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Getting involved in the community

Women singing in a choir

There is a lot of emphasis in Switzerland on the integration of foreigners and their ability to speak a national language. The official aim of the country’s integration policy is to achieve mutual respect and tolerance between the Swiss and foreign populations.

The quickest route to economic integration is to be part of the workforce. But social and cultural integration may seem harder to achieve. Fortunately, there are many ways to get involved in Swiss society.

An animated guide How to make friends with a Swiss person

Misinformed stereotype or stark reality? Whichever way round it is, how to make friends with the Swiss is a topic for most expats.

Swiss communities are very well served by sports and leisure facilities, from playing fields and courts to swimming pools and sports halls. Apart from this physical infrastructure, there is a vast range of clubs and associations for every imaginable pastime.

Expats frequently complain that settling in and making friends is hard in Switzerland, but anyone looking to integrate in Swiss society should be able to find like-minded locals who share the same interests. This online platformexternal link of more than 57,000 sporting, cultural, hobby and charity groups is a good resource for finding a club by canton or theme.

The Swiss are willing joiners, with half of the population involved in at least one voluntary association. The Swiss are also very physically active: 70% of people practise a sport at least one a week.

The charitable organisation Migrawebexternal link is a good source for more information on numerous aspects of daily life, including family, insurance, taxes and mobility. Their information is available in 18 languages. 

The Federal Act on Foreign Nationals can be read hereexternal link.

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