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Old 18.01.2008, 21:28
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Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

Hello all!

I am an American and just joined the forum a day ago. My wife and I are considering a move to Switzerland for her work, but we need to get some information before we make the move.

I thought I'd start out pretty generally - what is the "social climate" like in Switzerland for Americans? Do we get a favorable/unfavorable reception? Have any other Americans gotten such a reception?

Thanks!

Morgannon
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Old 18.01.2008, 22:11
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

Most Swiss seem to like Americans more or less. If you can speak German, even better. You'll find that many Swiss have traveled in the US.
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Old 18.01.2008, 22:30
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

Hey! I moved here about a year and a half ago from the states and have had no problems. As was mentioned earlier, knowing German is a bonus, but if you don't (like me) at least trying to use what few phrases you have learned makes them happy - or at least laugh! Most people here can speak English but I found they appreciate it more if you ask them in German first if they do.
I have also found that even if they have never traveled to the states, they still know a great deal and often ask many questions. I have learned to appreciate answering the question "why" to so many of the things we do as well as teaching them American football and how to make an apple pie!
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Old 18.01.2008, 23:14
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

Could I just point out that speaking German is useful if you live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, French is useful when living in Suisse Romande and Italian, in Ticino…

As with most European countries, the Swiss like Americans well enough, it’s the Bush administration they have problems with.

Come on over, you’ll love it here, it’s a great country!
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Old 18.01.2008, 23:20
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

By the time you get here there will be a Dem in the White House.. then its all gravy
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Old 18.01.2008, 23:24
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

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Could I just point out that speaking German is useful if you live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, French is useful when living in Suisse Romande and Italian, in Ticino…

As with most European countries, the Swiss like Americans well enough, it’s the Bush administration they have problems with.

Come on over, you’ll love it here, it’s a great country!
Sorry about that. I'm getting Zurich centric these days.

Yes, French is helpful too. When I was living near Basel, I'd hop over the border and do shopping in France. And for the most part, the French have been pretty friendly as well.

As for Ticino, you're better off speaking English than German with them, though if you know some French and Spanish to go with your English, you can figure out a few things in Italian...
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Old 18.01.2008, 23:27
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

The simple fact is that most non-native English-speakers cannot recognise an accent in English anyway. I'm clearly British, but have been asked many time in Switzerland if I'm American, English or what.

... and an American here once congratulated me on my grasp of English
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Old 25.01.2008, 17:59
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

Hello all, thanks for the replies!

It sounds like a nice environment for Americans indeed! However, in all fairness of disclosure, I am a staunch Republican. A big reason we want to move to Switzerland is because it seems to be the closest thing in Europe to the U.S. in terms of gun ownership (allowed), medical system (private), economy (capitalist), religion (Catholic), etc. Plus, the government seems very traditional and conservative. If this is the wrong impression, please tell me so!

In addition, I want to start a hobby farm if we move there, and I hear that Switzerland has a thriving hobby farm industry. The thought of herding cows through alpine pastures makes me all tingly inside! Are there a lot of hobby farms around Zurich? My wife would be working in Zurich as the primary breadwinner, so we'd need to move to the general area.

Thanks for the replies all!

Morgannon
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:01
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

P.S., I will be learning both German and French before we move there, and the wife is fluent in Italian (once she gets back in practice, she will be, at least!)
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:09
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

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Hello all, thanks for the replies!

It sounds like a nice environment for Americans indeed! However, in all fairness of disclosure, I am a staunch Republican. A big reason we want to move to Switzerland is because it seems to be the closest thing in Europe to the U.S. in terms of gun ownership (allowed), medical system (private), economy (capitalist), religion (Catholic), etc. Plus, the government seems very traditional and conservative. If this is the wrong impression, please tell me so!

In addition, I want to start a hobby farm if we move there, and I hear that Switzerland has a thriving hobby farm industry. The thought of herding cows through alpine pastures makes me all tingly inside! Are there a lot of hobby farms around Zurich? My wife would be working in Zurich as the primary breadwinner, so we'd need to move to the general area.

Thanks for the replies all!

Morgannon
I'm afraid you're going to have to leave them thar guns at home. Although Switzerland is regarded as a gun-toting nation, these are military left-overs and end up in safes in bunkers. Lots of guns, very little ammo. Switzerland does not look kindly on it's migrant labourers packing weapons. You can empty a few clips under the supervision of a shooting range though.

