Once you have introduced yourself to your new neighbors, it is time to master the more subtle ways of integrating in Switzerland.
Granted, no matter how much common sense you think you have, the Swiss tick differently. Or have you ever been to a country where they carry "Freitag" bags every day of the week? For the first time ever, we will let you in on the secret ways to get into the heads of the Swiss. If you apply our tried and tested wisdom with your colleagues, friends-to-be and neighbors, we will short of guarantee that you will please those Swiss...
Here are 19 ways to please the Swiss:
1. Always (always!) say "Grüezi" when hiking the Swiss Alps, even if you are totally out of breath. Swiss will consider you as one of them - otherwise, you identify yourself as a foreigner.
2. But even if you could pronounce "Grüezi" perfectly – resist. Use your accent as an advantage - the Swiss will find it very likable!
3. Say that the Swiss Alps are the most gorgeous mountains you have ever seen. Austrians will tell you that their mountains are at least as beautiful (and considerably cheaper for skiing).
4. Praise cheese fondue on any occasion, even if you absolutely hate melted cheese and the awful odor that sticks to your clothes for the next two weeks...
5. If you are invited for dinner, don't leave by 9 PM. Try to be the last one to leave (say, at 2 AM), and your hosts will consider you a local.
6. Say that you love the punctuality of Swiss trains. The Swiss are proud to have the best public transportation system in the world. (That's a fact and we apologize to our Japanese readers.)
7. Remember first names and use them often in conversation (but pronounce them correctly...)
8. On your birthday, bring a home-made cake to the office - or Weggli buns and chocolate bars!
9. Buy your Swiss neighbors a snack or a box of chocolate when you go to the bakery. You will be surprised how much this is appreciated. In the end, a good neighbor is worth a lot...
10. When you get a gift from a Swiss, always ask whether it is hand-made. If it is hand-made, you will be admired for having an eye for details. If not, at least you have asked...
11. Say that you prefer Swiss apples over imported bananas. Although the myth that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" has long been disproved, the Swiss still perceive apples as a staple food.
12. Do not stress a Swiss by pushing them. In any situation. Swiss love it their way, at their speed. Besides, even though they are told not to be fast, they actually work extremely hard!
13. Be punctual. When you agree to meet at 10 PM, be there between 10:00 and 10:05. Don't show up before, and especially not after! If stuck in traffic, give a call.
14. Invite your Swiss neighbors or friends for dinner at your place. They are very excited to visit you and see how you live.
15. Allow for breaks in conversations. The Swiss love this as a way of thinking through what has just been said. You will notice that it is actually quite a nice habit - the Swiss have known it for a long time.
16. Pronounce the word Chuchichäschtli to perfection and watch your Swiss conterpart's face light up.
17. Ask: "What are the local specialties in your region? Where can I find that?"
18. Don't ask Swiss for their position on joining the European Union. The EU is the most delicate topic you could stumble upon, as Swiss are divided exactly 50/50 on this.
19. And don't bring up the banking system in Switzerland. Just don't.
Can you say "Hansueli"? Good. Now learn how to piss off the Swiss...