As an expat in Ticino, Switzerland, here is our list of things you can do to help you fit into the Swiss culture and make the most of your experience. This is written based on our personal experience as Expats in Ticino since July 2022, where we have slowly fitted in as locals to this beautiful Swiss canton in the south.
Expat In Ticino: Our Tips!
Use social Media to Make Some Friends
Many cities like Ticino have active Facebook groups, Whatsapp groups and events where you can join and meet other locals. This of course is based on if you would be interested in making friends, which can be hard for some. But there are plenty of resources to try.
You can also meet people via other social media groups like Facebook and Instagram. If you start looking at the top hashtags for your canton and follow them, you’ll soon discover some friendly locals who share photos, tips and things to do. Many of them would happily share more as well as meet up if you reach out to them directly too!
In Ticino, theres are a few international Facebook groups (like Expat In Ticino) where they organize many events, such as:
- Hiking days
- Aperitief drinks
- Wellness events
- Board game nights
We personally also love meeting locals, for a walk, explorations, hiking, photography related and more. You can reach out to us here or via our social medias!
Be Open and Approachable
This one might be a little obvious, but we wanted to highlight it, as many who move abroad and become expats may also be a little shy in starting a new life with meeting new people. It’s always good to show genuine interest in getting to know the locals. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversations or accept invitations to social gatherings.
Try a local class
There are lots of classes that you can join in while living in Ticino, Switzerland. This is a great way to meet locals and expats while also learning something new.
For example, this could be a:
- Cooking classes
- Dancing classes
- Language classes
- Crafting and art classes
- Fitness / gym classes
- Photography classes
We can definitely recommend searching online and asking other locals for their class recommendations. It’s a great idea for those becoming an Expat In Ticino to feel at home.
We personally have also signed up for a local gym in Lugano and will be trying the group classes soon!
Respect Swiss customs and traditions
Familiarize yourself with the local customs and traditions of the Swiss canton.
This could be such as greeting people with a handshake, respecting personal space, and removing your shoes when entering someone’s home.
For us in Ticino, as you may know, there is a strong and active Italian culture here, such as with the language and Italian traditions that are enjoyed with the locals. So join in!
Also with customs, it is good to be aware of noise regulations and other social norms in Ticino. Most homes and shared apartments have a rule of no loud music, parties or doing DIY after 10pm on weekdays and none of these on Sundays.
Understand Swiss etiquette
Swiss people value politeness, privacy, and orderliness. It is always good to use formal greetings when meeting someone for the very first time, like in many other countries. It is also good to avoid discussing personal topics like finances or politics unless the conversation naturally leads to it.
Another to add here is about time. It is very respectable and actually normal to be on time to appointments and meetings in Switzerland, even in Ticino. For example, you may already know about how the Swiss trains are on time and hardly ever late either.
As well as mixing with locals, it is also good to follow Swiss etiquette with dining and overall processes, such as keeping public spaces clean and follow recycling guidelines. In Ticino, we recycle items like cardboard and paper, plastic, glass and then also batteries and clothing. We also use the ecocentre recycling location for bigger, bulky items too.
Below you can see our kitties helping with our cardboard recycling!
If possible, you could also look into volunteering work in Ticino. It’s a great way to not only spend time helping a local organisation with their workload, but you get to meet locals and others who are also volunteering.
We have yet to do this, due to having full time work, so we cannot share any local volunteering opportunities. However we have done volunteering in the past when we lived in the Netherlands and its always been very valuable and rewarding for them and for yourself. A win-win!
Explore The Canton!
Even though you’re an expat to start with, you can also slowly become a local if you know that you’ll be staying longer. So with that, spend your free time exploring! Whether that’s visiting the local funicular with a hike, trying a new sport (like skiing!) or trying some local restaurants.
Our site is full of activities we have personally enjoyed, visited and explored. Feel free to click around our top links about Ticino or Switzerland!
Some Of Our Top Posts For Ticino, Switzerland: