No Place like Swiss. Make Your Move.

If you read my previous post about “The Best Country Brand” and FutureBrand’s latest Country Branded Index (CBI), why not consider a move to Switzerland? Remember, this country is geared around its people and their needs and aims to create an emotional and cohesive connection. Ultimately, my post displayed the branded identity that Switzerland brings to the table other than their authentic and resilient international Swiss exports. So, with new business opportunities and the Swiss image, how else can one market a country? In my opinion, a big part would be a game plan for what to expect with migration.

Additionally, I believe it’s inherent to recognize and understand what non-citizens have to go through. So, for the lists below, I encourage you to read through the list below so as to give a better perspective of the laundry list migrants must undergo to live in another country.

Swiss, switzerland, mountains, water, sea, blue, grassy

An aerial view from the foot of the Swiss Alps.

In order to migrate, I believe non-citizens must acknowledge how to actually transition from their rooted cultures to the land within the Swiss borders. Through articles prescribed by Expatica.com, a Swiss-driven news source, I discovered the best ways for non-natives to move to Switzerland.

The Top ‘Must Knows’ Before moving to Switzerland

1. New Licenses

If your license is foreign to Switzerland, the country still recognizes your native license and will allow most to drive for up to 12 months with their existing license. Also, the license must have been issued by a competent authority abroad. According to Expatica.com, it must be valid and have been acquired lawfully. Lastly, the owner must be old enough to hold a Swiss license in the same category (18 for cars).

swiss, license, switzerland
2. Physically Moving: Overseas Shipping
According to Expatica’s forum, “When moving to Switzerland, there are three possibilities: leave with noting, leave with something, or leave with everything.” More guidelines to consider follows:
  • Hire a relocation company, or prepare for a full-time job.
  • Apparently, not hiring a company to take care of your paperwork, moving to another country can become a full-time job. “If you want to do this on your own, get ready to spend several weeks calling companies for quotes and filling out paperwork for customs, port documents, insurance and more,” says one Expatica editor who moved her household belongings overseas by sea container.
  • You definitely need insurance. With the rare occurrence of a storm, insurance will cover the entire loss of the container for the arrangement.
Swiss, cargo, barge, water, Atlantic, storage
3. Electricity, phone, T.V., and Internet
When renting a house, utilities are usually excluded from the monthly rent. Apartments, however, commonly include heating and hot water in the rent.
To set up Internet or telephone services, make sure you provide a copy of a residence permit (or other photo ID) and be sure you’re ready for a one-time connection payment. The service can usually be installed within a few days.
Mobile phones can be paid with a one year to two year subscription or by prepaid card. Some providers have facilities for recharging the card at train ticket dispensers, the post office or ATMs.
prongs, electricity, chord, electric, power
The Swiss pay a TV tax and radio tax. The annual cost allows an unlimited access to t.v. and radio programs. Not paying may result in fines. Swiss regions have their own respected programs. For wider ranges of programs, check out monthly cable services that allow national and international channels. Also, satellite dishes are an option if you must have a specific channel selection.
4. Living outside your comfort
  • For many, seeking a mentor to stay informed is very effective to assist in career paths, and aid visibility within the company while away and when you return.
  • Create a ‘transition fund’ that allows you to use money toward unexpected costs during a transitionary period.
  • Expect values and beliefs to change. After any new experience in other countries, it’s sometimes difficult to come back to what one always knew.
  • Consider changes in relationships. Sometimes colleagues and friends may be envious of international experience and unsure of new differences.
5. Stay positive and be happy
  • Hold on to your positive and adventurous attitude. Though you’ll face challenges, it’s part of the experience. It’s important to remember the reasons one moved abroad in the first place.
  • According to the 2011 documentary “Happy” 50% of happiness stems from genetics, 10% from extrinsic value (income, socioeconomic status, class rank), and 40% from intentions to be happy. So, do something you haven’t done before. Skydive, ski, go canyoning. Or, do something you’ve never even heard of and play the sport that’s famous in Bern. It’s called Hornussen.
So you think you’ve got what it takes to live abroad? If you need a new environment, remember that this country aims for connectedness and strong bonds with its citizens. It’s not just the exports and Swiss Alps that make a name for Switzerland. At it’s core, it’s the interpersonal relationships that give this country a brand of its own.
What about you? Is there anything stopping you from dropping everything in the states and moving to an unknown territory to start over?
As said before, this list may not meet your current needs and desires. But, I believe it is important to spend 10 (or 10,000) miles in someone else’s shoes. Read thought the lists again. While doing this, think about others that you know that have studied abroad. Then, I encourage you to come up with ways that you can facilitate a transitionary period for a non-citizen.
So let’s be honest: The time to take advantage of these extraordinary opportunities –whether studying abroad or not — is now.

