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5 useful books about Switzerland

Switzerland Survival Books

If any of you have ever studied German, or if Deutsch is your mother tongue, I bet you have suffered a minor shock the first time you came to Switzerland and found yourself surrounded by "hoi", "grüezi","drü", "foif"and "Guete Abig"...

These would all be strange words which you have never ever heard before, because they represent what the locals speak on the street: Schwiizerdütsch, or Swiss German. On my way to finding a good Deutsch-Schwiizerdütsch dictionary, I also came across several guides and resources about the oddities and curiosities of a country that does not stop surprising me!

So below are my reviews of current books about Switzerland which I find most amusing and useful. But either way, a good starting point for Swiss German basics is the Wikitravel website, where you can find a decent phrase book. It actually appears clear and easy enough for anyone to get started with Swiss lingo and survive the first few days.

Books about Switzerland


Beyond Chocolate - Understanding Swiss Culture

Beyond Chocolate is not simply a language translator, but what I would call a "living-abroad translator" to immerse yourself in the cultural attitudes of Switzerland's fascinating, multi-faceted society.

To be able to cover every little detail, the author carried out interviews with not only Swiss citizens, but also with foreigners who have mastered the ups and downs of life in Switzerland.

Beyond Chocolate - Switzerland Book

Chuchichäschtli Swiss German Booklet

Despite a very compact size, this small red book contains the most useful and curious words in English, German and Swiss German: "Chuchichäschtli - Kitchen Cupboard.

This gem contains translations as charming as "outside/hinaus/usä" and as un-pronounceable as "a little bit/ein ganz klein wenig/äs biräbiräbitzali".

Chuchichaeschtli Switzerland Book

Living and Working in Switzerland: A Survival Handbook

David Hampshire could be considered one of the gurus in terms of helping people find their way when living abroad. Among his titles we can find "Living and Working in Spain", "Living and Working in Britain" and, of course, "Living and Working in Switzerland".

These survival handbooks turn out to be essential for those who move abroad, since they feature basic chapters on finding jobs, getting permits and visas, local working conditions and accommodations.

Living and Working in Switzerland Book

Swiss Watching

This reference on life in Switzerland should not be missed, as it analyzes Swiss culture in a very fitting way with a healthy dose of British humor! Swiss Watching: Inside the Land of Milk and Money is one of our favorites as it covers a wealth of information about the Swiss while avoiding clichés like cheese and chocolate.

Swiss Watching - Switzerland Book

Hoi! Your Swiss German Survival Guide

If you are aiming to use Swiss German in your everyday life and are actually intending to elaborate in more complicated sentences, all you will need is Hoi, Your Swiss German Surviving Guide.

You can find lots of handy phrases, more than 2000 words and even a dictionary. Quoting the book itself, it is "chock-full of encouragement for you to get a grip on the expressions you'll need if you're to enjoy your time in Switzerland and feel at home here."

Hoi! Your Swiss German Survival Guide Book

Please give us your feedback below or let us know if we have missed another indispensable Switzerland resource!

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A travel obsessed, positive thinking day dreamer from Spain who tries to gather as many experiences and memories as possible in Switzerland.

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