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Essential reading: Six articles to help explain life in Switzerland

Here we've gathered together some of the most popular and useful articles from recent weeks, which we think will help explain aspects of day-to-day life in Switzerland.

Essential reading: Six articles to help explain life in Switzerland
Photo: Gustavo/Depositphotos

We’ve put together a little extra reading featuring popular articles focused on living in Switzerland.


What percentage of people in Switzerland can speak three national languages fluently? How many native English speakers are there in the country? And what exactly is Romansh?

Here’s what you need to know about languages in Switzerland

File photo: Deposit Photos

Working in Switzerland

What are the positives and negatives of working in Switzerland and what should foreigners really concentrate on when it comes to finding that elusive job? Here, our readers explain.

We asked our readers to tell us what they love about working in Switzerland, what they find difficult and what their advice is for newcomers to the Swiss job market. 

What it’s really like working in Switzerland?

File photo: Deposit Photos

Cost of living

Switzerland is expensive: there’s no nice way to say it. But, like everywhere, it depends on where you live and what you do. Here the people at Studying in Switzerland provide a round-up of the sort of costs you can expect for everything from food to travel and insurance.

Everything you need to know about the cost of living in Switzerland

File photo: Deposit Photos

Swiss bureaucracy

From residence permits to health insurance cards, we look at the documents that every foreigner in Switzerland must be aware of.

Bureaucracy in Switzerland: Seven essential documents you need to know aboutSwiss bureaucracy: 7 essential documents you need to know about

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Cantons play a hugely important role in Swiss life and you will have to deal with cantonal authorities at some stage if you live in Switzerland. But what exactly do they do and what powers do they have?

EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland’s cantons are so powerfulExplained: Why Switzerland's cantons are so powerful

 File photo: Depositphotos


If you move to Switzerland, chances are you will need to take out compulsory basic health insurance within three months. There is no ‘free’ public healthcare in Switzerland and you will have to pay your compulsory premiums out of your own pocket.

From choosing a provider to options for supplementary private cover, The Local outlines the basics of health insurance in Switzerland.

What you need to know before you take out Swiss health insurance

What you need to know before you take out Swiss health insurance

File photo: Depositphotos

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How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

It's a very common experience to have to give out your phone number or email address in Switzerland, or take down the address of a website, so here's how to do this if you're in the French-speaking part of the country.

How to talk email, websites, social media and phone numbers in Swiss French

The correct names for punctuation marks used to be fairly low down on any French-learner’s list, but these days they are vital whenever you need to explain an email address, website or social media account.

Likewise if you want to talk about websites, or social media posts, there are some things that you need to know. 


Obviously punctuation points have their own names, and making sure you get the periods, dashes and underscores correct is vital to giving out account details. 

Full stop/period . point. Pronounced pwan, this is most commonly heard for Swiss websites or email addresses which end in. ch (pronounced pwan ce ash).

If you have a site that ends in .com you say ‘com’ as a word just as you would in English – pwan com.

At symbol @ Arobase – so for example the email address [email protected] would be jean pwan dupont arobas bluewin pwan ce ash.

Ampersand/and symbol & esperluette

Dash – tiret

Underscore _ tiret bas 

Forward slash / barre oblique

Upper case/capital lettersMajuscule (or lettre majuscule)

Lower caseminiscule

The following punctuation points are less common in email or web addresses, but worth knowing anyway:

Comma , virgule. In French a decimal point is indicated with a comma so two and a half would be 2,5 (deux virgule cinq)

Exclamation mark ! point d’exclamation – when you are writing in French you always leave a space between the final letter of the word and the exclamation mark – comme ça !

Question mark ? point d’interrogation – likewise, leave a space between the final character and a question mark 

Brackets/parentheses ( ) parenthèse

Quotation marks « » guillemets 


If you need to give your phone number out, the key thing to know is that Swiss-French people pair the numbers in a phone number when speaking.

So say your number is 079 345 6780, in French you would say zero septante-neuf, trois-cents quarante-cinq, soixante-sept, huitante (zero seventy-nine, three hundred forty-five, sixty-seven, eighty ).

Mobile numbers in Switzerland  begin with 079 or 078 (zero septante-neuf or zero septante-huit).

Social media

If you want to give out your Twitter or Instagram handle, the chances are you might need to know some punctuation terms as described above.

Otherwise the good news is that a lot of English-language social media terms are used in Switzerland too.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have the same names in Switzerland and have entered the language in other ways too, for example you might describe your dinner as très instagrammable – ie it’s photogenic and would look good on Instagram.

On Twitter you can suivre (follow), aimer (like) or retweet (take a wild guess). You’ll often hear the English words for these terms too, though pronounced with a French accent.

There is a French translation for hashtag – it’s dièse mot, but in reality hashtag is also very widely used.

Tech is one of those areas where new concepts come along so quickly that the English terms often get embedded into everyday use before the French-speakers can think up an alternative.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local