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Intercultural Challenges
More intercultural challenges
HES-SO Valais Wallis
46.292885, 7.536425
Topic cultural differences

 There weren´t any awkward or real trouble situations during my stay in Switzerland but you could really experience the different cross-cultural elements in daily life. It was interesting to see how different Swiss people could act in some everyday situations as Finnish people would act.

In Switzerland people usually have a smaller personal space than in Finland. I noticed this when I arrived for my Erasmus semester here in Sierre, Switzerland.

When I first arrived here I met my school buddy, who was showing me around. We only had been in contact through social media, but she immediately greeted me with 3 cheek kisses. I read before my arrival that it is usual to greet friends with cheek kisses, but I did not except her to greet me with those kisses because we had never met before.

Today the Swiss way of greeting each other is normal for me, even if I am sometimes a bit slow to realise when someone wants to greet me with the kisses, but I just do not know always when to do it. Friends do not salute each other daily at school with the kisses. Then again some might greet each other with kisses in the evenings when they meet each other.


Another cultural difference which I noticed is that students in Switzerland spend a lot more time studying than Finnish students. The number of courses, that Swiss students have, is surely a reason for it but for me it was more or less a shock in the beginning.

I am used to meet my friends after school during the week and not only on the weekends but here in Sierre, students study mostly during the week and travel home on the weekends to meet their friends. First the other Erasmus students and I were a bit confused why no one wanted to go for a cup of coffee or to grab something to eat after school but after studying here now for 3 months, we understand it because we have neither time for it anymore. The amount to study here for the exams is more than we most Erasmus students are used to. You can even see students spending their Sunday evenings at the school’s study rooms.

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