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Old 30.07.2011, 23:45
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Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

Hello ex-pats!

My girlfriend and I will be arriving in your great country on August 5th and we will be there through the 22nd. We will flying in to Zurich on Aug 5th, we'll be staying in Luzern the night of the 6th & 7th, Gimmewald on the 8th and 9th, Interlaken on the 10th, Lausanne on the 11th, Bern the 12th, and the rest of the time we will be staying in Dornach up until we head back to Zurich on the 21st to fly back home.

We are very excited to meet and share stories and reasons for emigrating with all of you! We are a couple of science majors looking to go to graduate school and possibly start a farm in Switzerland! I am a Kinesiology/Pre-Physical therapy major, my GF is a cell biology major, and we are both chemistry minors. We are traveling to CH with our Agroecology class which has totally opened our eyes to the state of our food system in the United States. This realization has led us to our goal of creating a self sustaining farm that can feed ourselves as well as our neighbors/community. This is in addition to establishing careers associated with our majors. Any physiotherapists or cell biologists out there?

In addition to food supply concerns, we are directly experiencing the consequences of a government that does not value future generations. Our funding is being cut severely at our public university, health care is in dire straights, social security is bankrupt, pensions are a thing of the past, public parks are no longer supported, our nations debt is out of control, financial policies such as qualitative easing are ruining the dollar, corporations have constitutional rights, and our electoral process is broken.

We feel that a country like Switzerland is right for us because it doesn't waste half it's resources on perpetuating foreign wars and instead invests in it's own public transportation, health care, sciences and technology. We feel like our desire to become involved with decisions our government makes will be realized with Switzerland's direct democracy. We are tired of feeling like we have no influence over a governing body that chooses the interests of big business over it's own working people. For who really creates the well being of a society? How much food does a wall street broker produce? How many people do corporate lawyers heal? How many students have been taught by investment bankers?

Something has gone wrong with our country. We can vote with our hands and choose one of two parties, both of which are backed by Goldman Sachs. Not to mention unlimited anonymous campaign contributions are fair game thanks to the Citizens United case. Are we then surprised when our "representatives" continue to insist that tax breaks for corporations and the top 1% are in our best interests? All this is done in the name of creating jobs through trickle down economics. But when the people have no money to buy goods, why would a corporate executive hire more employees to serve a lesser demand? In reality they do the opposite, laying off workers to compensate.

How can we as American citizens not in the top 1% possibly elect someone who really represents us? This is why instead of using our hands, we vote with our feet! Switzerland here we come!

Shoot us a PM if you would like to meet up! Thanks for taking the time read our post.

Ryan Houser

Nicole Sallee


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Old 30.07.2011, 23:58
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

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Hello ex-pats!

My girlfriend and I will be arriving in your great country on August 5th and we will be there through the 22nd. We will flying in to Zurich on Aug 5th, we'll be staying in Luzern the night of the 6th & 7th, Gimmewald on the 8th and 9th, Interlaken on the 10th, Lausanne on the 11th, Bern the 12th, and the rest of the time we will be staying in Dornach up until we head back to Zurich on the 21st to fly back home.

We are very excited to meet and share stories and reasons for emigrating with all of you! We are a couple of science majors looking to go to graduate school and possibly start a farm in Switzerland! I am a Kinesiology/Pre-Physical therapy major, my GF is a cell biology major, and we are both chemistry minors. We are traveling to CH with our Agroecology class which has totally opened our eyes to the state of our food system in the United States. This realization has led us to our goal of creating a self sustaining farm that can feed ourselves as well as our neighbors/community. This is in addition to establishing careers associated with our majors. Any physiotherapists or cell biologists out there?

In addition to food supply concerns, we are directly experiencing the consequences of a government that does not value future generations. Our funding is being cut severely at our public university, health care is in dire straights, social security is bankrupt, pensions are a thing of the past, public parks are no longer supported, our nations debt is out of control, financial policies such as qualitative easing are ruining the dollar, corporations have constitutional rights, and our electoral process is broken.

