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Old 29.07.2012, 22:45
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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I'm curious... do they not have something like a Wal-Mart in Switzerland that should more or less have popular brands of American companies?
No. You can find them, but they're expensive and packaging is smaller too. Migros and Coop are the big two here, but Aldi and Lidl have opened many stores here in recent years and they are good for cheaper products. Lidl do more brand names at better prices than Migros and Coop, Aldi are more unknown or own brand stuff.
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Old 29.07.2012, 22:51
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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Also people in Konstanz speak about the BODENSEE, there is no "Konstanzer-See" in evidence ! But, French speakers always speak about the Lac de Constance.

People I spoke about in Geneva were of Hungarian origin, on one side, and on the other side out of the Vaud. And a grand-uncle of me was a schoolfriend of Henri Guisan. The man who I went with to the Bistro when he was aroung 98 years old was the "youngish" son of the good old chap
Granted people rarely say Konstantzer See, if you google it you will find some (rare) evidence of its use. Its use is as rare as "Lac de Genève" in all honesty. I go down to Geneva once in a while and I have never heard "Lac de Genève" (unless English-speakers translate it wrongly )

Go to the Geneva Tourism Office (http://www.geneve-tourisme.ch/) and you will even see phrases such as:

"Découvrez Genève et son Lac Léman sous le soleil"

It's universally accepted in French that the name is "Lac Léman".
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Old 29.07.2012, 23:00
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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That's great to hear!
Although everyone was saying that living in Switzerland is crazy expensive, Lausanne seemed to be a fiscally viable option for even a poor student like me.
Believe me, I have lived several years in two german-speaking Cantons before moving to Vaud. I would have a very very hard time leaving for another Swiss Canton.
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Old 29.07.2012, 23:05
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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Some things I had already thought about...

1. secure some Swiss currency for the first few days.
2. get a haircut beforehand because it's probably triple the price over there
3. buy a travel adapter



If you could provide top 3 tips to a newbie coming to Switzerland, what would it be?
Thank you!
Have you secured housing? Finding a place in this town is extremely difficult!
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Old 29.07.2012, 23:35
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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Have you secured housing? Finding a place in this town is extremely difficult!
I have! The FMEL (associated with UNIL) has provided me with a room in an apartment. I have now started looking for stuff in my apartment... and put up an ad on the For Sale/Wanted section in the forum. Check it out guys!

http://www.englishforum.ch/sale-want...ml#post1621140
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Old 29.07.2012, 23:36
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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Granted people rarely say Konstantzer See, if you google it you will find some (rare) evidence of its use. Its use is as rare as "Lac de Genève" in all honesty. I go down to Geneva once in a while and I have never heard "Lac de Genève" (unless English-speakers translate it wrongly )

Go to the Geneva Tourism Office (http://www.geneve-tourisme.ch/) and you will even see phrases such as:

"Découvrez Genève et son Lac Léman sous le soleil"

It's universally accepted in French that the name is "Lac Léman".
I'm curious... I looked up the word Leman in the dictionary, and it just means "lake."

So the English translation of Lac Leman is literally: lake lake.

Is there some sort of historical context behind this lake's name?
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Old 29.07.2012, 23:40
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

Have a look at this thread ( and the links within ):

Moving to CH packing list
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Old 30.07.2012, 00:12
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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I'm curious... I looked up the word Leman in the dictionary, and it just means "lake."

So the English translation of Lac Leman is literally: lake lake.

Is there some sort of historical context behind this lake's name?
The actual etymology of "Leman" is unknown - it is purported to be of Celtic origin. It certainly doesn't mean "lake" in any of the modren languages.
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Old 30.07.2012, 01:27
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

My packing list: shaving blades/razors - extremely expensive here. Tylenol PM, Tylenol, Motrin and Crest toothpaste. Packets of taco seasoning, Lowry's seasoning. Good luck!
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Old 30.07.2012, 01:34
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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I'm curious... I looked up the word Leman in the dictionary, and it just means "lake."

So the English translation of Lac Leman is literally: lake lake.

Is there some sort of historical context behind this lake's name?
Probably some confusion when looking up the term Léman in the dictionary as the definition has a direct reference to the Lake. Léman certainly doesn't mean Lake.

Etymology can be varied; could be related to surnames or nouns in other European languages such as Lehman(n) in German, Layman in English. It is also a Middle English word for sweetheart, lover, or mistress.

The Canton of Vaud used to be called the Canton du Léman for a brief period of time after it won its independence from the Canton of Bern(e) during the Helvetic Republic when Napoleon tried to create a centralized form of government in Switzerland.

Léman was also a department of the French Empire under Napoleon and its capital was Genève (The Canton and Republic of Geneva was annexed by France during this time period).
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Old 30.07.2012, 03:05
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

1. If I were you, I’d get a proper dental check-up. (I am out of practical advice for now)

2. Go to your favourite restaurant and have a slap-up meal. Spend some time at your favourite cafe. Roam the streets of your town. I sometimes wake up at night with the image stuck in my head of me walking around the main market square in Krakow. You need to say goodbye to your old life and welcome the new chapter.

