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?

Continue reading “Even if you feel anxious, Swiss people always support you. “

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.

Continue reading “Differences in awareness of personal appearance between Japan and Switzerland”

Australian Friendliness

I landed on the 6th of July in the early morning in Sydney at the Kingsford Smith International Airport. While still sitting in the plane, I was already experiencing some tenseness due to the declaration file that all passengers had to fill out before leaving the plane. Australia is known for its strict border control and therefore prohibits the import of a lot of items to protect its native flora and fauna. However, after I had filled in the declaration, I left the plane and went straight to the biosecurity control. After my passport and e-visa were checked, I took the chance to ask the border officer about my student visa, which I hadn’t received at that time. I was so scared that she would get angry at me as my parents had advised me to not ask them straight away about my visa. However, my fears were quickly put to rest. The lady took me to her office and first asked me about my travels and if I was ok because she had the impression that I was not doing that well, which definitely was the case. However, after our little chat she checked my student visa and informed me that it was still being processed but I that shouldn’t be worried about not receiving it. Then she wished me all the best and I was able to collect my suitcase and left the airport to get to my short-term accommodation. This was my first lucky encounter with an Australian, however, it was not to be the last one … 

Continue reading “Australian Friendliness”

Politics on campus during the election season

Since I have been raised in two cultures (Swiss and Québécois) and had already visited friends and family abroad many times, I haven’t experienced any real culture shock upon my arrival in Québec City. Until now, it has rather been a real pleasure to be immersed in the local culture for a longer period and to refresh my Québec French, which had gotten rather rusty during the last couple of years.

Continue reading “Politics on campus during the election season”

Should I stay or should I leave?

My exchange semester in Moscow has not been going like planned at all. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by the West have changed people’s daily lives once and for all. Even though the community of international students in Moscow is not affected by the war itself, the events do have an impact on their living situation. Therefore I, too, had to ask myself the following question: Am I staying or leaving? In the end I have decided to stay.

Continue reading “Should I stay or should I leave?”

Part of learning about a new culture…

…is going to unfamiliar places, handling uncomfortable situations, and embracing even the smallest details. Rather than researching ahead of time, I wanted to prepare myself for the unexpected. Learning things first-hand helps me better understand where ideas come from and how they fit in modern society. Exposing yourself to unfamiliar cultures can be overwhelming at times, but I believed more in the progress of adjusting and ultimately becoming familiar with cultural practices.

Continue reading “Part of learning about a new culture…”

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.

Continue reading “Cold and Hot”

Spanish Health System Adventures

Just three weeks into my semester abroad, I had to go to the hospital after suffering from sharp pain in my chest region. I called my doctor in Switzerland and he recommended I should go to the hospital emergency. There, I didn’t have to wait long and was able to do all the necessary examinations: An X-ray of my upper body, a blood test and an ECG. Shortly after that, I received some medication and was no longer in pain. Thinking I would be able to go home soon, I was waiting for the final results of the examinations. When the doctor entered with the results I could see on his face that I would not be able to go home soon.

Continue reading “Spanish Health System Adventures”

Discussions about Politics in Russia and Switzerland

What you will notice sooner or later when you are in Russia is that people avoid talking politics in public. I am used to people discussing politics in public spaces in Switzerland – for example, you can overhear a debate between two passengers about the current polling on the train, political topics are discussed and dealt with at university or high schools, or people actively exchange views on social media. In Switzerland, I feel comfortable expressing my opinion in public and it doesn’t bother me much if passers-by catch parts of the conversation. Depending on the milieu, I defend my political views more vehemently or try not to stir up conflicts and therefore choose my words more carefully.

Continue reading “Discussions about Politics in Russia and Switzerland”

From Winter Wonderland to the Desert

The semester in Canada starts in January and finishes by the end of April. Therefore, my exchange semester in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is already over. I finished all my assignments and packed my stuff. It was hard to say goodbye to all the people I met here, but at the same time I was very excited for what was to come! I flew to Denver in the US where I met my brother for an eight-week road trip on the Westcoast. 

Continue reading “From Winter Wonderland to the Desert”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