We feel that a country like Switzerland is right for us because it doesn't waste half it's resources on perpetuating foreign wars and instead invests in it's own public transportation, health care, sciences and technology. We feel like our desire to become involved with decisions our government makes will be realized with Switzerland's direct democracy. We are tired of feeling like we have no influence over a governing body that chooses the interests of big business over it's own working people. For who really creates the well being of a society? How much food does a wall street broker produce? How many people do corporate lawyers heal? How many students have been taught by investment bankers?

Something has gone wrong with our country. We can vote with our hands and choose one of two parties, both of which are backed by Goldman Sachs. Not to mention unlimited anonymous campaign contributions are fair game thanks to the Citizens United case. Are we then surprised when our "representatives" continue to insist that tax breaks for corporations and the top 1% are in our best interests? All this is done in the name of creating jobs through trickle down economics. But when the people have no money to buy goods, why would a corporate executive hire more employees to serve a lesser demand? In reality they do the opposite, laying off workers to compensate.

How can we as American citizens not in the top 1% possibly elect someone who really represents us? This is why instead of using our hands, we vote with our feet! Switzerland here we come!

Shoot us an email if you would like to meet up! Thanks for taking the time read our post.
Im going to prepare you right now, they dont take kindly to people from Texas here (or to people who sound like they are from Texas).

Im sure you will find many nice people who will show you around but once you start complaining about your country in your first post people figure youre from Texas and that you have no real concept of how the world works.

Ive said it before and I will say it again:
I think that people globally are looking for an answer to their own corrupt governments. They see Switzerland as the lesser of all governmental evils in this world.

But what they dont understand is that the system is regulated by "Small Government" and every Swiss person envisions himself as the neighborhood rule enforcer. So from the Top Down Switzerland is an easy sell. But from the bottom up its not much different from Uncle Sam.

Also see: To all you Swiss people: Do realize how great your country is?

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Old 31.07.2011, 00:07
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

Yay, freedomseekers!

It's been so long...


Hope you enjoy your trip. If you find yourselves down Glarus way (doesn't sound like you will, but if you do) I'd be up for a coffee and a chat. I 'emigrated' half by accident and for the most un-ideological reasons imaginable, not a very interesting story I'm afraid, but I can shed some light on day-to-day life in Switzerland. Like anywhere else, there's a huge difference between being a tourist and living somewhere.
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Old 31.07.2011, 03:22
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

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Im going to prepare you right now, they dont take kindly to people from Texas here (or to people who sound like they are from Texas).

Im sure you will find many nice people who will show you around but once you start complaining about your country in your first post people figure youre from Texas and that you have no real concept of how the world works.

Ive said it before and I will say it again:
I think that people globally are looking for an answer to their own corrupt governments. They see Switzerland as the lesser of all governmental evils in this world.

But what they dont understand is that the system is regulated by "Small Government" and every Swiss person envisions himself as the neighborhood rule enforcer. So from the Top Down Switzerland is an easy sell. But from the bottom up its not much different from Uncle Sam.

Also see: To all you Swiss people: Do realize how great your country is?

Thanks for taking the time to respond to our post Zuger. I appreciate the heads up about complaining about our home country. I guess I figured people from Switzerland had more against the US and I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.

I'm surprised that we sound like we are from Texas! I would imagine a Texan to be far more pro-American and I would not expect them to trash talk the US. I will make sure to tone down my sentiments..

I would like to think that I have a fair grasp on how the world works but I realize that it is probably arrogant to perceive it that way. My goal is to learn more about how the it all works, I understand it is immensely complicated and I hope that by continuing to share with individuals like yourself my eyes can be opened to things I have yet to consider. Thank you for your humbling remarks.
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Old 01.08.2011, 20:20
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

Well, sounds like you have quite an agenda! Sure, I'll meet up with you, I live in the area of Interlaken.

And actually, the forum is good place to get to see Switzerland from both sides. It looks so rosy on the brochures, but the thorns, oh, those thorns... but I admire your enthusiasm and the break free attitude.

greetings!

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Old 01.08.2011, 22:48
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

I'd love to get together when you're in Bern on the 12th! I'm an American science major looking at graduate school in climatology, with a lot of the same ideas you pointed out in your post. I'll shoot you an email closer to the time. Enjoy your travels!
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Old 02.08.2011, 08:44
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

Too bad you're not planning to drop by Eastern Switzerland, as I'm sure it'd be a lot of fun to meet and "poke some fun" at the US together (well, I'm not an American citizen either, but I did live for a few years in SoCal until early this year, when I returned to Switzerland).

