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Showing posts from November, 2012

How to Spot a Swiss Person

As an expat one usually spots fellow expats right away. It's not only the language or the looks of people but rather the little peculiarities of life that seem so normal at home that give us away while abroad. Obviously, it's a cliche that all people from the same place (country, city, continent) behave in the same way and I am far from making that claim. However, growing up in a certain surrounding does rub off on people's behavior and some similarities can certainly be observed.

This is also true for Swiss people. According to the Swiss stereotype, we are a clean, punctual and strictly organized people. However, there are many exceptions like my Swiss friend who is always late or my brother whose room was a total mess while growing up. Yet, although they do not fit the description of a typical Swiss person, they still have some traits that give them away as Swiss. The same is probably true for myself - if I like it or not.
10 Signs you are dealing with a Swiss Person So,…

How to Say 'Santa Claus' in Swiss German

Christmas is only a bit more than a month away and advent season is about to start. Soon streets in every town will be lit up with Christmas lights and filled Christmas songs. High time to brush up your Swiss German language skills for the Christmas season with this short glossary of Christmas terms.
Swiss German Words for the Christmas SeasonAdvent(advent, the season before Christmas)
Adventschranz (advent wreath, usually with 4 candles)
Adventskalender(Christmas calendar)
Adventsmärt(advent market)
Ängel (angels)
Cherze(candle)
Cherzezieh (making candles)
Chrischtbaum (Christmas tree)
Chrischtchindli(Christ child)
Chrippe(manger)
Erdnüssli(peanut, typical gift from Santa)
Fitze (Santa's stick that he uses to hit bad behaving children)
Grittibänz(bread roll in the shape of a man)
Gschänkli(gift, gifts)
Guetzli(cookie, cookies)
Hirte (shepherds)
Liechterchetti(chain of lights)
Mandarinli(mandarine, typical gift from Santa)
Samichlaus(Santa)
Schmutzli(lit: dirty one, Santa's helper, usually dres…

Which Language Should You Learn When Moving to Switzerland

One of the issues most expats are dealing with is language. Unless you move inside your own language region (e.g. from England to the US) you will be facing a new language in your day to day to life. Buying groceries or ordering a meal suddenly become challenging new aspects of your life.
Is English sufficient?  Now, one could argue that in this age of globalization a decent knowledge of English will be sufficient to master all these situations. This is probably true for most larger cities around the world that are the home to many internationals. However, as soon as you move a bit farther into the suburbs or into the small towns you'll notice that English becomes less useful. 
The situation in Switzerland is similar. In the big cities such as Zurich, Geneva or Basle you don't necessarily need to know the local language. English works fine for work and living and even the government offices offer most services in English as well. The situation is quite different in the smalle…