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Old 22.07.2010, 15:14
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Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

I'm a Swiss male (23-years-old) and I'm moving to Switzerland from South Africa (where I grew up) at the beginning of Aug 2010. I am aware of Swiss military service requirements and, to tell the truth, I'm looking forward to military training and doing something physical after having recently completed my 4-year degree.

I have a few questions to which I've battled to find the answers. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated .

1. Am I able to do my military service even if I can only speak English [I can speak a bit of French (such as introducing myself etc.)]?

2. Will I be greatly disadvantaged, while doing my military service, in not being able to speak German or French fluently? (I am a quick learner)

3. How soon can I start my military service after entering Switzerland at the beginning of Aug 2010?

Thanks.
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Old 22.07.2010, 15:21
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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I'm a Swiss male (23-years-old) and I'm moving to Switzerland from South Africa (where I grew up) at the beginning of Aug 2010. I am aware of Swiss military service requirements and, to tell the truth, I'm looking forward to military training and doing something physical after having recently completed my 4-year degree.

I have a few questions to which I've battled to find the answers. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated .

1. Am I able to do my military service even if I can only speak English [I can speak a bit of French (such as introducing myself etc.)]?
That's a no-go, AFAIK.
You have to be able to communicate in French or German.
I'm not Swiss, but I've read an article recently where they talked about second-generation immigrants and the military: often, they get rejected because they don't speak the language...

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2. Will I be greatly disadvantaged, while doing my military service, in not being able to speak German or French fluently? (I am a quick learner)

3. How soon can I start my military service after entering Switzerland at the beginning of Aug 2010?
Best is to ask them directly:
http://www.vbs.admin.ch/
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Old 22.07.2010, 15:29
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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2. Will I be greatly disadvantaged, while doing my military service, in not being able to speak German or French fluently? (I am a quick learner)
You did a four-year degree and can't figure out whether you ( or your comrades for that matter) will be "disadvantaged" because you can't figure out orders?
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Old 22.07.2010, 15:39
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

Take this advice with a grain of salt though, a lot just depends on you and how you handle it. If you are willing and physically capable it should be quite possible. Most orders aren't awfully complicated either. But yeah, learning the language a bit better would faciliate it a lot for you.
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Old 22.07.2010, 15:44
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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Take this advice with a grain of salt though, a lot just depends on you and how you handle it.
No, it doesn't. Those who cannot speak the language are rejected.

Maybe the op could consider the Zivilschutz instead?
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Old 22.07.2010, 15:51
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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You did a four-year degree and can't figure out whether you ( or your comrades for that matter) will be "disadvantaged" because you can't figure out orders?
I do understand that I will be at a disadvantage. What I am asking about is the extent to which I will be disadvantaged while doing military service (hence the "greatly"). I am hoping to get some advice on the practicalities of it from someone who was in the same position or who is better informed than me.
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Old 22.07.2010, 17:20
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

You should have asked about that to the Swiss Representation (embassy ?) in South-Africa.

Training is made in the official languages, not in English.

And, without having a good knowledge of French, you could be a bit alone, when draftees do nothing (90 % of the time...)

I had an Swiss American when i've made my Army, but he was speaking a very good French, better than my actual English.

Good luck.
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Old 22.07.2010, 17:25
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

Language won't bar you, because it's learning by doing and unless you're really going to be groomed for a specialized field, it's not exactly a major criteria. Keeping your head down and shooting at people in the infantry employs rather standard, universally understood wording.

Three things can get you out of Swiss military service:

1) Medical or psychological state of health
2) Successful request for civil duties as a conscientious objector
3) Age, if you're 28 or over, you'll go straight to the Civil Defense (Zivilschutz)

There is a fourth way, but you're not a professional sportsperson paying a lot of tax are you?
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Old 22.07.2010, 17:32
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

Be happy if you don't need to do that **** !
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Old 22.07.2010, 17:38
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

Would it really be that difficult to learn "Drink this!" and "Toke that!" in French, German, Italian and Rumantsch
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Old 22.07.2010, 17:42
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

I would also be sure to check with the SA embassy to make sure you would not be disqualified from SA citizenship for doing your CH military service.

I know that in the US, you have to get permission to serve in a foreign army (even if it's a defense force) if you're a dual citizen.
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Old 22.07.2010, 18:18
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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I do understand that I will be at a disadvantage. What I am asking about is the extent to which I will be disadvantaged while doing military service (hence the "greatly"). I am hoping to get some advice on the practicalities of it from someone who was in the same position or who is better informed than me.
well, we had one from the ticino, in the beginning, as he spoke barely any german, we spoke with him in english. he understood the orders (most of them in german, sometimes in french), and if not, you will get to see/feel it soon enough. later on, he understood perfectly and had even a swiss-german. it will be alright, just take care that you understand whats going on during recruitment (and be physically prepared), otherwise you get a boring job with boring mates.
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Old 23.07.2010, 12:00
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

I have not posted enough messages yet to have the 'thank' function, so I will do it in a post.

Thank you all for the useful information and input . It has been very useful.
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Old 23.03.2012, 15:23
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

Hi all,

I am now in the same position the OP was in when they posted in 2010.

I have been given two choices (officially):

1. Go to recruitment being competent in an official Swiss language, or
2. Pay 3% of my yearly salary in exemption tax

Can someone shed some light on what I can expect through the whole recruitment process?
Does anybody know if you actually have to pass a German language test during recruitment?

Cheers for any info,
Erik
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Old 23.03.2012, 15:27
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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Hi all,

I am now in the same position the OP was in when they posted in 2010.

I have been given two choices (officially):

1. Go to recruitment being competent in an official Swiss language, or
2. Pay 3% of my yearly salary in exemption tax

Can someone shed some light on what I can expect through the whole recruitment process?
Does anybody know if you actually have to pass a German language test during recruitment?

Cheers for any info,
Erik
Not sure the exact details, but if you complete the required amount of Zivilschutz, you should be able to skip the #2 option.
Depending on your yearly salary, this is commonly one of the top paying jobs in CH
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Old 23.03.2012, 16:54
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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I'm a Swiss male (23-years-old) and I'm moving to Switzerland from South Africa (where I grew up) at the beginning of Aug 2010. I am aware of Swiss military service requirements and, to tell the truth, I'm looking forward to military training and doing something physical after having recently completed my 4-year degree.


Join Rugby Club Zug instead.

cheers
SC
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Old 23.03.2012, 19:57
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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Does anybody know if you actually have to pass a German language test during recruitment?
Nope, but you won't be able to do it. You have to do a lot of paperwork. IQ test etc.
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Old 27.03.2012, 14:51
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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Nope, but you won't be able to do it. You have to do a lot of paperwork. IQ test etc.
How along ago did you do it? Does anyone examples of dual nationals or people without German or Swiss German as a native language and how they went with the recruitment process?

Cheers
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Old 27.03.2012, 17:26
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

My youngest son did his service in Switzerland ,learned German wile there ,got fed and sheltered and had lots of fun .Now he is in the Canadian navy (RCN) makes a good living and has fun
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Old 27.03.2012, 17:31
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Re: Swiss Military Service for Swiss male in English?

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My youngest son did his service in Switzerland ,learned German wile there ,got fed and sheltered and had lots of fun .Now he is in the Canadian navy (RCN) makes a good living and has fun
Out of curiosity, can he still visit Switzerland without fear of incarceration? The letter of the law says one may not serve in another army, but I always wondered if they actually have any way of following that up...
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