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Hiking in the mountains. Saying "Grüezi" to perfect strangers. Exchange student Sif talks about cultural differences and some quirky Swiss traits she discovered.


Denmark is a very flat country so I am not used to hiking at all, but I have been hiking a lot since coming to Switzerland. Hiking with Swiss people can be a challenge, because they are used to hiking and I am not. Swiss people don’t take breaks on their hikes and they are very quick, but they know all the good places, so it is worth it. Supermarkets and stores are closed on Sundays, so it is a perfect day to hike and explore nature. And it is nice to walk around with the cows and hear the cow bells and eat a picnic at the end of the hike. A good tip before going hiking is to acquire a good pair of hiking shoes and NOT wearing jeans, but more comfy clothes, that will allow your body to breathe. Lastly, it is possible to get fresh mountain water during most hikes, so bring a water bottle and taste the cold delicious water.


In my country we are rarely formal neither towards people we know nor strangers however it is very different in Switzerland. Swiss people are very polite and formal - you even greet other people you meet on hikes. You greet them by saying “Grüezi”  and you even greet your cashier in the supermarket with “Grüezi”. Somehow by greeting everyone makes the culture more personal. Experiencing this has made me realize that you can seem more anonymous in Denmark because we just pass the other people without greeting them or even making eye contact. Another thing I have noticed while being in Switzerland is that Swiss people are always on time, and it is seen as very rude to be late. Finally, if you go to dinner remember to ask if you should bring something, and bring something even if they said no. So to sum up, greet everyone you meet, remember to be on time and always bring something for dinner!


I was in Chur from September till the end of January and the weather changed constantly, so if you don’t like the weather wait ten minutes and it might just have changed. One day it could be snowing and the next day I could walk around in a t-shirt and feel crazy hot.

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