🇨🇭 The original list I made was random, subjective and is maybe a bit offensive to anyone who actually knows the place. It was created as a fun game to see the ‘before and after perspective’ of a trip! You can find it here: Swiss Stereotypes List
On my list, Stereotype No.2 was that the Swiss are efficient.
Short answer: Yes! With almost no exceptions.
Who likes wasting precious time on something that could have been dealt with earlier (or even avoided altogether)?
The self-aware Swiss don’t want to spend time on actions that could have been avoided, especially if they are wasteful as far as time, energy and money goes. And this is why everything revolves around efficiency in Switzerland. From navigating transports, to managing your garbage!
Generally speaking though, people are just raised to lead a enviromentally friendly lifestyle, to use the SBB app (transport app) to check for delays on a route, to be overall practical in what they wear, what they eat, what they learn and the list could go on FOREVER…!
I initially did not like the fact that I had people confessing that ‘this is just how things are’, because it strips the action from the good-natured intention. BUT, they saved it when I realised that they would also recognise the practicality behind their actions. That showed me that even though it is their reality (and norm) to act the way that they do, they still possess critical thinking. They know for example that they would pick up trash from the street, not just because it’s the law, but because it keeps their city clean. This surprised me, because I hadn’t seen this before.
Most countries, I assume, lack this due to poverty, corruption, lack of quality in education (among other reasons). When you struggle to survive, the last thing on your mind is raising your head to talk back or have the energy to think on your feet.
I just realised that I haven’t mentioned any examples so far! Here are a few:
1) Many Swiss eat on trains, even during short transits. And I’m not talking about store bought food or sandwiches. I mean full on home cooked meals! There was this lady that caught my nose’s attention instantly, because her food was packed on herbs and spices! This is something super practical as a train ride from point A to point B is essentially dead time.
2) The fact that you get work experience before you even finish high school. As far as I’ve been told, the education system accommodates real life work experience as part of the curriculum, which is awesome! Even if you never go on with your studies, you’re ready for joining the work force.
3) The construction of the apartments I stayed in was extraordinary! I never stepped into a place that had a rug or a carpet and I never noticed any heating turned on apart from the bathroom’s heating. Once. For a little while. I noticed that they both had a parquet type flooring and that even though they were open plan and big spaces, I was never cold, unless a window was kept open for more than 15-20 minutes. I was so warm that I was actually walking around barefoot and wore tank tops!
To close, as I mentioned in my previous post, I did meet people that make up the exception to the above and this shows that every society is a spectrum of colorful individuals.
⚫ This opinion is based on my experience of an eleven-day trip to Switzerland and the people I happen to have met there so as an ‘outsider’ I can’t know for sure if the above is valid.
I went. I explored. Swiss efficiency: confirmed! xx
Check out Stereotypes on Switzerland (No.1) here.