Things That Are Normal In CH But Not in the US

#1 Drinking alcohol in public and happy hours (!)

While public drinking in Switzerland is legal it is definitely NOT OK to drink alcohol in public in the US. Switzerland has a legal purchase age of 16 for beer and wine and 18 for spirits. In the US the official drinking age is 21 years. In the state of Massachusetts there is even a happy hour ban: It went into effect in 1984.

The hours after work stopped being “happy’’ and became just “regular’’ after that as it prohibits bars and restaurants in Massachusetts from offering discounts on alcoholic beverages. Using words such as “free,’’ “discount,’’ “unlimited,’’ or “jumbo” in combination with drinks is strictly forbidden. Also, prices for drinks must remain the same throughout the calendar week, meaning all the time.

Dear Swiss/European reader, enjoy your next happy hour drinks and cheers to me, thanks. (Of course you don’t HAVE to but it’d be nice).

 #2 Respecting soccer

Football, football, football. Blah blah blah.

Especially with the New England Patriots recently having won the Super Bowl (and everyone going CRAYCRAY about it over here), everything sports-related always has something to do with football. They technically kind of know that there is something in Europe called soccer and girls/women actually are really good at it in the States, still soccer looses over football (they don’t know what they’re missing out on). It’s just not that relevant here.

We GET it, you’re happy. Let’s move on.

#3 Respecting public transportation

I am a bus and trains person. Of course not when it’s rush hour and everyone is passively aggressive and weird but when I have time and can listen to a podcast or music, I enjoy it. At least in Switzerland I did, where the public transportation system is really brilliant (don’t complain you spoilt Zurich people, it really is). I can tell as I have a way of comparing it to the American one now that I’m living here.

And let me tell you, the subway stations and trains look like they haven’t been touched since the 70s (the design and the colors give it away, all nice orangey and funky, unfortunately not in a cool way – in a falling apart/not nice way) and only students, people without a car (and me) take the bus.

If there is one that ever shows up. I have been standing at bus stops multiple of times waiting for more than 20 minutes for a bus to come (in the middle of the city and on a route that is very common, just saying I wasn’t in the countryside expecting a bus to pass every 3 minutes).

#4 Not always tipping

As mentioned in an earlier post, you HAVE to tip your waiter here, while a Swiss waiter won’t hate you (as much) if you don’t.

#5 Smoking in public

While you can smoke in public in Switzerland, I find that Americans smoke way way less. I rarely see people smoking when walking around. Actually never. I learned that it is even considered a little rude to walk in crowds with a lit cigarette.

Ha, there goes your daily dose of not so useful information. Still appreciate it a LOT that you’re here.

With me.

I appreciate you. Just wanted to let you know.

Now go and have the best Thursday ever, byeeeeee!


  1. peter zottl February 17, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Your blogs: fun to write & fun to read = just how it must be :-), love, Pop

  2. Amy | Food Etcaetera February 19, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    I am from Massongex, Valais (Wallis) and believe me, there is nothing brillant about the public transportation over there ! 🙂 🙂 (Although I definitely complain less about SBB since I moved to the US !)

    Salutation from a fellow expat Swiss citizen 🙂

    1. sandra.zottl - Site Author February 19, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Salut Amy, so nice to meet a fellow Swiss expat! You’re right it surely varies 🙂 Just checked out your site and love the photography. Also, as I will be heading to New York in April I will for sure have a read at the NY-related articles! A plus!

      1. Amy | Food Etcaetera February 20, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        Thanks Sandra! I bet you gonna love NY! Where are you from btw? (Didn’t find it here…. And I’m curious !)

        1. sandra.zottl - Site Author February 20, 2017 at 4:50 pm

          Hellooo Amy! I’m from Zurich originally!

  3. Melissa February 22, 2017 at 4:16 am

    You should take a little visit to Washington or NYC, where I can assure you happy hours are alive and well 🙂 I actually didn’t know that about Massachusetts! Thanks for sharing!


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