Switzerland has the picturesque beauty only seen in films pertaining to magic with loads of adventure. The setting makes you long to run outside and roam freely for hours without the worry of getting lost or becoming bored. There are always interesting things to see and numerous places to clear your mind.
When I first arrived in Schaffhausen, I was very eager to meet people from all different backgrounds and widen my perspectives. This was of course achieved with the broad spectrum of people located here, in Schaffhausen. Everyone has an interesting story on how they ended up in this city and other places they were before coming here. Although not being able to speak German, much less being fluent in Swiss German, most if not all the locals have a good degree of English, making communication with them a breeze.
From Jamaica, I joined the friendly community of ISSH in 2020 where I was able to make international and local friends, each having an active involvement in the cosmopolitan student crowd. This made building relationships easy as I too love getting out and taking part in fun activities with groups and I was assisted in doing so with my friends.
Although accustomed to the loud, warm and exciting nature of the Jamaican culture, I do love and appreciate the sense of peace and community from the Swiss culture. The locals here are always willing to help, whether that be by offering logistic directions or recommendations regarding where to shop. They are calm and believe in helping to lift up members involved in their community, locals and even expats. This especially makes transitioning here easier than other places.
Coming from a warm island and wearing shorts all year round to a country with temperatures as low as -8°C was definitely one of the biggest shocks for me. I have never experienced such prolonged cold temperatures. My first few days included me running inside at 5 pm as what followed felt like the temperature falling by 10° by the hour. Once, I even used my socks as mittens after completely underestimating the weather before arriving here. The cold Swiss winters can be challenging for my mental state, as I am the type of person to thrive under the sun. However, in the summer, there is nothing nicer than a cold splash in the Rhine on a warm day.
Public Transport is almost perfect in Switzerland. Trains and buses are always on time, which would, of course, suck for tardier people but when you need to go where you need to go, the Swiss transport system has your back. Train rides in the country are also breathtaking, taking you across the most scenic landscapes whether it be rivers, mountains, fields, or near farms, it has your jaw touching the floor.
The cost of living in Switzerland is most definitely a pain and I think I speak for everyone. For some places, a bottle of water is for 5 CHF and the cost to watch a movie goes for 17 CHF, like what :0 ? I was always used to buying at fast food shops in Jamaica with great satisfaction for as low as 3 CHF, however, I was shocked at the level of satisfaction my friends here received at Mcdonald’s for a burger costing as much as 8 CHF. It was extremely funny to me to hear other people saying how they escape these high costs by running across the German border to get all that they need at a cheaper price. Nonetheless, the quality of goods produced in Switzerland is great and the sanitation services of Schaffhausen too, seeing that there is a whole unit of a truck that goes around just to clean a sidewalk with one leaf on it.
Switzerland has a laid-back vibe to her, with a tranquil and high quality of living. Expats coming here in Schaffhausen will surely love the international community when transitioning easily into this second home
Malik is 18 years old from Jamaica. He is one oft he ISSH boarding students and in Grade 12.