Iris from Enschede, Holland, reports from her exchange semester at the ZHAW School of Social Work in Zurich.

A common belief is, that people in Switzerland are efficient. So efficient, that before a train completely stops at a train station, the doors already open, so you can get in or out.  Efficiency is a quality that I appreciate but also envy. Therefore I can’t deny that I was pleased to catch the Swiss on a few «efficiency mistakes».

During the first weeks, I didn’t notice how many papers we got at school. That was until the moment when I found some of them all wrinkled and squeezed in the bottom of my bag. The rest I had already lost or thrown out. Quite annoyed, I tried to smooth them and organize them in an improvised «school folder». Since it does not fit in my bag, it unfortunately stays at home.

Iris genervt vor einem Berg von Blättern

What are the options here?

  • I could buy a bigger bag. But then the bag will be too heavy, especially when I’m going to travel back to Holland.
  • The other option would be not to receive so many papers in the first place. In the end, we do live in a digital era. Wouldn’t it be great if we could save some trees?

Another case of inefficiency is the amount of breaks we’re having during one school day. I was counting. It was 15:45h and we just had our fifth break of the day. Only 4 out of 22 people were really paying attention in class. The rest of the people were concentrating on different things: phones, laptops, chatting or laughing. I also caught myself not paying attention. All together, we have two hours (!) of breaks in one day from 8:30 till 16:30 o’clock.

Am I generalizing and prejudging? Oh yes! And it would not be fair to only do that with the Swiss 🙂 One of the prejudices about the Dutch people is that we like living without much expenses. We want to save every penny if possible.  If there is something for free, we are always in the front row.

A good example of small expenses: IKEA. I love IKEA. My boyfriend knows how to cheer me up when I’m not feeling great. We go to IKEA 🙂 In Holland, you can get breakfast for 1€ at IKEA together with free coffee and tea with your IKEA family card. They know how to attract Dutch people to their store.

You can imagine how hard it is for me as a Dutch student to be in Switzerland, where everything is so expensive. Therefore, I was extremely excited to find out about the «Migros Outlet». The problem is, that it is right in front of our school (so it is tempting to go there during every long break). But I don’t have enough space in my bag or at home to store everything. But I was not able to control myself when I saw all the cute Christmas stuff for 50-80% off. I bought a whole bag 🙂 .

This is my last blog post post. It was a pleasure for me to write the posts and I hope you enjoyed reading it! I wish everyone a great Christmas and a happy New Year!