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I quit my job and moved abroad to Switzerland in the fall of 2016 and I have never looked back since. In fact, as we speak, I am considering staying another 5 years in Switzerland and starting a PhD. Call me crazy, right?
In this article, I am going to discuss the strange and surprising things that happened when I moved abroad to Switzerland.
1. I fell in love with cheese.
I’m also highly addicted to fondue and raclette. Fondue is a pot of melted cheese and you usually eat it by dipping bread or potatoes into the pot. Fondue means melted in French! Raclette is when you melt the cheese and scrape it off onto potatoes. Racler means to scrape in French. Both are absolutely delicious!
Growing up in Canada, I never really liked cheese because the stuff they sold in supermarkets was so massively processed. On the other hand, in Switzerland, everything is natural. Dairy farmers have passed down the art of cheese-making from generation to generation. Every spring, you see them bringing the cows up to the mountainside to graze the cows. It really makes for a picture-perfect postcard 🙂
2. I became more active.
Not that I wasn’t active already living back in Toronto, but moving to Switzerland really encouraged me to move my butt. I live about 5 minutes from the lake, and I just love waking up and going for a walk by the boardwalk. My weekends are usually spent in the mountains, doing some hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.
3. My English got much, much worse.
I spend the majority of my day speaking to non-Native English speakers. Therefore, I really have to simplify my English when speaking to them. If I use complex grammar structures, they might just not understand me.
I also started using strange grammar structures like “I arrive” instead of “I’m here” or “the father of my friend” instead of “my friend’s father.”
The bright side though, is that my French has improved significantly from speaking with French-natives all day 🙂
I even managed to pick up some (really bad) German!
4. I stopped thinking that Switzerland was insanely expensive.
Even though Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, I have grown accustomed to the exorbitant costs. Walking into the grocery store and spending 50 Swiss Francs (1 Swiss Franc = 1.05 US Dollars) on a few grocery items feels like chump change. Or paying 40 francs for a basic meal in a restaurant.
I’d say that my cost of living in my current city, Lausanne, is about double that of Toronto’s. However, somehow, I have stopped thinking that things in Switzerland are overly expensive. Anything below 10 francs feels like a bargain to me!
5. I started thinking that short distances were huge.
When I was living in Toronto, I used to go on a lot of road trips. My friends and I have even done some 16-hour road trips before. Now, after having lived in Switzerland, I consider anything that’s over 2 hours away “far.”
I have barely ventured over to the German part of Switzerland, and it’s only a mere hour and a half away. In fact, some of my Swiss friends have literally never visited the Swiss German part of Switzerland. I think it’s just a mentality in Switzerland, that anything greater than an hour or so is very far away.
6. I started waiting for the green light before crossing the street.
7. I got addicted to Swiss chocolate.
8. I stopped visiting the doctor.
9. I stopped travelling.
This point is partially related to #5. After moving to Switzerland, I started thinking that all of the other European countries are extremely far away.
Part of this also has to do with my not having any desire to visit any other places in Europe. I think it’s like how when I lived in Toronto, I had no desire to visit other Canadian cities. Everything felt too “familiar” and I wanted to go somewhere “exotic.” Now that I live in Europe, the other European countries don’t fascinate me as much.
10. I actually want to settle down!
This is the first time in my life where I feel like I’ve found a place where I truly want to spend the rest of my life. I like living abroad because I basically started my life over again. I moved somewhere where no one knew me, where I could become whoever I wanted to be. And that’s really exciting.
Today I explained the top 10 most surprising things that happened when I moved abroad to Switzerland. A lot of it has to do with adopting the Swiss culture – eating lots of cheese and chocolate for instance!
Do you live abroad? What strange things happened when you moved?
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