Guten Tag, Y'all: What I will and won't miss about Switzerland
Upon leaving Switzerland, expat Brittany Andrews considers what she will and won't miss about her adopted Swiss country and culture.
It is a bittersweet feeling that I have about leaving Switzerland behind. I have had some great times here, but there have also been some stressful times. I’m not saying that the following things do or do not exist where I have lived before – or where I will be living in the UK – but this list is just about the Switzerland I will and won't miss.
What I will miss about Switzerland:
- The Alps: I love being around the Alps. I have always loved mountains, but the Swiss ones are so beautiful and much more impressive than the North Georgia mountains. I also like how easy it is to go on a quick hike if I have a few hours to kill.
- Public transportation: the public transportation here is so clean and always on time. The Swiss are very serious about being on time. Maybe that is why they put so much effort into their watches.
- Cleanliness: When I first came here, I was amazed at how clean the streets were. I thought it looked like the streets in the morning at Disney World before the tourists ruin it. The street sweepers are out on the streets early every morning. There is never garbage and rarely even dog poop. The cities make it easy to clean up after your dogs with frequent dog stations. Whenever I travel anywhere else, I am amazed at how dirty everything is because I am spoiled by the streets of Switzerland.
- My friends: I have made some amazing life-long friends here. They are all expats since the Swiss are a bit harder to get to know. The Swiss that I have made friends with have previously lived abroad so they aren’t like the typical Swiss.
- German: I know I complain about living in a place where I don’t speak the language very well, but it has been a great experience. I never had the interest to learn German, but I am glad I was thrown into a situation where I had to learn. For me, the best way to learn is through immersion anyway. Even though I am not fantastic at German, I am glad that I can get by in most situations.
- Swiss chocolate and cheese: All of the hype is not an exaggeration. The chocolates and cheeses here are really amazing. Even though I walk a lot more than I ever did in the US, I have put on weight from all the lovely treats.
What I won’t miss about Switzerland
- The Swiss stare: I have previously written a post about this unusual Swiss trait.
- Swiss-German: Swiss-German is not a written language and differs from region to region. When you take a German language class here, they only teach you High German, or proper German. I have learned a little bit of Swiss and even pronounce some words the way the Swiss do (you pronounce it the way you hear it), but it is difficult to pick up. Their accent is a bit harsh and it sounds like they have a lot of phlegm in their throats.
- Living in a tax haven: Even though living in a tax haven means low taxes, it also means that there is a high demand to live in Switzerland, and high living costs. When I move to England, I will be paying a third of the price for double the size of my current Swiss residence.
- The price of living: Everyone here makes quite a bit of money, but it all evens out with how much things cost here. Even the price of groceries in Switzerland is amazing. The facial wipes I get are three times the price as they are in England. I am always buying new clothes for my son since he grows so quickly, and it is insane how much just regular play-clothes cost.
- The rules: I can’t even tell you how many times I have received angry letters, warnings, a good talking-to, or fines from breaking rules that I didn’t know existed. That is also a big problem when you don’t speak the language very well. I don’t get in as much trouble anymore, but when I first moved here and was clueless, I was always in trouble.
What I am looking forward to in life in the UK
- Television in English.
- American and British brand foods.
- Being able to talk to people about more than just the weather, ordering food, or asking for directions.
- QWERTY keyboard.
- Being able to afford to eat out at a restaurant.
- The British sense of humour.
- Being able to make friends more easily.
- The English countryside.
Brittany Andrews is an American expatriate who moved from America to Zug, Switzerland, and then to a small market town in Shropshire, UK, experiencing two very different places and people abroad. Brittany is an artist owning a small craft business, and she writes about her expat experiences and learning about new cultures on her blog www.gutentagyall.com.
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