 

 

 

 

‘got Switzerland?’ Globally, It’s the Best Branded Country.

The Swiss Alps

Overlook view of the Alps.

There’s little doubt in my mind that you’d fall short of recognizing Toblerone chocolate packaged goods, a Swiss watch company, Wegner Swiss Army Knives, or Volvo automobiles. I bet you’ve even heard of the country Switzerland being a top brand in itself. Or have you? Yeah– neither had I.

Recent polls from Forbes Magazine have landed Switzerland “the best country brand globally.” Right off the bat, Forbes Staff writer Jacquelyn Smith stated Switzerland as “The Apple of the world.” For what it’s worth, a separate article by Forbes announced Steve Jobs’ most important products. Seems ironic to me!

Screenshot from Twitter handle @Forbes

Switzerland beat out two-time leader Canada by scoring high marks in CBI’s Value System dimension, including impressive scores in the political freedom, environmental friendliness and stable legal environment attributes.
What do you think? Should any nation truly be eligible to obtain a legitimate award for being “The Best”? I don’t think so.
Some Tweets from @Forbes Twitter handle revealed positive feedback from followers about the latest Swiss development. Following, yours truly had some beans to spill as well:
FutureBrand.com

But according to the Country Brand Index, Switzerland made its way past Canada within the past 24 hours! It seems like country ‘brandedness’ might actually be a legitimate system.

Tweets from the @FutureBrand Twitter homepage.

Tweets from the @FutureBrand Twitter homepage.

I’m still not fully convinced.

After scrolling through folds of pages, I was able to find qualifications every country must meet for first place status. According to FutureBrand.com, “the CBI ranks nations based on today’s global perception” across public policy, globalization, and media-related disciplines for the final ranking of 118 nations.

According to Forbes:

“This year’s CBI surveyed 3,600 international business and leisure travelers from 18 countries around the world, including the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico the UAE, India, South Africa, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Australia to find the best country brands.

The overall index score was determined by performance in 26 image attributes across five key association dimensions: Value System, Quality of Life, Good for Business, Heritage and Culture, and Tourism. This score is then combined with the performance in six other areas of brand strength (Awareness, Familiarity, Preference, Consideration, Decision/Visitation and Advocacy) to find the top 25 country brands.”

If you wonder how the ranking is obtained, FutureBrand.com says that this is based on the government’s ability to effectively implement policies that protect its people and goals, on the country’s financial commitment to its future vision based on investment in infrastructure, education, healthcare, communications technology and international partnerships, on human capital, growth, sustainability and influence.

So, once more information about FutureBrand.com’s award for Switzerland was milked dry, I felt it necessary to take a gander at Google Trends to find out more reaction from the latest Swiss news….

Google Trends

A screenshot of Google Trends revealing the Top-10 Swiss Trends being searched just hours after the CBI revealed statistics.

…and the Top-10 Trends didn’t seem to reveal much about Switzerland’s latest accomplishment. As I searched through each term or phrase, I landed on sites about Geneva, Zurich, Switzerland weather, and maps, all the way to the end for Swiss job searches.

After that, I utilized the ‘Rising’ trends and I still found nothing about the recent news of the “best brand globally.” I’ve had to keep in mind, though, that these trends can, and will change during any given time period. News always has potential to spread like wild fire, especially when more readers discover the Forbes.com article recently mentioned.

So, does one have the right to say that the Country Branded Indices are just a joke? Not so fast, my friend. Here’s why FutureBrand.com will presumably always swear by it:

“In today’s world, brands are a collection of perceptions around products, services, places and experiences, and how they’re marketed to audience groups to drive preference, purchase and ultimately advocacy,” says Daniel Rosentreter, Future Brand’s North American chief strategy officer.

What about America, you ask? What’s our ranking? FutureBrand.com ranked the U.S. No. 8 spot.

As many would probably agree, I believe America’s truths lie within our freedom, democracy, ambition, and individualism. That said, I also feel it’s apparent that our scores decreased due to the ‘Obama Effect’ and successive fiscal issues in both the United States and Europe. That said, our social and economic capital are beginning to lose its global audience.

And other countries suffered as well. According to New York Times Stewart Elliot, Italy and Spain descended a considerable amount due to the scrutiny of the euro zone crisis.

So how does one go ‘all-in’ and boost their national brand?

