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Old 07.04.2008, 12:28
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Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating(culture shock)

We have been here in switzerland for 2 weeks and I must say it is a harder change than what I had anticipated.Now before I get frowned at by 50 people, this is not saying that switzerland is a dump or that the people are bad.This is to tell fellow South Africans to be sure before they pack up everything and come to switzerland!

EVERYTHING is more expensive and if you think you are going to buy a nice big steak to braai..yes, you can but you are going to pay an arm and a leg for it. Two very small pieces cost 22 swiss franks!I met another south african lady at Zurich main station and she said she had to become a vegetarian because she refuses to pay the prices.She has been here for 2 years.

I am sitting in 50 square metre apartment and that after living in a 500sqm house in SA! I miss my beautiful car, i miss shopping without looking at every price tag. The television is mostly in german , we dont have satelite yet and my son watches cartoons that he does not understand and he asks me to tell him what they are saying , and my german is very very limited as well.

So be very certain before you leave SA because if not you might regret leaving it like I am doing now. I am going to do what I can for now but I want to go back home as soon as possible.

The swiss people are very friendly and the country is beautiful but I can not stay if I feel so out of place.
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Old 07.04.2008, 12:30
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

Do you think this does not affect other nations?

Look!
what would you bring from your homecountry?!
Your Essential Items from Home list

Edit: I guess I am trying to say - you're not alone!!
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Old 07.04.2008, 12:32
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

I think it is useful that people realize it is a big change before making it. Changing cultures and locations is never easy.


But you have only been here two weeks, so give it time, homesickness when one is making a big cultural adjustment is expected. Give it time, it will get easier and then you can decide what is best for the future.
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Old 07.04.2008, 12:42
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

You're missing material things. You'll adapt!

It's the cultural change which really kicks in after about six months. Do your best to meet lots of people - Swiss as well as other expats - and decide if you're going to maximise the experience or give up after a few weeks.

C'mon, you'll love it here. Or were you expecting another SA?
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Old 07.04.2008, 12:44
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

You'll get used to life here but you'll never have the lifestyle here that
you had in SA..it's still the best,no matter what!Hang in there,things will
get better over time.I wish you well.

Last edited by Mary; 07.04.2008 at 12:46. Reason: added word by mistake
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Old 07.04.2008, 13:47
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

As Lob says, it's not just SA's that will feel the change. We have lived all over the world and each time we move it takes around 4 months before it feels like 'home'.
I am not mad keen on Switzerland, but it is clean, safe and close to the UK for visits. I think, on balance, that as a family we have benefitted by the move.
You said yourself that you hadn't got your satellite dish yet, once you have some familiar telly it should help, in the meantime what about renting some DVS's for your son. Our local library has stacks of English language ones.
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Old 07.04.2008, 14:08
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

Hey Miekie, Thanks for being honest, I appreciate the reality factor considering I am moving to CH next month.
Not saying it is going to be easier for me but I have moved from SA to live in USA for two years and two years in the UK. Yes its hard but it gets easier. You are feeling very homesick and unfortunately it comes in waves, for me it was worse at 3 months and then ever three months after that, but once I got to the one year mark I never looked back.
The key is to integrate! You cant wait for people to come to you, you gotta make friends.
I feel for you, but try to stay positive and get your satellite ASAP but dont let that stop you from going out.
Oh, and get set up with Skype (If you havent already).

Good luck!
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Old 07.04.2008, 14:18
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

My best advice to you would be be patient give it time you have only been here for 2 weeks. When i first moved here i also found it very hard trying to fit in learn the language, swiss food, culture e.t.c., i think for the first few months i would come home from school, and say that is it i am going back to England, but now i love living here.

P.S. At least you have this wonderful forum to help you i did not have any forum when i first moved here.

Goodluck, and try and stay positive
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Old 07.04.2008, 14:29
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

when I first moved to the US I thought I'd die (I moved to rural Minnesota, VERY VERY different from what I was used to). It took me about half a year until I felt at home and after a full year I never wanted to move back to Switzerland. Anyway, I've been back for a while now. Left for many different reasons - but neither homesickness nor material differences had anything to do with it.
What I'm trying to say: it takes several months until you get over the initial shock and another couple of months until you're beginning to accept a new culture as something beautiful. If you run home now, everything you'll remember is bad. If you stay, even if you decide to move back later, you'll have a much more positive experience to look back at.

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Old 07.04.2008, 14:29
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

I'm sorry that your not liking it here. I think the first few months are hard. I promise you that you will adapt though. You just have to be WILLING to.

I do not mean to sound mean. But it sounds like your not even trying. First off, cartoons in a different language, perfect for your child to learn a new language! Not a bad thing at all. And the shopping aspect, you just learn that all those material things are just that, material. Spend money on other things. Like ski trips, or other family outtings.

IMHO, stop moping, chin up. Grab the situation by the reigns and run with it. Find things to do, have fun, and integrate.

