Moving to Switzerland: Step 4

Learn the language

Premise: In Switzerland we speak German, French, Italian and Romansh, depending on the region. Of course you will find many people that speak at least a bit of English, but you cannot rely on them on a long term (since you want to integrate properly).

Before you start searching for an accommodation and a job you need to know in which part of Switzerland you want to live so that you can start studying on time the language spoken there.

Learning a language: Fortunately for you, German, French and Italian are very popular languages. You can find hundreds of YouTube videos, websites and apps, such as Duolingo, Babbel, LingQ, Italki, and many more. Before you come to Switzerland, you should be able to have a conversation in the language you are studying, so I would recommend you to target at least a B1 level (intermediate level).

What about Romansh? Romansh is spoken by a very small minority in the canton of Grisons (German: Graubünden, French: Grisons, Italian: Grigioni). Romansh native are able to speak German as well, so there is no need to learn Romansh. Of course, you are free to learn it and surprise your Swiss neighbors!

What about Swiss German? Differently than Swiss Italian dialect (e.g. Ticinese) which is usually spoken only in rural areas, Swiss German is almost seen as an own language and widely spread. It’s absolutely normal that the cashier at the supermarket, your boss at work or even your doctor approaches you in Swiss German. Many Swiss Germans are not used to speak High German. For this reason, it will be useful to understand Swiss German if you plan to spend your life in the German part of Switzerland. Two comments about this last sentence: First, I wrote “understand” and not “speak” because I made the experience that the majority of Swiss people are totally fine if you reply in High German (and yes, a Swiss German – High German conversation works really well!). Second, you should know High German at a very high level before you start learning Swiss German, since High German is still the written/formal and official language!

Conclusion: Learning one (or more) Swiss language(s) takes a lot of time but, no doubt, will help you integrate in Switzerland. The higher your level the better, so before you jump to the next step, make a plan on how to learn your Swiss language(s) of choice!

Go to the next step: Save money

Gerdaknows is not a legal counselor and does not take any responsibilities about the correctness and completeness of the information. Gerdaknows does not tolerate racism, sexism, insults, mobbing, etc..

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