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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Zurich, Switzerland

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Zurich

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

No

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Expats in Switzerland may get a free expat health insurance quote from our partner Allianz Care, a leader in international insurance for expatriates. Allianz's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Their flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget..

If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

I studied High German in evening classes. A basic understanding of German is very useful, numbers, colors, objects / items (eg shirts, trousers, pen, plants, chair, knife, fork,) because even if you can not construct a sentence at least the person you are communicating with has a subject. Most people will speak English, but a lot still do not or like me shy away from speaking another language even though they do understand a it.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No

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How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

It is different, you just need to experience it to understand. Humor is a big way English speaking people use to communicate, this will mostly only work with fellow English speakers in Switzerland so your approach will be different with Swiss people.

Don't expect people who provide a service to bend over backwards to provide added value, the attitude seems to be here 'you want it' rather than 'there are 50 other people who can provide the same service so I better do a good job of being the one who gets the deal'. Example they will tell you when to be at home with a date and time that suits them.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

Went through all these stages over the last 10 years.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

no comments (and good luck)

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Ease of life, less stress. lower taxes, better salary.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Humor, level of service, prices

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

no

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

See previous comments

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Comments about this Report

guest
Nov 4, 2010 04:25

I agree with you 300% in all your points

guest
May 29, 2013 17:47

Are there any ex-pats from the US living in Buchs, Switzerland> I am planning on retiring there and have visited an international Bible group there one Sunday this past Dec. during a visit. I speak passable German and have no trouble communicating with the Swiss and people in Liechtenstein. Are there retiree groups in Buchs that I could join? How about apartments that cater to retired people> Please include an e-mail address. Thank you, Lynne M.

Allianz Care Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Guide to Living in ZurichGuide to Living in Zurich

Expats in Zurich, Switzerland find themselves in one of the most important financial centers in Europe, and the world. While they are treated to a city with many English speakers, it can be difficult to find good housing... and friends!

Healthcare in SwitzerlandHealthcare in Switzerland

Information about healthcare and hospitals in Switzerland.

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Support your favorite restaurants in Zurich as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

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Advice from expats in Switzerland on housing search, finding a job in Switzerland, international schools, expat clubs and organizations, learning the language and cost of living. A must read for newcomers and anyone moving to Switzerland.

14-Expats-Talk-about-What-Its-Like-Living-in-Switzerland14 Expats Talk about What It's Like Living in Switzerland

Expats in Switzerland advise newcomers to join a few expat clubs, learn German (or French / Italian), enjoy the outdoors and travel Europe.

Moving-to-SwitzerlandMoving to Switzerland

Switzerland is a country rich with tradition, natural beauty and one of the most stable economies in the world. It is, however, also extremely expensive and expats often report difficult settling into the culture.

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