Half Black Canadian moving to Switzerland for a job
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Jun 25, 2012 7:39 AM Last Post By: theborg
Jan 4, 2012 12:33 PM
Half Black Canadian moving to Switzerland for a jobHello I am a half black Canadian moving to Zurich Switzerland for a job. I have a few questions on how are the Swiss German people in Switzerland are they friendly and easy to make friends with people? And also I have be reading some posts on websites saying that Swiss people are not very keen on immigrants and foreigners in their country and that they don't like black people is that true? and is there alot to do in Zurich and alot of good nightlife?I have this great opportunity and just wondering what the issue is there or if I should look and the other opportunity that was presented to me!
Any info is welcomed!!!
Jan 4, 2012 12:55 PM
1Swiss German people in Switzerland are they friendly and easy to make friends with people?
On the contrary!
And also I have be reading some posts on websites saying that Swiss people are not very keen on immigrants and foreigners in their country and that they don't like black people is that true?
It might be hard to understand for a Canadian, where basically everybody is an immigrant, but in most countries of the world people prefer to live among their kin and not with strangers from foreign lands. For its small size there are way too many immigrants in Switzerland already, so people naturally think that it`s more than enough.
It`s not so much that they don`t like black people, but they don`t like foreigners who come to live in their perfect country and than rape them, rob them and cheat them. Unfortunately most of the criminals in Switzerland are immigrants. If you`re a honest man with a legal job and respect the locals, they`re going to respect you too and you might even make friends, just don`t expect them to treat you as a Swiss.
This is indeed a great opportunity to live in Switzerland and I wouldn`t hesitate to take that job and move there.
Jan 5, 2012 3:30 AM
2Switzerland, and Zurich in particular, is a lot more cosmopolitan than it used to be. Generally, Swiss people like English speakers. They hate it when people don't speak Swiss German but won't hold it against English speakers as much as they do with Germans. Having said that, do make an effort to learn Swiss German (hard to do) or at least German. Swiss people in general are a bit odd and don't make friends easily (compared to Canadians etc.) but they're quite a decent lot, really and are generally friendly (albeit in a distant sort of way). If you make a bit of an effort to fit in you shouldn't really have any problems. Yep, and they're not very keen on immigrants, but that's really a matter of getting used to most recent groups of migrants/refugees. They used to dislike Italians a few decades ago but they don't even get noticed these days. Plus, I've never met any Swiss who disliked Canadians. Zurich is a great little city and the nightlife isn't too bad. You'll probably meet lots of other expats who are just as keen to go out and socialise as you are. So I reckon you should just give it a go.
Jan 5, 2012 3:32 AM
3About a quarter of the Swiss population are foreigners; in Geneva it's more than the half. You find Africans and Asians all over Switzerland.
Swiss people don't like (mostly Nigerian) drug dealers, Islamists who mistreat their wifes and daughters, nor organized robberies done by people from abroad (often from the Balkans).
Swiss people have a rather reluctant (although friendly) behaviour with people they don't know (the colour of their skin has nothing to do with that), but if once they accept them as friends, such friendships often last for ever, in very difficult situations too.
Jan 5, 2012 5:03 AM
4Foreigners are most welcome and at any case not considered as criminals when they put much money in the banks, like many notorious dictators seem to do. The Swiss hypocrisy to strangers... but ok, don't want to go off-topic.
To their defence it's a tendency in more European countries, as mentioned above also the attitude to islam. Switzerland is IMO top of the bill: no more minarets on mosques
As to black people it's a bit ambiguous but you should be fine in 'international and touristy' areas. As an example a black Swiss (nationality) football player (N'Kufo) left his country to play elsewhere in Europe mainly due to his treatment. Though I hurry to admit that soccer fans are not always the standard for pleasant behaviour.
Jan 5, 2012 5:37 AM
Jan 5, 2012 6:15 AM
6Arizona: did you ever try to open a bank account in Switzerland? You have to answer a lot of questions (more than everywhere else) in order to prove that the money you want to deposit is honestly earned.
These kind of transactions are much easier in the USA (especially Delaware) and in many parts of the (former) British Empire (Cayman islands, British Virgins, St. Kitts, etc.)
Or create a foundation according to British Law and you can do everything that's forbidden elsewhere.
Switzerland had almost no Muslims in 1950, 16.000 in 1970, 150.000 in 1990 and about 350.000 today.