FutureBrand.com’s analysts reveal that brands are more than just the sum of its parts:

“From progressive politics to a sense of openness and freedom of speech, a country that is geared around its people and their needs will inevitably boost their brand image. This creates an emotional connection and ripple effect whereby others around the world will want to visit the country, do business with it and build their lives in a particular place.”

As a student seeking to grow within the creative industry, I also hold similar truths to general ideas for any brand. I believe that a brand is ultimately an identity. I believe all brands reflect a relationship, and either appreciate or negate more users. That said, after the 2012-2013 CBI, I think it’s safe to say that Switzerland has earned its fair share to be first place on FutureBrand.com’s analysis of this country’s awareness, familiarity, preference, consideration  advocacy, and active decisions to interact with this place.

 

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/10/24/switzerland-tops-ranking-of-25-best-country-brands/

http://www.futurebrand.com

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/nations-with-difficulties-flag-in-survey-of-brand-images/?smid=tw-share

The Alps: Just an Emotional Site.

Would you look at that? The Swiss Alps are certainly amazing. Go ahead. Stand and get lost in a gaze all day. “It’s one of the most remarkable sights I’ve ever seen,” said Megan Monsees.

An angle of the Swiss Alps from a tourist’s photo near Interlaken, Switzerland.

The Swiss Alps stand 5,577 feet above sea level and stretch across eight countries from Austria to Slovenia in Eastern Europe. Over four hundred years ago, African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided into each other creating the Alps.

But it’s not only the beauty and majestic view of the Alps that’s gaining attraction. For over nine years, engineers have been developing a new railway system tunneling through the mountain range.

“For the past nine years, an army of tunnelers has toiled deep in the hard granitic core of the mighty mountain range known as the Gotthard Massif, constructing the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel,” said National Geographic reporter Goff Smith.

The tunnel lasts 35 miles, and lasts four miles longer than the Channel Tunnel between France and England. Apparently, the tunnel also extends beyond the Japanese Tunnel, Seikan Tunnel, at 33.6 miles. The Gotthard will cut through a plethora of folds within the mountain range. According to the National Geographic reporter, “No one has ever tunneled so deep into a mountain, or to such transforming effect.”

Upon its opening in 2017, this new transit system will expedite traveling as speeds are seen to top out at 155 mph. At this speed, I wonder if the Alps will even exist? Departing from Zurich, the trains are to travel southward into Milan. Normally, traveling by plan lasts just about four hours. And now, expect two and a half hours.

But know this: “Beating out the airlines isn’t why the Swiss are spending $10 billion on the tunnel. They’re doing it to shift freight, and to curb the spiraling number of trucks clogging their highways and rumbling through their fragile alpine backyard.”

Now, trains can stack heavier loads and still travel more fast than before. The Gotthard tunnel alone will be able to handle 40 million tons of cargo a year.

According to the BBC, the new “project will take up to 300 trains each day underneath the Alps.”

But the Swiss and various engineers aren’t screeching their wheels to a hault after this project is finished. Once the 2020s roll around two other tunnels will be completed. “One tunnel will connect Lyon in France to Turin in Italy and another is due to replace the Brenner tunnel between Austria and Italy.”

Head of the Swiss Federal Transport Office, Pete Fueglistaler, said he’s very happy with what’s happening within the Alps’ region. “In Switzerland, we are not a very emotional people, but if we have the longest tunnel in the world that’s… very, very emotional.”

Do you think the emotions expressed by some of the Swiss leaders will echo the thoughts and hopes of those in the Swiss region? How well do you feel the Swiss economy will benefit from the expedited transportation through the mountains? Will they be even more efficient?

 

Canyoning: Experience the Challenge.

Canyoning. What does that even mean? To many it’s known as traveling in canyons using a handful of technique and skill that may include outdoor activities such as scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling, walking, and swimming. Canyoning allows teams to thoroughly explore a canyon through and through. And it’s an experience many don’t want to miss. In fact, 98.3% of the world’s population make take the plunge in Switzerland!

Due to the topographic geography, canyons that are ideal for this adventure are mostly cut into bedrock stone. These cuts form narrow gorges with many drops, beautiful sculpted walls, and amazing waterfalls. Most canyons are developed within limestone, sandstone, granite or basalt. Emphasis in the sport is mostly found with its aesthetics and fun instead of actual difficulty. A wide variety of canyoning routes are found all over the world and can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels.

Want to jump into it yet? If so, bring your equipment. You’ll need hefty ropes, climbing hardware, helmets, and wetsuits in order to stay warm. Though many canyoners have used and adapted climbing, hiking and river running gear over time, more and more specialized gear is inverted and manufactured as the sport popularity continues to increase.

