. Also of course it is partly our responsibility but I have lived in other developed countries and integrated much more easily. A friend of mine always said "Switzerland is like a five star hotel, you will feel comfortable but it will never be home". As I have not integrated over ten years, I am considering a return to my home country (an OECD country that competes with Switzerland for high quality of life cities!). Many expats come from developed countries where the lifestyle and economic opportunities are comparable to Switzerland so such options often make sense. Generally, I have a very high opinion of Switzerland. It is a great country and I love it so would be pleased to see more efforts made at integration. Longer term it is of advantage to Switzerland to attract and retain skilled people. It helps Switzerland continue to "punch above its weight" as it has always done. Good luck CH on these measures! It is a clear "win-win" for all concerned.
Meanwhile in Zug this week SVP says integrate or go home. I can understand the sentiment but a more accommodating attitude would be more helpful as this sounds somewhat hostile.
Generally though Zug is very welcoming.
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Old 20.04.2011, 13:36
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Re: Your opinion?

Do you speak the local language?
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Old 20.04.2011, 13:37
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Re: Your opinion?

I caught a glimpse of new 'integration' posters, but didn't get a chance to read them. Does anyone have a link so I can update myself on acceptable integeration plans?
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Old 20.04.2011, 14:47
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Re: Your opinion?

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It is a great country and I love it so would be pleased to see more efforts made at integration.
What kind of efforts would you suggest?
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Old 20.04.2011, 14:54
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Re: Your opinion?

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Do you speak the local language?
It is not about me. It was the comment for the article. There is the link to the full article in my first post.
I found this opinion interesting because sometimes Americans find European as cold and not friendly. In my opinion it is much more difficult to integrate to Swiss or German culture and find new friends, but if you have been accepted you have friends forever. In the US for example it is very easy to find new friends, but it is very easy to lose them as well.
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Old 20.04.2011, 15:02
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Re: Your opinion?

Integration is as easy or difficult as you want to make it, that said, if you don't stick out like a sore thumb walking down the street it is much easier of course.

I don't think you can blame the natives for not bending over backwards to welcome people who come here to work but have no intention of integrating.

I find if you make an effort and have long term plans then they are welcome enough generally. If you make it clear that you are here to make a few bucks and then p*ss off home then you get what you deserve.
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Old 20.04.2011, 15:06
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Re: Your opinion?

One of these days someone will actually define this wonderful thing called "integration".

I shan't hold my breath, though.
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Old 20.04.2011, 15:26
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Re: Your opinion?

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One of these days someone will actually define this wonderful thing called "integration".

I shan't hold my breath, though.

May I be allowed to try to define this 'wonderful' word?

Integration:
The moral conundrum the SVP finds itself in whilst simultaneously instructing foreign people to both be Swiss, and get out of the country at the same time.
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Old 20.04.2011, 15:51
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Re: Your opinion?

I do not speak fluent German or French ( I do speak fluent Italian but I am in the wrong part of the country) but I think I have integrated at least partially. I follow their rules, communicate in my poor German or French and when it is possible in Italian and people appreciate I do. I am taking German lessons but my level (B1) is very very very basic still. Language is important but also looking at the rules and following them, gawd I am boring...
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Old 20.04.2011, 16:02
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Re: Your opinion?

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May I be allowed to try to define this 'wonderful' word?

Integration:
The moral conundrum the SVP finds itself in whilst simultaneously instructing foreign people to both be Swiss, and get out of the country at the same time.
Integration is not an SVP thing. It is a topic that goes through all parties except, maybe, the Greens, who want everything to be sustainable instead of integrated.

In a very small and very densely populated country with more than 20% foreigners and an extremely high attraction to even many more migrants, integration is a matter of survival. So please don't blame the SVP, not even with a wink.
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Old 20.04.2011, 16:05
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Re: Your opinion?

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integration is a matter of survival.
Yeah, but what is it?

I pay tax, have never broken the law, can tell the cashier at Migros that I've left my Cumulus card at home... but am I integrated?

Until someone actually tells me what I'm supposed to do to become integrated, then I'm quite happy bumbling along in my he's-not-swiss-but-he-seems-pleasant-enough kind of way.

What more can/should I do?
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Old 20.04.2011, 16:14
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Re: Your opinion?

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Yeah, but what is it?
For the Swiss = become more Swiss than the Swiss - speak the language, uphold its customs, live by their rules.

I've always held this view. For the Swiss, it is about integrating into their way of life - no exceptions, no taking on a bit of your past culture and integrating it into your life in CH.

It has always been this way, and will be this way for evermore. Let's face it, they'll be looking at the EU going "told you so, nah-na-na-nah-naaa!" with the recent proclamations by leading EU ministers about how multi-culti has failed...
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Old 20.04.2011, 16:38
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Re: Breaking down integration barriers: your opinion?

