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  #101  
Old 05.06.2012, 19:56
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Re: Ways to avoid "looking American"

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I just think if you're here and certainly here long enough, learning how to ask someone if you speak english in French, for example, is the minimum...Learning how to say merci instead of thank you, I mean is it really that hard?...A handful of words seems to be the minimum anyone should be able to attempt...It's an issue of respect

I have a vivid memory of a post office visit in Chicago during the summer and a group of French students had 2 people muster some english to ask a question from the clerk...It came out a little muddled but certainly it was easy to understand what was meant...Her response?...Mumbling loud enough for anyone within meters of her, 'Why can't they just learn english?'....Even when these kids were trying to speak English

You'll get the opposite reaction here more often than not, IMO...people appreciate attempting to speak the language rather than assuming the Suisse are going to speak english

A little OT, but anyway. Today I had a form notarized in Winterthur. It was a US form - I'd had to get a more recent one than the one I had notarized at the US embassy last week. And the originator told me they would accept a foreign notary. So for 20 CHF, they notarized the form - in English - and made me a color copy so I could fax a copy (they require that it's fastened together).

Imagine someone in the US (not an embassy) notarizing a form in a foreign language.

And by not going to the US embassy I didn't have to leave my phone in a locker in the train station, I didn't have to be patted down, and I saved 25 chfs. Steak for dinner!

To bring this back on topic, I always ask people in German if they speak English - I try to speak German but for some things, I need English and I always thank them for speaking English with me. Because, they don't have to - they could just say - "well, learn German".
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  #102  
Old 05.06.2012, 20:27
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Re: Ways to avoid "looking American"

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Now, for people are going to live here for any period of time, it's sad to miss out on the chance of going to language class, making friends and discovering a whole new world. I know it's not possible for everyone, but living someplace and ignoring the language seems like sitting down to a 5-course meal and just watching everybody else eat ...
I wish I could thank this quote more than once, and I wish more gringos shared this reasoning. especially since many employers pick up the cost of German (or French or Italian) language lessons and many of the private teachers (and many locals) are more than happy to help with picking up the local language.
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  #103  
Old 06.06.2012, 09:20
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Re: Ways to avoid "looking American"

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Imagine someone in the US (not an embassy) notarizing a form in a foreign language.
Why would that be a problem?

Do they care about what's written there?

Here, they only are notarizing your signature, not the document contents, so they don't care what's written, nor in which language.

Tom
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  #104  
Old 06.06.2012, 10:01
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Why would that be a problem?

Do they care about what's written there?

Here, they only are notarizing your signature, not the document contents, so they don't care what's written, nor in which language.

Tom
The notary's declaration was in English. I don't think there are notaries in the US with foreign language stamps.
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  #105  
Old 03.09.2012, 02:07
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Re: Ways to avoid "looking American"

Well all,

I just wanted to report back after my trip to Switzerland. Sorry for the delay in my report back, but once back home I had many things pulling me in different directions.

The advice I took to heart was just to be me and remembering to be courteous and respectful. All went very well. My partner and I had a great time in Basel, Wengen, and Lauterbrunnental. (We also took some short side trips to Lausanne and Bern to visit some colleagues at the university.) Among one of the best things we did was an overnight hike with our hosts from Lauterbrunnen to Obersteinberg and back. We did a loop hike and on the return trip we had fog, heavy rain, thunder, lightening, and bright sunshine (all in the span of a few hours). As we were told by a nice British couple we met on the train up to Jungfraujoch, we had a "proper" mountain experience. We loved it.

Everyone we met was very helpful and friendly. We took the train a lot, so I picked up a Mondaine SBB style watch as my souvenir. I also picked up a goat bell because I grew to love the sounds of the bells on the cows and goats in the Wengen area. We hope to go back in the next few years.

Thanks to all for the suggestions earlier in this thread. Some I realize were "tongue in cheek" and quite funny. All in all it was a great visit.
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  #106  
Old 03.09.2012, 03:26
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Re: Ways to avoid "looking American"

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Well all,

I just wanted to report back after my trip to Switzerland. Sorry for the delay in my report back, but once back home I had many things pulling me in different directions.

The advice I took to heart was just to be me and remembering to be courteous and respectful. All went very well. My partner and I had a great time in Basel, Wengen, and Lauterbrunnental. (We also took some short side trips to Lausanne and Bern to visit some colleagues at the university.) Among one of the best things we did was an overnight hike with our hosts from Lauterbrunnen to Obersteinberg and back. We did a loop hike and on the return trip we had fog, heavy rain, thunder, lightening, and bright sunshine (all in the span of a few hours). As we were told by a nice British couple we met on the train up to Jungfraujoch, we had a "proper" mountain experience. We loved it.

Everyone we met was very helpful and friendly. We took the train a lot, so I picked up a Mondaine SBB style watch as my souvenir. I also picked up a goat bell because I grew to love the sounds of the bells on the cows and goats in the Wengen area. We hope to go back in the next few years.

Thanks to all for the suggestions earlier in this thread. Some I realize were "tongue in cheek" and quite funny. All in all it was a great visit.
And you didn`d need to used a Canadian Passport ,witch you can obtain from the Israelis Just kidding Glad you had a good time
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  #107  
Old 03.09.2012, 10:43
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Re: Ways to avoid "looking American"

Just want to say thanks to DD for the original post. I have laughed a lot and learned a lot reading all the comments. Now if you'll excuse me, I am off to dig out my black tennis shoes...
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  #108  
Old 03.09.2012, 11:02
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Re: Ways to avoid "looking American"

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We will spot you as soon as you open your mouth - AMericans have the best dentistry in the world. :-)

Use MERIDOL mouthwash (mundspuellung) for a week, without brushing your teeth....to rid yourself of the "overly white American smile."..

You most certainly will not have gingivitis (the stannous fluoride component is excellent to fight the bacteria, but has a side effect of staining the bacteria, which it kills...) (I still recommend it, but only on CLEAN teeth...)

Of course, if you would like the "overly white American smile", best to avoid Meridol and Elmex products...try to stick to sodium fluoride....
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  #109  
Old 03.09.2012, 12:32
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Re: Ways to avoid "looking American"

Dont speak and just smile whoever you come across...
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