Dirk Baier, a researcher at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, surveyed foreigners living in Switzerland, as well as Swiss citizens both with and without an immigrant background, to see how they felt about cross-cultural relationships.
He found that 70 percent of participants in his study were tolerant of other cultures, but many would not marry a partner of a different nationality.
This finding is backed up by statistics showing that the number of cross-national marriages fell significantly in country over in recent years, particularly among foreigners born in Switzerland.
“Basically, they have an affinity for people of the same origin,” he noted.
Baier and his team asked respondents whether they thought people should marry only within their own culture and religion. Most foreigners agreed that they should, but only 11 percent of Swiss citizens who did not have an immigrant background.
“In our survey, we found that those who generally get on well with people from other ethnic groups are more likely to enter into a relationship across cultural borders”, Baier said.
Some groups, he added, isolate themselves more than others, particularly people from former Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.
“In traditional and conservative cultures, relationships are not just a private matter between the couple, but the family has a say too”, he said.