Or, just keep sitting around wishing that things are different. Fact of the matter is, they are not.

Good Luck!
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Old 07.04.2008, 14:34
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

Yes Miekie thats a valid point, moving overseas is a BIG move and people need to realise that they have to adapt to your new country, not the other way around.

One of the biggest issues to consider is the language barrier, not being able to communicate properly does make adapting a lot harder. In hindsight I would choose a country where English is the official language if I had to do it all again.

That being said Switzerland is a great place and the advantages imo outweigh the disadvantages if compared to SA. At least chocolate is cheaper here, oh yes and cars are cheaper :-)
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:00
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

There have been some fairly emotional debates on reasons for people relocating from SA to CH on this forum. That said i am glad that you have posted your early experience here so that future immigrants may know what they are in store for.

I agree with posters that it does get easier as one finds the "compatible" life comforts to substitute what you miss from home. If you do not live in one of the larger cities, it is all the more difficult to adjust as they are less populated by expats.

If you are living in german speaking CH, take the time to learn german. Given that afrikaans is your first language it will be a cinch. This is the first step to integrating with the swiss and feeling comfortable in social events where swiss german will be the language of choice.

W.r.t lifes comforts forget the large houses with rambling gardens (unless you have the dosh!), the large steaks, sat braais and of course washing your car in the driveway on Sun (depends where you live this is forbidden).

Wish you all the best and hope it gets better.
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:06
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

Yes some goods are more expensive here compared to SA. This will be apparent espcially with goods local to SA. Goods imported into SA I am sure are NOT so cheap.

Yes meat here is expensive, especially when compared to SA. I had a really nice meal with 3 other people in SA where we all had big steaks etc... the bill was less than a single meal here. Wages, even for serving staff are higher here.

Are you here on a SA wage? If yes, then maybe you are in trouble, but I assume you are on a Swiss wage which is higher than you used to earn.

Language is the toughest change to deal with I think. You need to make an effort to learn the language if you want to stay here for some time.
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:08
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

Some good points there,DNAman!!
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:08
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

Anyone moving from anywhere to anyhwere should be aware that it is a big change, and either you are willing to change or stay home.

Each time it involves adapting to the language, the food, the culture, but that is what it's all about. For all the things you are losing (the braai, the garden, etc.), you are gaining a whole lot of others, and you should be open to the good new things, instead of looking back at what if staying behind.

If anything, for me it has been good to appreciate what I have and take for granted, and whenever I go home, I enjoy twice, because things that used to be ordinary have turned special. All about thinking positive.
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:19
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

Miekie,

I'm sorry that the move is proving difficult - I think many of us have felt that at one point or another as we try to settle and build lives here, and certainly understand. Perhaps what you are feeling is a normal part of adjustment to cultural change; my experience has been that this happens regardless of from where, or to where, one has moved.

My advise would be to look at this for now as an adventure, as an extended holiday - rather than a permanent change. After all, nothing is really permanent, is it? By adopting a holiday mindset, I found it easier to cope, easier to adjust - because I didn't have to bear the mental weight of having closed doors. And along the way, somehow I managed to build a new life without all that much effort.

When I went through a 'OMG, 'what have I done?' panic attack about a month after we had moved to Switzerland, the advise I was given to combat this was to go out a buy a GA. Get out of the flat, and see the country. Get away from the everyday hassles, go see the glories that Switzerland has to offer. Get out and enjoy what is different about Switzerland rather try to replicate the familiar.

And so I did. Armed with my GA, I felt more independent, more in charge, more confident about by ability to get around despite my poor command of the languages. I'd wake up and decide where to go today, pack up the dogs and head off for an adventure. As I saw more and more of this beautiful country I began to concentrate on what I was gaining, as opposed to what I had left behind, and suddenly the everyday hassles seemed a little less overwhelming.

I've been 'on holiday' now for 10 years - and am still enjoying the experience.

I wish you and your family all the best.
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:26
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

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Armed with my GA.
Stupid question??

What is a GA
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:29
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

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Stupid question??

What is a GA
General Abbonement for the trains. You can get one to cover the Whole Kanton or whole country. Kids under 5? (check this) travel free.
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:39
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

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General Abbonement for the trains. You can get one to cover the Whole Kanton or whole country. Kids under 5? (check this) travel free.
Excellent idea!!
Here is a website I found for the OP

http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/reisemarkt/abonnemente/ga.htm
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Old 07.04.2008, 15:41
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Re: Be prepared: South Africans that are relocating

Kids under 6 travel free, kids between 6 - 16 traveling with a (paying) parent travel free if you get the JUNIOR CARD (costs CHF 20, can be purchased at any train station and is valid one year). www.sbb.ch



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General Abbonement for the trains. You can get one to cover the Whole Kanton or whole country. Kids under 5? (check this) travel free.
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