The foolish minaret ban, proposed by the not less foolish right wing party SVP/UDC was voted with a very scarce participation during the period where the Libyan President Ghadafi (personnel friend of the Presidents of Italy, France and Spain) emprisoned 2 unguilty Swiss people as hostages as an act of revenge because Geneva police prevented Hannibal Ghadafi, son of his Excellency Muammar Ghadafi, to kill his 2 Moroccan domestics in a Geneva hotel. At the same period, a Muslim father killed a St. Gallen school teacher who wanted to persuade him to let his daughter attend the gymnastics lessons.
SVP/UDC used these (and other similar) cases (and millions of Swiss francs) widely as "arguments" and were able to mobilize people for their nonsense. They furthermore told people that they would be awaked several times every night by the Muezzin call.
Public opinion polls in Germany, France and Italy showed that the results would have been even worse if the same vote would have taken place there. So Switzerland cannot be top of the bill, because this idiotic vote took place in Switzerland only: no comparison possible.
Jan 5, 2012 6:32 AM
7Unfortunately I don`t have a bank account in Switzerland, but I can imagine the first question they ask is how much money would you like to deposit. If this amount is high enough I guess this was the last question. :)
The minaret ban is indeed nonsense! It doesn`t solve any problem, the mosqes will keep growing in number and so will the Muslims with or without minarets, soon they will be strong enough to turn a new vote in favour of minarets.
"...Minareler Süngü..." (Minarets our bayonets)
Quote from Recep Tayyip Erdogan - Prime minister of the country with the 2nd largest NATO army
Jan 5, 2012 6:51 AM
8"I can imagine the first question they ask is how much money would you like to deposit. If this amount is high enough I guess this was the last question. :)"
Please, stop to write such a nonsense! Or are you paid by the bankers of the countries I mentioned above, who have all interest to create these legends in order to prevent to be themselves in the line of fire?
Jan 5, 2012 9:27 AM
9Arizona: did you ever try to open a bank account in Switzerland?
Yes, of course I did. Pretty easy.
(not true, a friend did some years ago, it's gonna be more difficult the past few years after immense international pressure)
Maybe easier elsewhere but we're talking about Switzerland and the recent past, after kicking out of their countries, a fine bunch of billionaires - has appeared in the limelight.
Switzerland is top of the bill: there has been voted about the minarets. You're right, no comparison possible. Other countries remained in the stadium of polls. So far the semantics.
#4: Bristolnewbie: He played (N'Kufo) for the Swiss national team, I know him from FCTwente (a club at my doorstep) where he played in the championship and won the Dutch title.
He got a statue
So far the start of going off-topic.
Jan 6, 2012 9:07 AM
As you can see, there are different political parties in Switzerland, (as well as different languages, food, habits, valleys...) but rarely any bomb threat so people use their right to discuss about politics openly. Don't ask them about their salaries or their house rent. That's a secret.
Swiss people are mostly SLOW, REASONABLE, SIMPLE, TRADITIONAL, take these adjectives in their positive and negative meanings, and up to the extremes.
On the other hand you may get a biased answer if you ask a Swiss French to give you some infos about Swiss German people, or a mountain lad about city people. That's also what Switzerland is about.
Welcome, Switzerland is not better and not worse than any other place.
Jan 7, 2012 2:28 AM
11I am Swiss and live near Zurich, Switzerland. While your questions are of course quite justified, I am a bit surprised about some of the answers - not sure whether they are just hearsay or stem from personal experience.
I really encourage you to take this Swiss opportunity!
Some things to consider:
1. Zurich is a very international environment. Swiss Germans may be somewhat guarded towards foreigners, but even if you don't make many Swiss German friends, you will easily be able to meet people from all over the world. You will find out that the people you work with will be a good start to build relationships.
2. As in any other country, how you are received depends a lot on how you act. Swiss people do not have any special animosity towards black people (or people of any other skin color for that matter). There is a right-wing political current whose followers basically try to keep our country closed against any foreign influence. In daily life, however, you will meet few of those people, particularly not in the urban areas.
3. Zurich nightlife is of course not comparable to New York, Hongkong, London, Paris ... but it still has a lot to offer, especially on the week-ends. We have an opera, theaters, lots of concerts, music clubs, cinemas, festivals ... If you are a sports fan, Zurich is a great location both for summer and winter sports. We have a beautiful lake, and you can reach good skiing spots in just over an hour.
