What is it about this place

March 14, 2006

Ok, this is my second visit to Switzerland and I have to say it is quite difficult doing business here. It has a bit to do with a few things:
1.) I am american and everyone knows it.
Although this is certainly a factor, I don't think it is the most important. Switzerland is quite the "hodgepodge" of people. While I wouldn't consider it the same melting pot that we see in the US there is certainly a variety. For instance, the Web team here for IMD has 3 Italians, 1 Canadian, 1 French, 1 French – Swiss and 1 German -Swiss (yes german-swiss and french-swiss are two different types of people). So the fact that I am from another country is no big deal because everyone else is.
2.) The language
This certainly is a factor _outside_ of the workplace and while within the Web team you will hear at least 3 different languages at the same time communication at the business level (decision making, meetings) are all conducted in English. Almost everyone _knows_ english in all of the shops and restaurants they are certainly partial to French. And although I do feel this may attribute to some of the difficulties it is not the most important reason I find it difficult to be here.
3.) Communications in general
I feel so disconnected here. Besides the fact that I miss my family terribly, I am not _free_ to communicate as I would like. For instance, if you don't know the code to call the US is 001 + the number. Since I have not memorized that yet, making a call to the US takes longer then I am used to. Since I have to use a calling card, talking to my family is also difficult. Not to mention the time difference with the people I have grown accustumed to working with on a daily basis. And the kicker – it is costing me about 2.4 swiss francs per minute to be online. With the dollar and franc being so close ($120 US –> 123 Swiss Francs) it is very apparent that this is not what I am used to. I am used to being able to pick up the phone at any point and call anyone at anytime (cell phones are really expensive for US over here so that is not an option). I am used to opening a web browser and getting on the Internet at anytime I want. I think because I am so _connected_ in my life in the states, it becomes difficult to be _disconnected_.
Surely if I was here _disconnected_ with my friends and families it would be different. For now, I need to get through this week and hopefully find some high mountain to ride my snowboard down this weekend.


One Response to “What is it about this place”

  1. charle Says:


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