I know how you feel about politics in the US, but the grass does always seem greener on the other side. After living in many countries I decided I would adopt a different stand on politics: life is too short to waste it on petty things. In other words: enjoy your short stay here. You'll love it.
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Old 02.08.2011, 09:00
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

It's always nice and refreshing to hear the frustrations of my fellow countrymen. It merely serves to affirm my own reasons for leaving the US. Even my conservative, Fox-News-watching, card-carrying-member-of-the-GOP-and-the-NRA grandfather is frustrated and fed up with the direction the US has taken. Of course he blames Obama for most of it, but he also lays blame squarely on the Republicans.

When I moved to Switzerland he told me to stay put and not to even think about going back to the US. I'm still trying to decide if that was his way of saying he never wanted to see me again because I'm a flaming liberal, or if it was because.... anyway...

So why are you all drawn to Switzlerand besides its natural beauty, its mountains, its neutrality, and overall high quality of life? Are you aware of the costs that residents and citizens bear in day to day life? Since coming here, I'm making 1/3 more than I did in the US, but I'm living paycheck to paycheck because of all the bloody taxes and "gotcha" expenses (like speeding tickets) .

I'd just say... While you are here... keep your eyes wide open. Talking to expats and locals is a really good idea, and I'm glad you are pursuing it. Take it with a grain of salt though, and form your own conclusions.
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Old 02.08.2011, 09:52
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

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I guess I figured people from Switzerland had more against the US and I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.
No, I don't think the Swiss generally have anything too big against the US...you need to turn to Kabul for that.

Sorry, I did really try not to but I could not resist.

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This realization has led us to our goal of creating a self sustaining farm that can feed ourselves as well as our neighbors/community. This is in addition to establishing careers associated with our majors. Any physiotherapists or cell biologists out there?
Great goal guys, I really respect the idea. The world needs a lot more of this sort of thinking. It is a real pity that you are not going to be making it up to the areas around Basel as Aargau (canton next to Basel) is very agricultural and of course Basel is the centre of medical research and production. I think you would find this area of the country very interesting from that point of view.

Best of luck with your travels, and best of luck with you future.
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Old 03.08.2011, 07:04
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

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So why are you all drawn to Switzlerand besides its natural beauty, its mountains, its neutrality, and overall high quality of life? Are you aware of the costs that residents and citizens bear in day to day life? Since coming here, I'm making 1/3 more than I did in the US, but I'm living paycheck to paycheck because of all the bloody taxes and "gotcha" expenses (like speeding tickets) .
There have been many examples that I have come across as well as ones my girlfriend has mentioned to me that make me believe Switzerland would be a great country to live in. The points you make are big reasons, but in addition we love the appreciation the Swiss have for sciences, technology, and education. We plan on checking out some of the graduate schools while we are visiting, including ETH Zurich that Einstein attended.

I'm sorry to hear that you are working on such a tight schedule! We hope that we can establish our careers as well as a farm that can supply us with wealth in the form of crops such as fruits, vegetables, milk and eggs. We have no desire to become rich, just comfortable.

Part of our agroecology course required us to make a farm plan. We chose a hypothetical site in Switzerland and we feel that the type of farm we had planned on establishing would be met with open arms by the Swiss Government due to the many subsidies they provide to environmentally friendly farmers.

