Swiss and Chips - Your British guide to Switzerlandactive
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Jo Fahy, Simon Zryd
Your British guide to Switzerland: an audio podcast for Brits living in Switzerland and Swiss interested in Britain. Everything you need to know about finding a job in Switzerland, how to find an apartment in Bern, Geneva or Zurich, how to find friends and get to know Swiss culture, traditions and of course, learn the language.

We will try to answer your questions and give you personal insight into what it's like to move from London to Bern. This is not just a view from the outside looking in however, we will also bring you the Swiss perspective, from a "real" Swiss, born and bred in the Bernese Oberland.
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10 Episodes Available

Average duration:00:15:36

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For the first time on our show, we're answering questions from our listeners in the Facebook group "Switzerland for English speakers". If you'd like to join in the discussion, network with other English speakers interested in Switzerland and share your experiences, please feel free to join the group and say 'hello'!

This episode is all about Swiss German and high German. What is Swiss German? Do you need to learn it? And if so, where can you learn it and how. We look at the pros and cons compared to learning high German, and hear how it sounds.

Notes on this episode of Swiss and Chips: Your British Guide to Switzerland

- What is Swiss German and what is the difference to high German? - Can you move to Switzerland without knowing any Swiss German? - Once in Switzerland, what should you learn and what are the pros and cons of Swiss German vs. high German? - What is the best way to learn (Swiss) German? - We answer questions from our Facebook group

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You've found your way to Switzerland and started setting up a life here. Now it's time to try and get to know the locals, and what better way to do it than over some food? But where to begin? And how to go about it without committing any major faux-pas? There are some simple (unspoken) rules that will enable you to hit the spot. In this episode, we answer the most important questions and give you a glimpse into the Swiss way of thinking, so there will be no big surprises coming your way after the first course.

Notes on this episode of 'Your British Guide to Switzerland'

- First things first: How do you get invited to a Swiss person's home? - When should you arrive? What is considered too early, or too late? - What should you bring with you? - How do you say hello: hugs, kisses, a firm handshake? - What is the normal procedure after you get there? - What can you expect in terms of food? - How long should you stay? - Which topics of conversation should you avoid? - How can you follow up afterwards?

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What drives someone who's not particularly interested in the monarchy to watch a full royal wedding? We found out this weekend as we switched our TV over to the BBC and soaked up the atmosphere in Windsor for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, all from the safety of a Swiss chalet in the Bernese Alps.

Notes on this episode of your 'British guide to Switzerland' podcast

Who pays for a royal wedding? BBC's 'Reality Check' does a nice job of trying to break down the figures, albeit it without too much information at their disposal.

And while we're on the topic... how does the Queen afford all those new dresses?

Not everybody loves the Royal Family, and not everybody wanted to watch the wedding. Campaign group Republic launched a petition in advance of the big day to try and stop taxpayers' money being spent on the event. It had 32,000 signatures.

And something we didn't hear mentioned during the festivities, but which was covered in the UK press beforehand, was how the homeless were having their property, including sleeping bags, put into storage before the wedding, while royalists camped out on the streets overnight to secure a spot to watch the day's events.

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There a number of different types of tickets and railcards you can buy to travel around Switzerland whether you have just moved here, or you're only visiting. We run through the discounts available, where and how to buy tickets and how much you can expect it all to set you back.

  • The 'GA' - an annual pass for whole country: worth it if you‘re commuting or travelling a lot. CHF3860 per year / CHF340 in monthly installments.
  • The 'Halb Tax' - the half-fare card: enables you to buy tickets for half price. A one-off payment of CHF185 / CHF165 if you automatically renew.
  • You can buy weekly and monthly passes for specific routes, prices vary.
  • The Swiss Federal Railways, SBB, has an app where you can buy all train tickets. Also available in English.
  • Local transport companies have their own apps where you can find more options than in the SBB app for cheaper tickets for a specific route.
  • There are ticket machines at railway stations and most bus or tram stops.
  • Travel at a specific date and time and book in advance: you can get a cheaper 'saver' ticket for the train. Otherwise, the train ticket costs the same all the time, whether you buy your ticket weeks in advance or five minutes before you leave.
  • For visitors to Switzerland, it can be good value for money to buy an Interrail pass: CHF326 for 3 days travel in Switzerland within one month.
  • There are also a few varieties of the Swiss Travel Pass which although slightly cheaper, has to be used on consecutive days. Costs CHF225 for 3 days, for example. Includes free entry to many museums.
  • All of the above prices are second class. 
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The food people pack for a picnic would be similar all over Europe, right? Well, as it turns out, a Swiss picnic contains some very typical items, and they're quite different to what would be found in a British picnic basket.

