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Are you new to Geneva? We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland, and we polled our 500+ members – most of whom have been in your shoes before, be it one year ago or 40 – to ask them what advice they would give to someone new to Geneva. Here’s what they had to say:

swiss-6542“Always say “Bonjour” when you approach someone in a store or on the street to ask for help. No matter how polite you think you are being, it is considered highly impolite and aggressive to just launch into whatever it is that you are requesting. You may often be chastised or met with stony silence for not understanding this basic rule. In the office, it is bonjour, bonjour, bonjour to everybody you cross paths with when you arrive at work in the morning.”

“Make an effort to learn French. Even if you’re here for a limited period of time, even if you never master the language, mastering some basic phrases can go a long way toward putting you in the good graces of your Swiss neighbors.” Related: read our blog post on cheap French classes in Geneva here.

“I would tell someone new to Geneva to learn the public transportation system and take advantage of their discounts. We live in the city center and do not have a car, so we get everywhere we need to go using the buses and trams (TPG) or trains (SBB/CFF/FFS). My husband and I have the half-fare card through the SBB, which means a big discount on train tickets and a discount on bus tickets, too.” Related: read our blog post on the TPG here and read our blog post on Swiss train specials here.

“Join an expat group! There are lots of different groups in Geneva including the AIWC and the AIC. I’ve met some of my best friends through the local expat network and it made all the difference to me during my first years in Geneva.” Related: read our blog post on why you should join an international women’s group here.

What advice would you give to someone new to Geneva? Tell us!

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/