A recent article on Expatica.com mentions that Switzerland is often referred to as a police state. In fact, “Switzerland is thick with laws and even thicker with their enforcement, and crime is low compared to international standards.” This may sound comforting to most expats.
However, there also are rules about when to take a bath, rules about owning a dog, rules about mowing the lawn or washing a car on Sunday, unsporting speed limits, or how much meat you can import if shopping in the EU. These are all common topics that expats like to talk about around the dinner table, as if things were perfect back home.
To a large degree I would argue that as humans we are afraid of change or afraid of something foreign. It’s a basic defense mechanism when dealing with the unknown; we all like to feel comfortable in a familiar environment. But when we relocate, we suddenly long for it to be like it is back home, even with all the negative side of things.
As a U.S. Expat, life in Switzerland challenges many ingrained American habits. But, I chuckle and realize that all this is so trivial compared to how life in Switzerland seems so much more balanced than back home. As an American I could say that Swiss lifestyle grows on you. It is quite comforting to know that you can actually wind down on the weekends especially on a Sunday. Letting go of the American hustle and bustle is quite liberating and suddenly it opens you up to all kinds of new opportunities in life.
So to quote the saying, “When in Rome….. Do as the Romans do.” Or more appropriately, do as the Swiss do and don’t worry about mowing the lawn or washing your car on Sunday. Instead, let loose and enjoy a lovely Sunday hiking somewhere in the Alps or rambling in this beautiful country that we should be very fortunate to call home for a while.
For those of you moving or settling in Switzerland, here are some resources I found very useful. There are plenty of tips and links that will help you to discover more about life in Switzerland.
Xenophobe’s Guides: A life of Swiss regulation
The definition of an Expat (with amusing variations) as defined by the Urban Dictionary
The definition of a Xenophobe as defined Merriam Webster
Books on Swiss Culture:
- Xenophobe Guides
- The Xenophobe’s Guide to the Swiss
- Beyond Chocolate: Understanding Swiss Culture
More of our blogs on life in Switzerland:
- Challenges for American Expats in Switzerland
- Life in Switzerland: An American’s Point of View
- Dog Tax in Switzerland
See more on our Resources page
About US Tax Practice GmbH:
US Tax Practice offers U.S. tax services in Switzerland. It is the go-to tax preparation service and compliance practice for U.S. tax payers. Located in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, the company was founded by Patrick Evans, a U.S. tax accountant (CPA, CGMA) and U.S. citizen determined to work with his clients’ best interests in mind. US Tax Practice GmbH services include U.S. Income Tax Preparation, U.S. Tax Compliance, Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR), Tax Planning and Optimization, and Expatriation.