Transitioning to a New Home: What Swiss Expats Miss Most

Being away from home can be a difficult and trying experience. Not only do you have to deal with acquiring accommodations and amenities in a new location, but also the culture shock of living in another country. For many people, this causes stress which has been linked to mental health problems like depression and anxiety. A person may become overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness or isolation as they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings.

The key for those suffering from mental distress is finding a way to cope with the changes; it’s about pushing through the tough transition period to find a balance. There are many simple
ways to achieve peace of mind and happiness abroad.

In this post, we’ll be discussing how a taste of home can help dispel feelings of anxiety or depression that can begin to take root when you’re living in a foreign country and some of the things Swiss expats yearn for most when overseas.

Adjusting to New Localities

Many people are under the impression that moving to a new country is like an extended vacation. However, despite the excitement over living in an entirely new setting, the adjustment can be very difficult. For example, unless you’re reasonably fluent in the local language or dialect when you arrive, it can often feel like you’re alone in a crowded room with no way to communicate with the people around you.

To ward off feelings of unease and isolation in a foreign land, it’s good to have little bits of home to settle the soul. Modern psychology refers to these as comfort objects or transitional objects — a term typically associated with children’s teddy bears or baby blankies, but equally applicable to any item that gives a person a sense of security during a time of transition or stress.

Importing & Connecting with Switzerland When Abroad

For Swiss expats, websites like are a godsend, because they allow them to easily access a number of Swiss favorites delivered straight from home. Many Swiss products are unique in that a good number of them are made entirely of locally sourced ingredients or materials.

The Scents and Tastes of Home

Though finding properly made favorites like Birchermüesli or Älplermagronen is tough to do while overseas, one easily found comfort food for Swiss expats is gourmet quality Swiss chocolates. There are numerous globally recognized Swiss chocolate brands that have been international favorites since World War II. This includes chocolates from Lindt, Callier, and Toblerone, just to name a few.

Another Swiss favorite that expats often get a hankering for is fondues. Fondues are much more than melted Swiss cheese mixed with wine, garlic and lemon juice; they’re often associated with precious time spent with loved ones and friends. Even the scent of a traditional fondue warming can be a great comfort in itself.

“Speaking Your Language”

When you’re in a foreign society, there are often social norms and etiquette that you’ll need to stay conscious of when interacting with locals. Being understood and easily understanding the perspective of others are aspects of socialization that many of us take for granted if we’ve lived in one country all our lives.

Aside from comfort from consumables, spending some time with other Swiss expats can be a nice change of pace. Each country has its own unique culture and mentality that develops in part due to location and historical events that shape their societies. Being able to relate to someone who knows many of your own places and topics of interest is something people can miss dearly if they’re entirely immersed in another culture.

Out of Reach

Unfortunately, there are a number of things that can’t as easily be packed into a box, shipped or accessed once you leave your native country. Below are some of the aspects of Swiss living that expats sometimes yearn for while abroad.

Moderately Continental Climate and Painting-Worthy Landscapes

Though Switzerland has four seasons, nearly 62% of the country is mountainous, giving residents access to a winter wonderland even during the summertime. Most of the populated areas are on the Mittelland, or “Central Plateau”, which is around 500 meters above sea level. Needless to say, the Swiss typically find altitude and minimal humidity more comfortable than tropical climates.

Switzerland is a small country that has embraced and protected the natural beauty surrounding it. Places like the Rhine Falls and the numerous picturesque lakes like Lake Zurich, Lake Brienz, and Lake Thun are just a train ride or two away for residents. The beauty of Switzerland’s topography is truly unique and no longer having such easy access to them can be quite tough for expats.

The Swiss Standard of Living

The high manufacturing standard that Switzerland is known for doesn’t just apply to their timepieces. Swiss residents enjoy one of the highest average annual salaries among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) listed countries.

High average salaries is why a country twice the size of Wales can maintain the low population of approximately eight million while having an annual GDP over one-fourth the amount of the entire United Kingdom. This all translates to lower population density, a higher standard of living, and a wide range of government programs as well as services for citizens.

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