4. There are some initial bureaucratic hurdles, as some of the replies said - getting a phone, Internet access, a bank account etc. will take some effort, but thousands of people get this done every year.
I hope this helps ... get back to me if you have any specific furthere questions :-)).
Jan 8, 2012 5:23 PM
12I am a Swiss who has been living abroad for five years and I am getting quite tired of the stereotypes about the Swiss being unfriendly/racist etc. If you have a job and you are not totally shady looking Switzerland is the easiest place you can go to. The city of Zurich (like other major cities, too) organizes welcome events for new immigrants each month in English, Spanish, Turkish etc. You get the best public transportation system in the world. There are fantastic night clubs that don't close at 2am like most places in New York, London, and other "world cities". And on top of it all it's beautiful and you can reach Europe's best skiing resorts and many major European cities easily in a matter of hours.
As for the language, yes, do try to learn it. As is the case in any place in the world, it's the one and only key to meet the locals. Enjoy!
Jan 9, 2012 3:26 AM
13I'm not sure if #1 lives in the same Switzerland that I do. It's open, friendly and tolerant, and the reality behind all those minaret related stories that you hear is that the right wing party that pushed it through lost a lot of support in the recent elections.
I do, however, find that there can be quite a negative attitude towards the Swiss from the expat community here. I think that tells you more about the expats than about the locals. Try not to fall into that trap yourself.
To answer your questions:
Swiss German people are very friendly, though there is not such a strong culture of socialising at work as there is in some other countries. You will find a lot of other people in your situation that you can be friendly with.
Some Swiss are not very tolerant of foreigners (just as some Canadians are not). You will not find many of these people in Zurich.
The nightlife and cultural life in general is outstanding. It is expensive, but your wage will likely also be much higher than you are used to (your biggest concern should be ensuring that you get a fair wage compared to Swiss people doing the same job as you).
Edited by: greencelery- removed reference to post 2
Jun 25, 2012 7:39 AM
14One of the things that is being pointed to in most of the posts is that the nature of your question is subjective and therefore only subjective responses are possible.
It seems like what you are trying to do is predict what experience you will have upon moving to Switzerland? If you examine most of the responses, what they appear to have in common is people giving their "view" of Switzerland based on their knowledge of it's history, each persons personal experience etc..
The thing that is unnoticed or at the very least undiscussed is that whatever combination of data we are evaluating, it is all colored -- filtered through our own individual view of life. This is clearly illustrated by the comment "I don't know if person a is living in the same Switzerland I am".. for the purpose of these kinds of discussions.. the answer is no.. they are not.. they are living in the Switzerland given by their own experiences, views of life, values etc.. those can vary greatly from human to human.
For the best "guess" (and they are all guesses), I would ask your question of other black professional ex patriates in your industry who are now in Switzerland or who've recently left.
They will have their own filters, but consider that many of our personal filters are inherited by our own culture, background, locale etc.. you may find people similar to you have similar filters (which is more likely though in no way perfectly) a more accurate predictor of what your "experience" will be..
That is not said to invalidate any other persons response at all, only to highlight that what each person is answering from may not come close to how you see the world and therefore, in the same set of circumstance if you were standing side-by-side with someone who has a different set of filters, you both would walk away with very different experience.
In my own personal experience, the Swiss are a bit cold and distant compared to where you're coming from. People have said here that they are friendly -- and I think that might mis-communicate. Swiss people are "polite".. this is not the same as what you and I call "friendly".. The North American definition of "friendly" is "you and I interact casually about our personal lives to some degree".. and what the Swiss mean is to say "please, thank you, smile somewhat when interacting with people but not too much"..
To the Swiss, personal is private. It is a big, big deal to have a Swiss person invite you to their home.. usually this takes a long time of getting to know them. It's not impossible, but it doesn't happen with the velocity and ease that many North Americans are used to.
All of that being said..
(I am an African-American ex-pat that works for a Swiss Bank)..
and yes.. to the point of opening a bank account.. the rules of customer service are much different for people who have a lot of money.. The laws are tough.. but just as sometimes people who fly First Class get "escorted" through security -- the same type of thing happens when opening an account with lots of cash here.. (but to be fair it happens in NY and London too)...
All other things being equal, my personal experience of life is, when I am not looking for racism, I generally don't find it.. or it doesn't find me.. :)
Zurich is very very central to the rest of Europe.. and it can be a really great opportunity.
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