Here is an excerpt from our project that details the many subsidies that we discovered were available for sustainable farming practices:

~~~

Government regulations:
We will register with FOAG (Federal Office for Agriculture) in order to obtain the multiple subsidies they provide for organic farmers.

We will get subsidized for cheese-making, as well as not feeding our cows silage (cut, green vegetation placed in a silo - nitric acid comes off of it, which is corrosive!). We will let our cows graze in our designated grazing meadow instead (in a rotational method, of course!). If necessary, we can even get a grant for being domestic dairy product suppliers. We are going to build animal-friendly hen houses, which we will also receive a subsidy for.

We will have an area devoted to oil-seed production (corn, oats, cotton, soybean, mustard, camelina, crambe, safflower, rice, sunflower, peanut, rapeseed, coconut, oil palm), which will be subsidized. We are going to try and grow as many of these different crops as possible in this small area, because biodiversity is extremely important for a successful farm organism. Using methods learned in our organic chemistry labs, we will be able to use the oil extracted from these plants to make our own biodiesel. Since we will not only be growing oilseed, but also processing and marketing it, we will receive another subsidy. Since we are also processing and marketing fruit in the form of dried, mailable products, we will receive another subsidy.

We will get general direct payments based on the total area of farmland (in acreage), plus an additional amount for the open, arable meadows we are not farming. We are going to have cows, sheep, and chickens, so we will receive the payment for having grazing animals. We will also receive a direct payment for farming organically, as they are very interested in ecological conservation. There is another direct payment for having particularly animal-friendly conditions, and we would not do it any other way, so we will receive a payment for this. We will get further funding for the transhumance of grazing animals, also known as rotational grazing. Furthermore, we will get payments for our meadow-land as well as for our standard fruit trees due to their interest in ecological compensation areas. We will also receive a payment for our quality and interlinking of the ecological compensation areas. In order to best link our ecological compensation areas (the woodlot, meadows, and fruit trees), we will intersperse natural flowering plants (for example, Edelweiss) throughout ALL of our crops, so as to attract the natural pollinators that reside in the compensation areas to the plants that require their ecosystem services all over our farm.

~~~

That was a bit lengthy, but it is a strong reason why we wish to continue to find out if Switzerland is right for us. One response from our main post that we got said that Switzerland is very oppressive and that the weather and food system would be a problem for us. I would love to hear of anyone that can elaborate on how Switzerland is oppressive. Fortunately the weather won't be a problem for us since we hail from the Pacific Northwest, which is rainy all the time with the occasional snowfall.

In response to the food system not being as varied as the US's, I would respond by saying that maybe your country has less variety, but it actually tells its citizens when they are ingesting genetically modified foods. The United States requires no such labeling, and the farmers that produce these crops cannot even eat what they sow into the ground without first processing it.


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No, I don't think the Swiss generally have anything too big against the US...you need to turn to Kabul for that.

Sorry, I did really try not to but I could not resist.

Great goal guys, I really respect the idea. The world needs a lot more of this sort of thinking. It is a real pity that you are not going to be making it up to the areas around Basel as Aargau (canton next to Basel) is very agricultural and of course Basel is the centre of medical research and production. I think you would find this area of the country very interesting from that point of view.

Best of luck with your travels, and best of luck with you future.

No apology needed, point taken! And thanks so much for the encouragement! If you would ever like to skype or something I would love to hear your perspective/experience!
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Old 03.08.2011, 08:22
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

Not to be a wet towel or anything but are you eligible to receive all of these subsidies and direct payments???? If you aren't (i.e. you aren't Swiss citizens) I don't see how you're going to pull off your plan without significant assets. It's great to have a beautiful plan and I wish you all success but a lot of beautiful plans fail because of cash flow problems, and it sounds like you have a lot if you aren't receiving all of these subsidies. Anyway, at least you'll enjoy the reduction in rainfall. (former Seattleite speaking)

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Old 03.08.2011, 08:44
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

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Like anywhere else, there's a huge difference between being a tourist and living somewhere.
I have to whole-heartedly agree with MN here. Do you know German? Or better yet, Swiss German? It will definitely help if you do...and becomes so much more important if you live here rather than are just visiting here.

Since you are coming over to do graduate studies, it will be much easier to get into the country (to live) than if you are trying to find jobs in your respective fields. Finding a job can be very competitive and because you are Americans, you are competing with everyone in the EU (not just Switzerland) that has your similar skill set (who they would prefer to hire over an American)... I highly recommend not coming unless you are both set in a job/school. We have seen too many times the situation where one partner has a job and the other partner will "get a job when they arrive" and that seems to end badly very frequently.

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I'm surprised that we sound like we are from Texas! I would imagine a Texan to be far more pro-American and I would not expect them to trash talk the US. I will make sure to tone down my sentiments..
You don't sound like a Texan for the exact reason you listed. And being frustrated with the US is how almost every single American is feeling right now (and probably many many foreigners as well), so this is to be expected. But you don't need to bash the US to make friends...