Whether the time of year is summer or winter, in the snow, through the air, or on the ground Interlaken acts as the ideal playground for those in Central Switzerland. According to their website, “Outdoor-Interlaken” displays the region as a playground to Europe.

TourRadar.com, an online tour ranking system, named Interlaken the 2012 Most Amazing Day Tour. For many, it’s the best of the best. Interlaken takes canyoning to the next level.

This crevice in the earth allows teams lead by a guide to discover, challenge each other, and enjoy high rapids, big jumps and fast slides.

But before you take the plunge, make sure you know what you’re plunging into.

As with any extreme sporting, Canyoning can be very dangerous. Should a dangerous situation evolve, one may not have much an opportunity to climb out the sides, but to last until the end of the waterflow. Of the many hazards with canyoning one may experience high water flow as waterways become treacherous and require special roping techniques devised by most tour guides for safe travel. Flash flooding may also occur if large amounts of precipitation falls into drainage basins, especially those that drain large areas.

ally, hypothermia and hyperthermia may occur within the depths of frigid waters. The solution to avoid such problems is to wear a wetsuit. Wetsuits and drysuits can mitigate dangers to a large degree. “Look out below” especially for potholes. These holes are carved out by filling water at the bottom of a drop with courses and are circular pits often containing water too deep to stand in.

Narrow slots may also present dangers. Obstacles narrower than a human may also present a difficult situation. Failure to complete special maneuvering might result in being trapped within a canyon.

For those that might want to learn more about safely descending into canyons, there are several reputable organizations that offer classes to the public ranging from three to four skill sets.

The First level usually involves basic repelling  roping, navigation, identification of gear, and basic setups. The second level involves anchor building and strategies on how to descend various types of canyons. Third levels deal with rescue situations of one’s self and groups of people. Optional courses involve swift water training as well.

Ready for exhilaration? Despite safety measures, she’ll take the plunge.

Will you?

 

From the Top of Europe.

Switzerland. Interlaken. The Balmer’s Resort. The turn of the twentieth century exposed Europe to a variety of ambitious dreams. Much of the dreams resulted in war and divided nations. However, the country of Switzerland had other plans in mind, and in action. At least for Frida and Adolf Balmer.

The two began serving others as they housed family members and many friends passing through the area. Different from dominant forces invading much of Europe, the Balmers focus was service to Switzerland. “Touristenheim” –meaning tourist house—housed its first residents in 1907.

The now third generation family operation has housed thousands of residents seeking extreme thrills from the top of Europe to this day. Beginning in the 1950s, the Balmer family served British school groups visiting the Swiss Alps to hike and learn more about culture different from their own in England

“Touristenheim” now takes the name “Balmer’s Resort” and has grown from 50 rooms, to 350 rooms. With the help of the Balmer family, Interlaken continues to grow as a number one spot for European travel destinations.

Personally, many of my friends have had the opportunity to travel to Interlaken and shortly discover that it’s a place unlike any other traveling experience. Megan Monsees said, “Oh, it’s surely a place unlike any I’ve ever been to.” She said, if she could, she’d stay there forever. 

Balmer’s has more than just bunked beds and bathrooms. According to many that stay at the hostel, Balmer’s has a Biergarten and Restaurant for many to end their days as they exchange stories and watch the sun go down behind the Switzerland mountains in the distance. Yeah, that’s the Swiss Alps. Imagine that panoramic view as you chow down a burger and wash it down with one of the domestically brewed lagers.

After the sun goes down, I’ve heard one might want to stick around and commit to a night at the Metro Bar and Nightclub. The beats are deep. Apparently, visiting artists and DJs take the stage for tenants to unleash and socialize with each other. Is there any better way to spend a night in Interlaken? For many, including familiar faces I know, it’s an easy “No.”

Countless times they’ve dreamt of going back. Yeah, they went skiing, they bungee-jumped, and some went canyoning through the breaks in the mountains and valleys.

But the most accommodating and unforgettable experience has been the unanimous memory for many. And I feel it’s safe to say it stuck for many since the very beginning of the Balmer’s Resort.

According to close friends, the “Swiss Quality” isn’t remotely similar to domestic items that involve cliché-consuming practices. No, it’s not like the Swiss cheese, Swiss Army knives, or even Swiss Toblerone chocolate.

It’s “Swiss Quality”. And, apparently, it’s lasted for over 100 years sitting at the top of Europe.

And I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

Would you stay here?