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Swiss and Chips - Your British Guide to Switzerland

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Get a holiday vibe without leaving Switzerland

With the temperatures heating up again this week, it’s the perfect time to enjoy Switzerland and get to know a few places where you can create the feeling of going on holiday without straying too far from home. We explored some of the locations the Swiss head to when they need a 'staycation'. Notes on this episode of Swiss and Chips: Your British Guide to Switzerland Estavayer le Lac


Hit the road: driving in Switzerland

Do you need a car in Switzerland? And what other options are there apart from buying one? We asked what you wanted to hear about in this episode of our podcast, and driving in Switzerland was one topic you suggested in our Facebook group, Switzerland for English speakers. We talk about why you might decide to get a car, and how leasing, hiring and car sharing works. Notes on this episode of Your British Guide to Switzerland Owning a car - Great public transport, do you really need a...


Your questions about Switzerland: answered!

There’s been lots of questions in our facebook group, Switzerland for English speakers, over the past couple of weeks, so we wanted to talk about a few of them. Moving to Switzerland can be quite a confusing time, from the paperwork to the forms, to saying and doing the right can be tough! But there‘s always a funny side in the end. Notes on this episode of Your British Guide to Switzerland


Taking to the classroom to learn Swiss German

Many say it can't be done, but some of us will still try! Jo has been attending a Swiss German course and in this episode, she shares her experience of signing up and going to classes. From precisely what the course entails, to what happens in the classroom and the kind of things she has learnt, there were some unexpected elements to the course. Could taking a Swiss German class be something for you? Have a listen as we talk about the pros and cons of taking on learning the local dialect,...


Do you need to know Swiss German to move to Switzerland?

Moving to a country where you don't speak the language can be a 'chicken and egg' situation: which one comes first, the language or the move? It's a challenging situation for anyone relocating abroad, and for newcomers to German-speaking Switzerland, this is a big issue. It's hard to get hold of resources to learn this dialect outside of the country. Once here, there are many different regional variations to get to grips with, and the differences between Swiss German and high German can feel...


Where to find Swiss second-hand delights

Looking for furniture, clothes or something for your home in Switzerland that won't cost the Earth? Then you definitely need to find your nearest flea market or second-hand shop. In the German-speaking part of the country thrift stores are called "Brockis" (short for "Brockenhäuser"). In this episode we'll take you through how you can find them and what to expect, and tell you where to look online if rummaging for a bargain in person isn't really your thing. Did you know we have a Facebook...


'Fête des Vignerons': make merry at the Swiss winemakers' festival

If you’ve looked at any Swiss newspapers or programmes in the past few months you’ll have heard about the ‘Fête des Vignerons’. It’s a once-in-a-generation event that sounds like it's not to be missed. So what’s all the fuss about, and will there be wine? Did you know we have a Facebook group? Switzerland for English Speakersis a great place to ask questions and share experiences. Have a look! Notes on this episode We try to answer the most important questions before it begins. What is...


Shopping in Switzerland: what do you buy where?

What are the main shops in Switzerland and where do you go for specific items? In this episode we go through the big name shops, what they sell and where you can find them, plus we talk about some smaller, specialised shops or boutiques, and what you can buy online. Find out about the classic out-of-town shops traditionally frequented by farmers which could be useful for you and the surprisingly affordable electronics. Notes on this episode of Swiss and Chips: Shopping in...


Dealing with cultural diversity, the Swiss way

Switzerland is a very diverse country with four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. The Swiss also share their border with five countries: Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. And out of all the people living in Switzerland, 25% don't have a Swiss passport. So how does this work? How do the Swiss communicate and how do they all get along with each other? Did you know we have a Facebook group? Switzerland for English Speakers is a great place to ask...


Becoming Swiss, part two: 'Getting the Right Information'

Applying to become Swiss is a long process and requires lots of forms, documents and appointments. If you've lived in Switzerland long enough to think about applying, this probably won't come as a surprise! In the city of Bern, an information evening is offered to people who want to apply. We went along to clear up some questions I had about the process, and to find out as much information as possible. Notes on this episode of Swiss and Chips: Your British Guide to Switzerland


Is it time to take a Swiss German course?

