Twenty-five-year-old Funda Yilmaz was born in Switzerland, has lived there her whole life, works locally in a technical profession, speaks fluent Swiss German and is engaged to a Swiss.
Despite passing the written exam, after an interview with local councillors – an important step in the naturalization process in Switzerland, where the cantons and communes have more say than the federal government – Yilmaz was rejected in her canton of Aargau, because she wasn’t “sufficiently integrated,” reported the Aargauer Zeitung at the time.
Apparently, Yilmaz had not given satisfactory answers to a set of over 70 questions that the panel asked her, covering everything from her personal life to her job and her knowledge of Swiss mountains.
Since the transcript of her interview was made public by the magazine Schweizer Illustrierte last week, many have criticized the arbitrary nature of the questions, which the Tages Anzeiger called an “embarrassment”.
The transcript highlights the highly specific and often bizarre questions that Yilmaz faced, as she is quizzed about her health insurance model, her social life, how often she holidays in Switzerland and whether she likes hiking (she said no).
Since citizenship procedures vary between cantons, local residents’ councils do not all ask the same questions.
The Buchs transcript is an example of an arbitrary system that has previously seen an American professor turned down after 39 years in Switzerland because he didn’t know enough about his local region, a Dutch woman rejected because she complained about cow-bells and a Kosovan family turned down partly because of the clothes they wore.
“The fact that arbitrariness plays a role in today’s system is un-Swiss,” wrote the Tages Anzeiger, which called for changes to be made.
So would you pass? Test yourself by seeing if you could answer some of the questions that Yilmaz was asked.
Do you know the Swiss emergency numbers?
Have you been to the August 1st (Swiss National Day) celebration?
Do you know how your accident insurance works?
What would you do if you had a medical emergency?
Name some local recreation/sports clubs?
What public events are held in your town?
What would you say is typically Swiss?
Do you know any typical Swiss sports?
What museums does the local area offer?
Do you go on holiday within Switzerland?
How many language regions does Switzerland have?
What are the names of your local cinemas?
What do you know about the Alps?
Where is the Matterhorn?