As you well know the reformation kicked off here but the Protestants and the Catholics deal with their strife silently and in a very Swiss manner. There are some parts, towns if you will that are predominantly one or the other, but whereever you go you'll be catered for.

Be sure to mention your religion on your residency applications. A direct taxation will be made from your earnings.

As for being a republican, it's not your fault.

Seriously though, I don't think anyone will care about that really, either way. Although the upcoming elections are causing somewhat of a hullabaloo.

As for cows, if you can't have one I know of farms in Appenzel that can rent you one for the summer. You get to milk it and make cheese.

I'm sure you'll get on just fine here.
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:12
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

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Be sure to mention your religion on your residency applications. A direct taxation will be made from your earnings.

Most Kantons lean either to protestant or catholic, and have different holidays. That's the only difference I've ever noticed, but you may want to look into it further.
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:21
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

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Most Kantons lean either to protestant or catholic, and have different holidays. That's the only difference I've ever noticed, but you may want to look into it further.
true (regarding holidays - but both churches will be represented in the canton) - or mention that you're not religious and save money per year. Unless you are a churchgoer and then go directly to hell if you cheat the system!!
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:23
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

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That's the only difference I've ever noticed, but you may want to look into it further.
Obviously you need to see Monty Python's freemason sketch.

But it's nice to have an expat on board that can't be bothered by the church bells.

There are several allotment gardens in and around Zurich, to be honest I know nobody who farms as a hobby and didn't even know about rent a cow businesses, but it sounds like a funny business opportunity!
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:28
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

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... and didn't even know about rent a cow businesses, but it sounds like a funny business opportunity!
http://www.kuhleasing.ch/
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:29
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

Thank you for the advice Gooner - we're actually going to sell our guns here in the states and were planning on picking new ones up in Switzerland. I actually don't hunt, so no need for a ton of ammo - just wanted to have a handgun for personal protection, pretty much (wife has a very crazy ex).

Oooh, a rent-a-cow program, hehe, sounds interesting! I could get behind that! Well, probably not behind, those things do kick!

It sounds like we will get along there. Thanks for all of your help, everyone!

Morgannon
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:46
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

People don't mind Republicans, they just can't fathom Bush and why anybody would elect him... twice! When people get to know you, they'll ask. Hobby farming might be fun, as long as all you produce is for your own use, otherwise you may tread on some toes. I have friends who have horses, goats, cows, chickens, etc. for themselves and give stuff away, but sell a single potatoe.

If you haven't already done it, you can check a lot of stuff out here:

http://switzerland.isyours.com/e/index.html
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en.cfm/home
http://tagesanzeiger.homegate.ch/hom...ayout=&lang=en
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:49
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

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Thank you for the advice Gooner - we're actually going to sell our guns here in the states and were planning on picking new ones up in Switzerland. I actually don't hunt, so no need for a ton of ammo - just wanted to have a handgun for personal protection, pretty much (wife has a very crazy ex).
Carry permits for personal protection are few and far between. As far as I know there were a couple of discussions on this subject during the last few months.
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Old 25.01.2008, 18:52
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

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just wanted to have a handgun for personal protection, pretty much.
You do not need a gun for personal protection in Switzerland. This is not America.
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Old 25.01.2008, 19:03
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

I have not read all of the responses on this thread but Americans are generally well received.

The swiss will certainly feel you out for your political affiliations (they do not like Bush at all)

Other than that no problem
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Old 25.01.2008, 19:07
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Re: Reception of Americans in Switzerland?

As far as domestic issues go, my impression has been that Switzerland has some fairly "blue-state" policies (mandatory health insurance, etc.) but that they are implemented in fairly "red-state" ways (very decentralized, tons of ballot initiatives, etc.)

I've also found that the Swiss I work with seem to have a much better understanding of the US civic system than the Spanish or Italians I work with. They're not more informed about US domestic politics necessarily, but they seem to grasp some of the underlying assumptions more readily because it's similar to their own. Conversations like this are not atypical:
Someone: "What about <hunting, homeschooling, primary elections, age of consent> in the US?"
Me: "Well, it varies a lot from state to state. In Indiana it's determined by ..."
Swiss: "Ja, ja genau."
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