Communication is key when it comes to fitting in and feeling at home in your adopted country, and being able to understand and speak to people does make your daily life much easier. But that's easier said than done in the German-speaking part of Switzerland where Swiss German is the spoken language. It's a dialect that most Germans struggle to understand and it sounds different in every village you go to. Learning Swiss German is tricky, but not impossible. After passing my German C1 exam,...


Becoming Swiss, part one: 'Before it begins'

Becoming a Swiss citizen is a long and somewhat complicated path with a few hurdles to overcome along the way. A few weeks from now Jo will start the process of applying to become Swiss and with that, we are beginning a new series in our podcast: 'Becoming Swiss'. It'll track her progress and give you insight into one person's journey through the Swiss naturalisation system. Did you know we have a Facebook group, Switzerland for English Speakers? It's a great place to ask questions or share...


What do you say in Switzerland when...

Do you know how to respond in Switzerland to avoid an intercultural mishap? Once you've started picking up the language as an expat, you'll start to notice the mother-tongue speakers around you reply in certain ways to specific situations or questions. This can be from anything as simple as a sneeze to trickier discussions about salaries, or dare-we-go-there, politics. It can take a while to work out what you need to say when, to avoid seriously offending your new-found friends, colleagues...


How to learn to ski as a complete beginner

If you're moving to Switzerland you might think that skiing will become a big part of your life: as a beginner that can either be really exciting or completely terrifying! However you feel about taking to the slopes, it's definitely something to try, or how will you ever know if you like it? Once you've decided to go for it, there are lots of things to consider before you even set foot in the snow. In this episode we guide you through all the important questions and share our experiences...


Ice skating on a frozen Alpine lake

Imagine walking along a snowy path between the trees in the Swiss Alps until suddenly, a vast lake, completely covered in ice and surrounded by a sheer cliff face, opens up before you: this is what you'll experience if you head to the Osechinensee or Lake Oeschinen in the Bernese Oberland, which has frozen over. It's a veritable winter wonderland! We wrapped up warm and headed out for a skate on the ice. And we've compiled everything you need to know to experience this magical day in the...


How to get over homesickness

You've taken a huge step: packed your bags, filled out all the forms and moved to a completely new place. But once the initial period of excitement wears off, living abroad can start to feel a little bit lonely, especially if your new life isn't fully set up yet, or something great is going on back home. Don’t worry, everyone feels homesick at some point! We've got some ideas to help you get through it.


The best Christmas present ideas to take home from Switzerland

With only a few weeks to go until Christmas, it's definitely time to pick up the Christmas presents you want to take or send back from Switzerland for friends and family abroad. We have sack-loads of ideas, from traditional Swiss souvenirs, to the more unusual. Hopefully there will be some ideas for you as well! A special thanks to everyone in our Facebook group: Switzerland for English Speakers, who had plenty of great suggestions to share. Notes on this episode of Swiss and Chips: Your...


How often do Swiss people use other Swiss languages?

Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. But how often do the Swiss use, or try to use, a language that's not their mother tongue? A trip to see the famous annual light projection at the Swiss Federal Palace, the Rendez-vous Bundesplatz, brings up the question as to how much the Swiss are expected to use Swiss languages other than their own in their daily life. We answer listener questions: - when are high German and Swiss German used? - is it...


How to make friends in Switzerland

Making the move to Switzerland is the first big step for expats: starting a social life is one of the next, and it can be just as difficult. The Swiss are not known to be very open at first - luckily there are some simple steps you can take that will make your life in Switzerland easier, and hopefully better. In this episode we talk about my first steps trying to make friends and get to know people in Switzerland as an expat, and I'll give you some tips and ideas from my own experience. We...


Swiss German words that don't translate into English: part two

In German and Swiss German there are some words that we don't have an equivalent for in English. We think you'll find some of them quite useful! As there are so many words that are hard to translate, we split the show into two episodes: this is part two of the Swiss German/ high German challenge. How many of the words do you know? Did you know: we discuss all our episodes and many other topics in our Facebook group 'Switzerland for English Speakers'. Notes on this episode of the...