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Keep an open mind

Learn as much as you can about your environment – the people and their culture; be constructive and positive; be curious and ask questions; be prepared to listen and to learn.

Criticising is a pitfall that it’s easy to fall into but it won’t help you find friends or leave you feeling positive or constructive. Try not to be hasty in forming opinions or making judgements; things are rarely as black and white or as simple as they may seem.

Try not to compare everything!

Avoid comparisons between your present situation and what you have left behind. I must admit that within days of arriving in Switzerland I was missing my local pub with a pool table and an “abusive” barman who could within a heartbeat provide a plate of food for a carnivore. As newcomers we tend to over-use the expression, ‘Back in the UK… home we have…’. Having made this mistake too many times the advice is simple – focus on what’s in front of you and talk about that; ask questions and seek to understand why melted cheese and bread are so wonderful to share! Remember, the locals here barely acknowledge that cheddar is even a cheese!

Be patient, settling in will take time

The general rule of thumb is to give the ‘settling in’ process at least a full four seasons. Be kind to yourself and others around you!

Arriving in Switzerland during the spring or summer, it is impossible not to be impressed with the country’s natural beauty. The flowering meadows and small streams, soaring snow-capped mountains, lakes and rivers you can dive into and fields strewn with bell-jangling cows all make it feel like you have stepped into a giant jigsaw puzzle scene.

Go hiking in spring and summer, discover the local traditions in autumn, learn to ski or sledge in winter, there is plenty to do and you’ll love every corner of Switzerland. Once you have discovered all there is to offer you will realise that it really is paradise on earth.

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