Xenophobe’s Guide to the Swiss

For those of you’ll who don’t already know…I have been selected for the Rotary GSE program which is a one month cultural and exchange program with a rotary district in another country http://www.rotary.org/en/serviceandfellowship/fellowship/GroupStudyExchange/Pages/ridefault.aspx

This year the destination is Switzerland! The Swiss them was in India for a month  in february and we had a really nice them with them Xenophobe’s guide to the Swiss a book by Paul Bilton was presented to us by them. It is a tiny 86 page book one fouth A4 size paper….but a wonderful book to read…and a must read for anyone who is going on a cultural exchange like we are.

What I am going to attempt to do in this post is to capture interesting snippets from this book and compare it to what I saw from the Swiss when they were here…and hopefully if I feel like compare this with what I saw/felt when I am in Switzerland and interact with the Swiss in their own land!

“Swiss rank the amongst the top three highest per capita income but they don’t enjoy it because they feel success is only a temporary state and it will shortly end in tears! They sutubornly refuse to believe they are doing well even though the figures prove it

In one of my conversations with the Swiss team here I was asking them…so what did you like about India and one of them said the people….the people are so happy here….people in Switzerland crib so much and they have absolutely nothing to crib…so maybe what the book said is true…..a pity really…if it is….well the team that came to india definitely went back counting their blessings back in Switzerland…

“Cantons are like miniature countries…folks here try very hard to persuade you that they are not ‘the Swiss’ but rather the Zurcher, Berner, Lugaesi etc depending on the canton”

Well this is something I don’t agree…at least meeting the Swiss team when they were in India…I did not even know which canton they were from until I asked them very specifically after reading this book! Each Canton apparently even has their own flag..how cool is that…imagine every state in India had its own flag….it would be utter chaos…! But maybe this phenomenon of cantonal identity not being important would be because they were in a foreign land…when we go to Switzerland our experience may be different!

“21% of the population is Switzerland are foreigners…the Swiss blame ‘foreigners ’ for everything that is not right..like noisy neighbors…dirty cars..etc”

The Swiss team that was here found India to be very noisy….they were surprised that the windows and the doors are not sound proof…we don’t even notice the sound…..can we try and me more conscious and be better citizens and do small things like avoid honking!?

That it about CH: Confiederatio Helvetica (CH) or Swiss federation from me for now….lots more to come….I am done just 10 pages of the book yet!

PS: If you found this post boring….don’t judge the book by it…the book is sure interesting…..

…………To be continued eventually hopefully!

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1 Comment

Filed under GSE

One response to “Xenophobe’s Guide to the Swiss

  1. Anand.U

    Shilpa San…

    Congrats and Gud luk on your trip…

    Few things you want to do before your trip for sure…
    1)Schengen visa
    2)Eurorail pass
    3)Sightseeing Location http://www.viator.com/
    (It costs your 30-50% more using this site) but I found the service very useful…
    4)Enable Your Phone For International Calls
    5)Enable Your Credit Card International Withdrawals

    and the most important of all…

    Carry empty suitcases as many as possible because you will end up doing plenty of shopping anyways 🙂

    hav fun !!!

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