Next up in this series is integration. What efforts are useful to make? The good news is; liking local wine and cheese counts! Yes!
This informative series of short articles: “Inside Switzerland” is brought to Living in Nyon thanks to Jon Wyler. It gives us some insight into our wonderfully complex and highly efficient country.
So now what? It’s time to put the new-found knowledge to the test and use it to integrate better.
If you want to integrate into Switzerland, you’re going to have to work for it. The Swiss don’t really strike up conversations with strangers in a bar, and although often multi-lingual prefer speaking their own language.
The first step is learning the local language, or at least the basics to demonstrate your interest. Don’t worry about accuracy, the Romands* rarely use perfect French; preferring local variations and sometimes even German words. You may for example hear the term “putzer” used for cleaning instead of the more traditional “nettoyer”. Have a look at the list of differences between Swiss-French and… French-French here.
Dpending on the region there are quite a few foreigners so locals can feel a bit outnumbered. In Geneva, actual Genevois* are estimated to be less than half the city’s 58% Swiss population. By understanding a little about the local history, showing interest in local products (think wine & cheese), or getting involved with community activities whilst conversing in the local language, you might just make a friend.
For a bit of fun, have a look at this tutorial on”Making a Swiss friend” 🙂
*People in the French-speaking part of Switzerland
*German very close to the language spoken in Germany
*People with both parents originally Swiss & born in Geneva
Jon Wyler is a Swiss/Luxembourg bi-national, who grew up between Geneva, Hawaii and Beijing. Hospitality-trained, he has for most of his life followed his passion working in live music production, which took him around the world. Jon recently settled on the shores of lake Neuchâtel with his German wife who’s trying to figure out the in’s & out’s of her adopted country.