Switzerland is an attractive country that many people would love to relocate to. However, getting used to the culture can be challenging especially if you are a new resident. Below are various mistakes you need to watch out for when visiting Switzerland for the first time.
Being in the City on a Sunday
Just like in many other countries, cities are deserted on Sundays with few if any outlets open. If you have Swiss friends, they will tell you they take that opportunity to go hiking in the mountains or relax beside the lakeshores enjoying the scenery or swimming the heat away.
If you choose to ignore them, you will find the country quite boring for your liking which it actually is not. You only need to know where to be at the right time. On the same note, shopping for groceries on Sunday may not be a brilliant idea because many grocery stores are closed then. Shops open and close at different times depending on the part of the country.
Greeting People Generally
It is common practice for many people to greet others generally but not for the Swiss. If for instance you are invited for a Swiss social function, desist from general greetings and proceed to greet each person individually either by kissing them thrice if you know them, or give them a handshake. Otherwise, people will think you are rude.
Thinking that Residents are Fluent in the Country’s National Languages
Switzerland is an endowed country linguistic wise. However, not all Swiss residents can speak the national languages fluently despite the fact that a big percentage of them are multilingual. If you speak any of their national languages, do not be annoyed if no one seems to understand you.
In fact, many people in Switzerland opine that English is beneficial to them as a second language, so much so that they are less interested in learning any additional national language in the country.
Washing your Laundry at Will
Many apartments in Swiss have a communal washing machine in the basement. There are stringent rules on when to utilize them. You cannot utilize it on somebody else’s turn. If you do so they could react with verbal reprimands, warning notes, or even physical violence in serious cases.
Calling Administration Offices at the Wrong time
Swiss residents are accustomed to eating lunch earlier than people in many other countries. This means you cannot call, visit, or get attended at an administration office from midday. These include public service offices and medical clinics.
Additionally, you can hardly buy lunch after 2 pm especially in rural areas or small cities. If you miss your lunch, you may have to buy yourself a sandwich from the supermarket. During the summer, many small shops and restaurants take a two-week holiday break.
This means that you may not be able to access your favorite restaurant, bar, or cafe in August.
Using a Train? Use a Card
Switzerland has one of the best train networks in the world despite the fact that there will often be delays here and there. It can also be quite expensive.
You can relieve yourself from the traveling costs by getting yourself a traveling card that is currently integrated with the new Swiss passport. This enables you to travel for half the price annually.
Crossing the Road without the Green Man’s Permission
Expats do not seem to understand the importance of waiting for the green man’s permission to cross the road even when there is no oncoming traffic. Many times, people gamble with their lives on crosswalks where there are no traffic lights. While pedestrians have the right of way cars often stop automatically.
Giving Tips in Restaurants
While tipping in restaurants is a recognized custom in many countries, you do not necessarily have to give tips in Switzerland. The staffs in the country are well paid in comparison to some other countries.
Of course, this does not stop you from giving tips, but you should not be under pressure to do so. After all, dining in restaurants in Switzerland is quite expensive.
Relocation to Switzerland can present you with endless opportunities in terms of security, work, and healthcare. However, you need to avoid the above mistakes to enjoy a smooth stay in the country.