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Having lived in Switzerland for three months now here are a few observations. I haven’t got out that much and it is off season, so it will be interesting to see the changes in the coming months.
It’s beautiful. You probably knew that already, but really it is.
It’s not that expensive. You may be surprised to read that given the opposite is a frequent observation. Sure if you are a tourist you will probably feel it is somewhat expensive, but you are likely at a tourist destination and eating at restaurants. Sure the big cities are probably a little expensive, but isn’t that the same the world over? Rent here is lower than London1 and you get twice the space for your money and you don’t have those added expenses that will push your monthly rental costs up by 20%. Groceries are about 25% more expensive than the UK, but i believe the concept of “loss leaders” does not exist here. It’s also worth mentioning that meat is expensive, however this is compounded by how cheap meat is elsewhere. Public transport is expensive until you get a half-fare travelcard2, at which point it becomes very good value. On the subject of public transport…
Public transport is excellent. Quick, quiet, clean, on time, and integrated. The last point is important: there appear to be fewer trains/buses per hour but the timetables are designed to reduce journey times for multiple connections. A visit to Bern Weissenbühl, involving 1 bus and 3 trains, had a time of 6 minutes between each connection. To reiterate the cost issue - with a half-fare card the round trip ticket price was 54 CHF, about the same cost as an Off-Peak ticket from Cambridge to London. Oh, and this is the cost all the time, all day, regardless of how far in advance you purchase the ticket.
My French is woeful. This is not unexpected. Hopefully a combination of Duolingo, Bob l’eponge, and using the French i do know will mean rapid improvement. The Swiss don’t have this problem, those i have met are bilingual at the least. My three colleagues at the office speak 6 different languages, that’s pretty humbling.
Swiss wine is superb. However very little is exported, so i guess you’ll have to visit Switzerland to confirm this observation.
There is a culture of paying for things after they have been delivered. The pay by invoice method seems to be alive and well here, i suppose this indicates the level of trust. Perhaps Switzerland is a good place to be a freelancer?