Even if you feel anxious, Swiss people always support you. 

“Hear one, understand ten” is an idiom which shows the Japanese approach to relationships. Japanese people prefer to communicate in indirect way. This idiom means that if the speakers say something, the listeners have to understand the other “nine” without wordy explanations. Listeners have to guess from non-verbal ways like tones or faces. Researchers have claimed that Japan is one of the most high-context cultures with indirect, subtle and nuanced languages. Why do we prefer this?

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Differences in awareness of personal appearance between Japan and Switzerland

I usually get up two hours before the schedule. Do I get up early to eat breakfast? No, I do not. I stand in front of the closet and stare at a lot of clothes. After I decide on clothes, makeup, and hair set are waiting. This goes without saying in Japan. But why? I have never thought about the reason because it was too much of a habit. When I came to Switzerland, I began to think about whether this “common practice” was commonplace.

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Cold and Hot

“I have a cold.” / “I have a stomachache.” / “I’m on my period.” / etc.

— “Drink some hot water!”

Conversations like these are always heard in China, because hot water is so common and it is somehow regarded as a panacea. We are used to bringing a vacuum cup everywhere we go, no matter what the weather or temperature. But here in Switzerland (also in other European countries), it’s as if many people were born not knowing that hot water is drinkable. Swiss people only use hot boiled water as a supplement to make coffee and tea, and if you don’t want tea or coffee at a friend’s house, the friend provides pure water or bubble water. They even let women who have just given birth drink cold water or eat ice cream. If we do so in China, we are definitely admonished by the elders.

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The differences

Life is like a box of chocolates, and you never know what you’re going to get. One year ago, I never thought that one day I would live and study in Bern, Switzerland.

Writing this blog, I recall the memory of the last couple of months and am trying to develop some interesting, shocking things that have become familiar to me. These memories may be forgotten over time, but they also remind me that there are still many aspects I have not yet gotten to discover.

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What is different from South Korea

When I first came to Switzerland, the first place where I felt cultural differences with South Korea was a restaurant. While Korean restaurants pursue more efficiency and run fast, there are some more cultural practices in Switzerland. In Korea, most people find their seats on their own when they enter the restaurant (except in certain places), and once they choose a menu, they call a waiter with a loud voice or ring a bell on the table to call a waiter and to place an order. Likewise, if you have any requests during your meal, you can reach the waiter like you did when you ordered. Also, when you finish the food, you can go to the counter directly to check out without waiting for the waiter to bring your receipt. Therefore, when I came to Switzerland a few years ago, I was unfamiliar with Swiss restaurant practices and unintentionally acted in ways that could seem rude in Switzerland.

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Checking your mailbox is like opening a blind box

It’s my third time visiting Switzerland. I was here during an around Europe trip 10 years ago with my mom, and attended a one-week winter study program at the University of Fribourg in 2019. However, a long stay in a new country is a totally different thing. You have to get used to distinct systems of payment, transportation, waste collection, insurance, etc. These have made my first month a bit messy, but thank God I’ve finally got all the necessary things in place by now.

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The price we have to pay for a convenient life in Taiwan 

I come from Taiwan. Taiwan is well-known for its convenient life and 宵夜文化(culture of eating food at mid-night). For example, there are convenience stores that open 24/7 around each corner. Supermarkets also open every day. What’s more, there are Taiwanese night market, where you can find a lot of stand food until midnight. 

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