Culture & Language

Regions and Languages in Switzerland

The French-speaking region of Switzerland is located in the western part of the country and represents 20%. It is surrounding by the Jura mountain range and the Salève, both of which are on the border between Switzerland and France. The German speaking region of Switzerland is larger and represents 60%. It is located in the central and eastern part of the country while the Italian speaking region is bordering Italy in the southern area of the country.

Culture Shock

With four official languages and a surprisingly multicultural population, Switzerland’s diversity has the potential to provide expats with a fertile foundation to “fit in”. Though, as is the case with any assimilation into a new environment, it’s important that those moving to Switzerland approach all circumstances with an open mind and a well-informed knowledge base to best avoid culture shock.

Many expats remark on how hard it is to make friends with the native Swiss. It’s often said that the locals have a reputation for being reserved, conservative and conformist, and while never hostile to expats, they are seldom outgoing. One thing that can be hard to adjust to is the petty laws which govern certain behaviors. For example, if you live in a block of flats, there are set times you can use the washing machine, and you cannot wash your car on a Sunday. It is often noted that conformity is one of the key forms of acceptance in this decidedly neutral country.

Overall, however, Switzerland is an easy country to adapt to, with a growing network of expat communities to ease the transition from home, should you need it.