Notes on this episode

  • Brits in a Swiss newspaper (for all the wrong reasons)
  • Renewing a British passport when you live in Switzerland
  • A typical Swiss picnic: what you need to pack
  • A visit to 'Schwarzwasserbrücke'
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We are in Italy for the week: first at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, and then Rome. In this episode we talk about why it's different to travel from Switzerland to neighbouring countries, than it is from England.

Notes on this episode

* What is it like to have Paris and Rome on your doorstep? * How often do Swiss travel and how easy is it to cross the border? * Is there a difference in the way Swiss and Brits travel? * What is 'shopping tourism' and why is it a big issue in Switzerland?

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Although Switzerland isn't a big country, it still has a number of airports and each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages. Looking for the perfect flight home can be like searching for the holy grail at first, but if you know some basics, it becomes pretty straightforward.

Notes on this episode

How can you find your perfect flight home? It's all about a combination of the below factors:

  • Price
  • Flight time
  • Airlines
  • Airport location and connections

What marks the different Swiss airports apart? We discuss the pros and cons of flying from Basel, Bern, Geneva or Zurich.

And don't forget, these are the basics of finding a cheap flight:

  • Book early
  • Compare flights using sites such as Skyscanner and have a look on the airlines' own websites too
  • Only take hand luggage
  • If you can, don't fly out Friday evening and return Sunday evening
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Most Swiss have an opinion about everything and everyone. And that includes the English. Although the first image that springs to mind when thinking of the English might be one of Brits abroad: the red faced, football shirt-wearing, beer can-waving lad that's a familiar sight in warmer countries during the summer months; on second thought, the English also have a reputation for being polite, respectful or even admirable.

In this episode we talk about some of the most commonly-held prejudices some Swiss have about the Brits and Jo has the chance to defend British culture.

Notes on this episode

Let's do this the Swiss way, by starting a critical conversation with some compliments and positive points:

  • Gentlemen and traditionalists
  • The Queen and James Bond
  • the British accent

Although the Swiss are generally respectful about the Brits, not all thoughts are positive:

  • British food
  • British weather
  • Red skin
  • The Brits and alcohol
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Chunky chips or skinny fries? And is there a place in any ham sandwich for a slice of gherkin and a bit of hard-boiled egg? There are some big differences between Swiss and British food, and the expectations on both sides. Jo and Simon talk about what they love and hate in both country's cuisines.

Notes on this episode

Send a message on WhatsApp: The best way to receive our podcast and get in touch is via WhatsApp. Save our phone number in your contacts, then send a message with your name, to: +41 78 915 39 59

  • Simon's first experience with Fish and Chips. Chips vs. skinny fries: the big cultural difference.
  • Nordsee from Nordsee.
  • The perfect sandwich from MS vs. Swiss sandwiches with gherkin, tomato and egg.
  • The full English breakfast and Swiss breakfast with Birchermüsli.
  • Jo's three favourite Swiss meals.
  • Chocolate in all varieties, eg. 5er + s'Weggli
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The first show is about Swiss surprises: expectations versus reality.

Notes on this episode

Send a message on WhatsApp: The best way to receive our podcast and get in touch is via WhatsApp. Save our phone number in your contacts, then send a message, with your name, to: +41 78 915 39 59

  • Jo talks about how she moved from England to Switzerland.
  • Jo's expectations of Switzerland and the (surprising) reality.
  • We discuss snow, toothpaste and obviously chocolate.
  • How to get a bank account in Switzerland.
  • Switzerland's four national languages.
  • Cash vs. card payment.
  • Children and how they get to school.
  • The 'bad' experiences when Jo first arrived in Switzerland.
  • Swiss timing: How late is 'late' in Switzerland.
About the difference
May 23, 2018 by simon

It is an entertaining podcast of a British journalist living in Switzerland and a Swiss, who gives a swiss view.

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