I hope you have a great time on your trip. Look at the Social Events calendar to see if there are any events going on in the area while you are here.
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Old 03.08.2011, 08:50
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You don't sound like a Texan for the exact reason you listed.
Actually, most Texans I've ever met generally trash-talk the rest of the US, regardless of how the politics and economy are doing.
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Old 03.08.2011, 08:56
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

Must. Not. Say. Damn hippies. Ah shucks I said it. Sorry man, it just slipped out.

As you are going to be sitting in the airport and on the plane for a while you might as well pick up a few books on animal husbandry and soil sciences and then try work out where in Switzerland will have the right weather, soil and water supply for what you plan on growing. Then it might be worthwhile contacting the gemiende of those areas and find out if they have any restrictions on foreigners owning farm land. Hint: Don't tell them you've never farmed before. Hint 2: Also don't tell them you think farming is a part time job.

Seriously I really admire what you are trying to do, I'm just not convinced you have thought it all the way through. I do however wish you the absolute best of luck and I would love to hear how you get along. Good luck!
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Old 03.08.2011, 09:21
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

...couple of notes:

- wherever you find humans you will find human traits

- intrinsic to expectations is disappointment, so it goes better when you chuck expectations and try more to be open to seeing things as they are

- every human tribe has a strategy for survival. The most successful Swiss strategy is "husbanding their resources", which, though becoming eroded by US styled consumerism, can be hard as nails from cows to banking.

- focus on gaining insights, not selling your vision.

- spend your last three days perched on a mountain, staring off in the distance while digesting all that you have experienced, Dornach will still be there for your next visit.
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Old 03.08.2011, 09:28
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Actually, most Texans I've ever met generally trash-talk the rest of the US, regardless of how the politics and economy are doing.
Yes, but they would never trash talk the US to "foreigners"...
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Old 03.08.2011, 09:39
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Several excellent links in this thread.

Oh, and many of us are sick to death of Americans constantly whining about America. It's as annoying as - if not more annoying than - banging on about how great America is.

The rest of us simply don't care.
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Old 03.08.2011, 09:55
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

I admire the Marxist ideals, I'm concerned that with no land,(nor the money to buy it with) no knowledge of German or French, no agricultural/ farming experience, no money for live stock, feed or anything else, you will die penniless in a covered wagon in the wilderness, probably resorting to cannibalism, in a similar fashion to the 'Donnor party' of the 1800's.

But don't let that hold you back! Good luck and God’s speed!
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Old 03.08.2011, 09:57
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resorting to cannibalism, in a similar fashion to the 'Donor party' of the 1800's.
So that's where it was invented...

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Old 03.08.2011, 10:00
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Re: Travelers looking to meet up and share with ex-pats!

1) surprised a Mod (hint MN?) has not removed your email addresses - this is not a ban, just to avoid over-spamming.

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<snip>
We feel like our desire to become involved with decisions our government makes will be realized with Switzerland's direct democracy.
<snip>
2) Without CH citizenship you will not be involved in local or national decisions, you may be able to support local government/a particular party but you'll have not any say in the voting

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<snip>We are tired of feeling like we have no influence over a governing body that chooses the interests of big business over it's own working people. For who really creates the well being of a society? How much food does a wall street broker produce? How many people do corporate lawyers heal? How many students have been taught by investment bankers?
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3) Scratching head trying to work out why you think this doesn't apply to CH, a country renowned for its banking...

4) To echo Phdoofus (& others), you'll struggle to buy any land without a significant chunk of cash - figure in at least 20% of the purchase value in a mortgage + expenses, you're fresh out of uni, no (immediate) job propects, no German language (an assumption on my part) and you think a Swiss bank will invest the amount needed to buy a working farm?

You should look out for rural parts of CH - think Jura (French speaking) - land is dirt cheap (relatively speaking) compared to more urban areas. If you are going to grow stuff for yourselves (first) then you don't need a fully fledged farm of course - but I guess you know that. We've a house on a plot of land c. 450 m2 and we get fruit and veg enough, but not enough to fully support our family (of 5). If we had the right terrain (ours is a bit of a slope in places) and devoted the entire plot to farming then you probably could live as a vegetarian.

The problem then with a rural plot, however, is that you won't have easy access to employment without access to an urban area and/or local language.

Bit of a catch-22, but good luck anyway(s).
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