3. And this especially: do something special for the loved ones that you are leaving behind (we had our wedding reception right before we left, so we went out with a bang)
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Old 30.07.2012, 03:44
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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Geneva is not only geographically distant from the rest of Switzerland, it is also culturally distant from Switzerland (half of the population of Geneva ain't Swiss).

Vaud, on the other hand, is much closer to the heart of Switzerland, and is way more Swiss.

And, in all honestly, Vaud is a much nicer place to live in . You have a much better view of nature, the vineyards, the lake and the mountains. Cost of living is much more affordable and taxes are lower.

Trying going out in the evening in Genva, it is a dead city. Everyone from Geneva goes out in Lausanne at night.
That there is a majority of foreigners does not make a town "culturally distant from Switzerland" as CH citizens are in a minority in many places, Glattbrugg for example

Vaud around the Lake of Geneva and around the Lake of Neuchâtel however indeed IS among the nicest areas of Switzerland, no doubt !

However, a few years ago, on a way back from Geneva on a Sunday evening, I stopped in Lausanne to go having dinner, but everything was closed and dead and so I went on to Bern, our "Federal Village" and found a very nice place ...... so that I hope that there was/is progress right there in the meantime

"************************************************* ***************************

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No. You can find them, but they're expensive and packaging is smaller too. Migros and Coop are the big two here, but Aldi and Lidl have opened many stores here in recent years and they are good for cheaper products. Lidl do more brand names at better prices than Migros and Coop, Aldi are more unknown or own brand stuff.
Migros became the low-price pioneer by DROPPING outside brands and replacing as many outside brands as possible by its own stuff (Frey Schokolade, etc). For low prices you have to combine the four. Aldi against Lidl ? In "Zürich-Nord" / Zurich-Suburbia Aldi is clearly in the lead over Lidl, at least for the time being

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1. If I were you, I’d get a proper dental check-up. (I am out of practical advice for now)

2. Go to your favourite restaurant and have a slap-up meal. Spend some time at your favourite cafe. Roam the streets of your town. I sometimes wake up at night with the image stuck in my head of me walking around the main market square in Krakow. You need to say goodbye to your old life and welcome the new chapter.

3. And this especially: do something special for the loved ones that you are leaving behind (we had our wedding reception right before we left, so we went out with a bang)
Let's not exaggerate ! 'Tonino' is not up for execution, only for relocation for further studies and so is not to order his "last meal" And accross from Lausanne is Evian, a sizeable French town with shops and dentists and restaurants and other services !

I have never been to Warsaw and Krakow, only to Budapest, Praha and Moscow. But to North America. And so, I would say that Lausanne is closer to Krakow than to almost anywhere in North America. Which means that 'Tonino' is up for a nice culture-shock. Except that being of Korean origin, 'Tonino' possibly is well prepared to such culture-shocks !
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  #33  
Old 30.07.2012, 08:44
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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we had our wedding reception right before we left, so we went out with a bang
Hahahahahahahaha Too much information

Something I'd suggest that you TRY to leave behind is your opinions about how expensive everything is. Things are pretty expensive here, but if you come with that writ large in front of your face, it may spoil your experience of Switzerland. Its a lovely, clean, safe and well ordered place - you'll love it here.

Good luck
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Old 30.07.2012, 09:11
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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Migros became the low-price pioneer by DROPPING outside brands and replacing as many outside brands as possible by its own stuff (Frey Schokolade, etc). For low prices you have to combine the four. Aldi against Lidl ? In "Zürich-Nord" / Zurich-Suburbia Aldi is clearly in the lead over Lidl, at least for the time being
Even Migros' own brands can be expensive against Aldi/Lidl. Lidl's Fin Carré range of chocolate bars are usually 99 centimes for 100g, but are often as low as 49 centimes. Migros' Budget range can be quite good, though they seem to have cut back on some products in that range. It'll really depend on which stores are near to you and how easy it may be to get to others. If Migros/Coop/Denner are on your doorstep and it's 2/3 kilometres to get to an Aldi/Lidl then you'll probably end up in the nearer shops more often than the latter.
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Old 30.07.2012, 09:19
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

I second the dental work in Canada.

Also check out the Cooperators (Canadian) for health insurance. Your canton may accept a foreign provider (ours did) and it can save you a lot of money but you need to get the canton's forms filled in by your insurer, and it may vary from canton to canton.

Anything expensive you plan to purchase, just do it in Canada (laptop, clothing, skis, hiking gear, etc) and bring it instead of waiting until you are here.

And bring a few home comforts to get you through the first few months or those days when it just feels hard to be far from home.
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Old 30.07.2012, 10:17
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

I don't know how long you have in Lausanne before your studies start...

But I would suggest that you make a list of all the things that you will need to organise when you arrive in Lausanne. When you get here, everything may be so overwhelming that you forget to do something important (like registering with the Control des Habitants within 8 days of arrival). If you've made a list beforehand, when you're still at home, then you're more likely to remember all the things that need doing than in the hectic rush of settling in.

