Switzerland is a very civilized nation, and the Swiss people are keen on practicing their social norms. As such, you certainly don’t want to commit a cultural faux pas and offend the Swiss locals.
Once you study and live in Switzerland, it is a must to be in your most polite self. Follow and respect their cultural customs and traditions. Here is a guide to social etiquette in Switzerland that you should note to appear as a well-mannered individual:
When meeting a Swiss friend, you must be punctual. They are always on time, and you should be as well. If you say that you will meet them at 12 p.m., you should make it on time or at least 10 to 15 minutes earlier. The earlier, the better.
You should also maintain eye contact with your Swiss friend. When drinking and you are about to say “cheers,” it is expected that you toast with everyone and look them in the eye when doing it. Even though it seems uncomfortable, you have to get used to it. Also, you should wait for the host to offer a toast before drinking your beverage.
Try to make an effort to bring even a small gift if you are invited to dinner. A bottle of wine or flowers is a good idea to bring.
In terms of handshakes, a simple one is fine, plus eye contact. This comes along with two to three kisses on the cheek, always with the right cheek first. If you see someone you’ve already met, you should not forget to extend a greeting and say hello.
In Swiss restaurants, it is normal for dogs to be welcomed. Couples usually come to restaurants with their dogs. This has become a common sight in Swiss restaurants so do not be bothered by it.
It is also important that you try their popular melted cheese dish, fondue. When enjoying it, you must practice your best fondue-eating etiquette. For the most part, eat properly. You don’t want to appear disgusting by spreading food scraps all over the place.
In a country that speaks four official languages, it is expected of you to speak at least one of them. This is one common complaint by the locals against foreigners. While English is understood in most of Switzerland, it is also customary that you speak a little ciao, bonjour, or hallo. Locals will be much more accommodating to you once they know that both of you have something in common.
Also, respect their privacy. You probably know a lot of Swiss stereotypes and you should be careful not to bring up any of them in conversation. Discuss safe topics and you’re good to go.
Understand Switzerland as a country and as a student destination by checking out our other articles here at MSM Unify about Swiss life, culture, people, and education.