10 tips to settle into Switzerland

Guide byPackimpex

After moving to Switzerland, you will soon find yourself listening to the sound of crickets in your (hard to find) apartment. Here is how to cope with your new situation and make the most of it.

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  • Avoid making comparisons between your present situation and what you have left behind.

  • Make an active effort to meet people.

  • Be patient, settling in will take time.

You've taken a tremendous step moving to Switzerland, hurray to you. Now try to keep up your enthusiasm and explore, connect, reach out to others. Explore your neighborhood and explore Switzerland. Consider your time here to be an adventure. Be prepared to give as well as take. Everyone can make a contribution. 

Be mentally prepared for a socially slow period after your move and observe these tips to ease your culture shock. 

1. Keep an open mind

Learn as much as you can about your new environment, its people and their culture. Be constructive and positive. Be curious and ask questions. Be adaptable, open minded, and adventurous. Be prepared to listen and learn. 

Criticizing is very easy to do but will not make you friends or leave you feeling positive or constructive.

Try not to be too hasty in forming opinions or making judgments: things are rarely as black and white or as simple as they seem.

2. Don't compare 

Avoid making comparisons between your present situation and what you have left behind.
It is a mistake to expect to live as you used to.

You will need to be open to adapting on many different levels to your new surroundings. This is a gradual process and you will never become exactly like the ‘natives', but it will assist in making you more comfortable and conscious of your environment.

3.  Be patient, settling in will take time

A rule of thumb is to give the process at least four seasons. 

 4. Make an active effort to meet people

Clubs, societies, expat networks, and churches are all potential sources of friends and support.

Look for the support you need and build a network as early as possible. 

Expat groups are a good place to start but make the effort to integrate locally as well, otherwise you will find yourself in an ‘expat bubble’.

5. Be willing to accept frustration and failure

Keep things in perspective. Cultivate a sense of humor.

6. Learn the local Swiss language

Not only do you need to speak the language in order to better integrate in your local community, but simply because learning a new language is good for your brain. 

Besides, if you have children, they will quickly pick up the local language and you will soon find it difficult to understand them. 

Don't worry about being perfect. People will appreciate you making an effort. 

7. When any kind of help is offered, take it

First of all, admit when you need help, advice or information. Don’t attempt to be independent too quickly. This is the one time when you will need advice and support, so take it.

Then, accept that you will be dependent on other people because you are new. It takes courage to accept your own vulnerability.

Accept their help knowing that you will be able to reciprocate by helping other newcomers.

8. Organize things to look forward to 

Arrange a few highlights during the year, such as holidays, outings, and dining out.

Take advantage of the excellent transport connections between Swiss cities and other European destinations. 

9. Step outside of your comfort zone

Of course, moving to Switzerland was already a big step outside your comfort zone. That doesn't mean you can sit back and relax. 

Push yourself to try new things.

Take a chance and introduce yourself to people you find interesting. Go to this or that event, even if you don't know anyone there.

The more you participate, the more Switzerland will open up to you. It is worth it pushing through those moments of discomfort.

10. Don’t wait until you are settled and organized before seeking contact with people

People you meet may be able to answer your questions, offer support and advice and may even become your friends.

Don't assume that everyone has been here a long time: everyone seems like an old timer to a newcomer.