Here are my suggestions for such a list:

1. Register with the Control des Habitants at your commune office (within 8 days). Make sure you have all the correct documents, e.g. passport, birth certificate, 2 passport sized photos and I'm guessing something from the University (I had to provide a letter stating I had a job waiting for me).

2. Arrange insurance: health, home contents and résponsabilité civille.

3. Open a bank account.

4. Register with a doctor, dentist, optician.

5. Sort out whatever transport pass you have decided to go for.

On a lighter note, if there are any films that have come out recently that you want to see... go and see them before you come here! (I find cinema tickets here rather expensive.)
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Old 30.07.2012, 11:05
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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"************************************************* ***************************

Let's not exaggerate ! 'Tonino' is not up for execution, only for relocation for further studies and so is not to order his "last meal" And accross from Lausanne is Evian, a sizeable French town with shops and dentists and restaurants and other services !

I have never been to Warsaw and Krakow, only to Budapest, Praha and Moscow. But to North America. And so, I would say that Lausanne is closer to Krakow than to almost anywhere in North America. Which means that 'Tonino' is up for a nice culture-shock. Except that being of Korean origin, 'Tonino' possibly is well prepared to such culture-shocks !
I know Krakow is easily reached and I visit quite regularly, but what I meant was that I needed a ritual to say good bye to my city. Now I am just a visitor there, I am not a local any more. I have no idea, though, whether OP is attached to Ottawa that much.
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Old 30.07.2012, 22:50
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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Even Migros' own brands can be expensive against Aldi/Lidl. Lidl's Fin Carré range of chocolate bars are usually 99 centimes for 100g, but are often as low as 49 centimes. Migros' Budget range can be quite good, though they seem to have cut back on some products in that range. It'll really depend on which stores are near to you and how easy it may be to get to others. If Migros/Coop/Denner are on your doorstep and it's 2/3 kilometres to get to an Aldi/Lidl then you'll probably end up in the nearer shops more often than the latter.
Beer is cheaper in Coop than in either Aldi or Lidl, and wine is similar in regard to prices. Some selected products are cheap in Migros. and the Migros-owned Denner chain offers prices comparable to Lidl and Aldi. No, Migros as a whole did NOT cut back on the "Budget" side, but did and does do so in some outlets in upmarket-areas.

If you have a look at the longterm development (1960-2012), the companies which gradually became COOP have reduced the price-level considerably, while Migros has become a bit more expensive. To make it clear, Migros in the 1960ies was cheaper than Aldi&Lidl are now. Migros for decades was boycotted by the major brands-producers and forced to either purchase some producers (KonservenfabrikBischofszell + Chocolat Frey etc).

Interesting is to see the expansion of Coop and Migros into the department stores sector. Coop purchased EPA, made it into COOP CITY and raised the prices to make it profitable. Migros however excelled in purchasing the Globus chain (not cheap but cheaper than Jelmoli and Manor).

Interesting is to see that Lidl+Aldi in Switzerland are slightly more expensive than in Germany and France. If in Geneva, just check up Lidl in Ferney-Voltaire (NE of Cointrin)
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Old 30.07.2012, 22:59
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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I know Krakow is easily reached and I visit quite regularly, but what I meant was that I needed a ritual to say good bye to my city. Now I am just a visitor there, I am not a local any more. I have no idea, though, whether OP is attached to Ottawa that much.
I do NOT want to tell you what you have to feel about your old hometown but can tell you how I feel about Schaffhausen where Grandmum lived and where we were on holidays twice yearly until I was 15 years old. Whenever visiting the place, I am a visitor in the first 50 minutes but then gradually feel like a "semi-local"
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Old 30.07.2012, 23:22
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Re: 1 week to go before moving to Lausanne... anything you recommend I do beforehand?

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Oh yes. I am stocking up on lotions, face washes, medications, hair products, contact lenses... etc.

I'm curious... do they not have something like a Wal-Mart in Switzerland that should more or less have popular brands of American companies?
Y'all are confusing this poor student with all of the non-important info on this thread, i.e. the origin of the name of the stupid lake. (FYI, Tonino, when you arrive in Lausanne, just call it "the lake" and everyone will know what you are talking about).

You don't need to bring any passport photos with you. There is a photo booth outside of every office that requires passport photos, not to mention the photo booth inside the Lausanne Flon metro stop. Done. Easy.

I'm guessing from your list of hygiene items that you are a girl (or a metrosexual). In any case, here is what you are going to discover about personal products compared to North America:

1. Choices are limited. Go into the MMM Migros at the Metropole (metro stop Flon) or the Coop Caroline (metro stop Bessieres). They have everything you need there, but they do not have TEN KINDS of everything you need. They may only have ONE kind of something.

2. Google the brands "Loreal" and "Nivea". All of these products are available.

3. Bring tampons.

4. Bring deodorant bar soap, if you normally use something like Irish Spring. The only bar soap here is really frou-frou and made out of olive oil.

Welcome, good luck and stop stressing. It's really awesome here and you're going to love it.
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