All I can say is that I speak the local language fluently, stick to the rules as good as I know them, lived here without a problem for nearly seven years - and still do not feel "at home" at all. I honestly felt more integrated in the Netherlands after one year than here after six.

The key difference for me is pretty simple: People will continuously bang on the "Ausländer" topic. Wherever I go, read a newspaper, watch the posters on the street - during the past six years was there probably not a single day where there was not some discussion regarding foreigners in the media. "Integration" is actually pretty easy - it just happens by itself. But if you continuously discuss it and all the potential problems with it... you make me sick and tired of trying to fit in. 2006/2007 did I read countless of articles on "the Germans are invading Zurich", 2008/2009 countless "now they are leaving again"... on top of that all the SVP campaigns against anything from Muslims to foreign professors. It is just so much that at some point I stopped to care about my own integration. I am still getting angry when I can easily see throught the populistic arguments, but that's pretty much it.

When i came here the first time for 6 months, I liked it so much that I could see myself spending my life here. By now I am sure that I won't.
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Old 20.04.2011, 16:41
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Re: Breaking down integration barriers: your opinion?

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All I can say is that I speak the local language fluently, stick to the rules as good as I know them, lived here without a problem for nearly seven years - and still do not feel "at home" at all. I honestly felt more integrated in the Netherlands after one year than here after six.
Being integrated into a country doesn't automatically make you happy there. Unfortunately. If it were so simple.
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Old 20.04.2011, 16:52
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Re: Breaking down integration barriers: your opinion?

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Being integrated into a country doesn't automatically make you happy there. Unfortunately. If it were so simple.
Ok, if you define "integrated" as "lives a life style that does not make the neighbours call the cops" I might be very well integrated and simply not like it here anymore.

For me, I am integrated when I feel like I am part of a community. Here, I don't. I feel like I am part of a well educated, wealthy minority that lives a good life but lives somehow parallel to the "common Swiss".
You are integrated in a company when your colleagues recognize you as part of the team. Here in Switzerland, most Swiss I met - even friends I made - manage to make me feel like a visitor. The SVP has it as an agenda, but many others do not have any evil thoughts about it. They simply do not see you as "Swiss" or "permanent part of the country". That's why they also put the bar so high to get the passport. I am totally fine with my current one, but becoming a citizen would be a very strong sign of integration...
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Old 20.04.2011, 16:53
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Re: Breaking down integration barriers: your opinion?

Well what a load of soul searching hand wringing wet panted willy rubbers you lot are. If you want to know about lack of integration go to north England where some schools don't speak English and you can't get fish and chips in the chip pie but you can get samosas. I ain't seen anything like that on these shores so the SVP can kiss my moon machine. As for believing as you haven't been sent Christmas cards by the neighbours therefore it's better to pack up and move on, well what a wet weekend. Don't look so closely at all that rot, it's just BS politics at their best. Bit like "I'm the only fascist in the village"
Take a chill pill and relax, they like the expat wonga and no ones going to ask anyone to leave -apart from the arse wipes nicking peoples cash on street corners in this town.

Last edited by grumpygit; 20.04.2011 at 16:55. Reason: Spellcheck
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Old 20.04.2011, 16:59
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Re: Breaking down integration barriers: your opinion?

Or maybe, just maybe is Geneva a bit different than other parts of the country? You know: You cannot copy-paste experiences in London to the North of England... maybe the same applies here. I'd guess that the cultural differences between Western Swiss and Zürcher is bigger than the ones between Southern and Northern English (...let alone the weirder places in German speaking Switzerland).
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Old 20.04.2011, 17:06
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Re: Breaking down integration barriers: your opinion?

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Or maybe, just maybe is Geneva a bit different than other parts of the country? You know: You cannot copy-paste experiences in London to the North of England... maybe the same applies here. I'd guess that the cultural differences between Western Swiss and Zürcher is bigger than the ones between Southern and Northern English (...let alone the weirder places in German speaking Switzerland).
Well apart from international schools and they don't count, all Swiss schools speak in one of the local languages not Urdu . It's not generalisation either my point is simply that the school example is a non integrated society. My firm belief is that the integration story is pure imagination in some wannabe politicos creative esprit, but who knows.
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Old 20.04.2011, 17:11
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Re: Breaking down integration barriers: your opinion?

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Well apart from international schools and they don't count, all Swiss schools speak in one of the local languages not Urdu . It's not generalisation either my point is simply that the school example is a non integrated society. My firm belief is that the integration story is pure imagination in some wannabe politicos creative esprit, but who knows.
Actually, the schools you're talking about in the north are where the children don't have english as a first language. The schools are still run in English, not urdu.
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Old 20.04.2011, 17:12
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Re: Your opinion?

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One of these days someone will actually define this wonderful thing called "integration".
But, you're married to a MathNut...

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