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What do Switzerland’s foreigners miss most during the pandemic?

New survey reveals which activities members of the international community are looking forward to most when life in Switzerland gets back to normal.

What do Switzerland’s foreigners miss most during the pandemic?
Expats miss travel most of all. Photo by NA FASSBENDER / AFP

Many people experience the so-called “pandemic blues” and foreigners in Switzerland are no different.

In fact, their feelings are often exacerbated by the isolation from their home countries. This is evident from a new survey, carried out by Glocals expat group. 

“On our social network, we perceived a feeling of frustration”, in particular concerning inability to see families, said Nir Ofek, one of the managers of Glocals.

“In this, their needs undoubtedly differ from those of the local population”.

Not surprisingly, the desire to resume travelling is the number one wish of 69 percent of respondents.

“Travel is not only linked to family contacts, but it also symbolises freedom”, Ofek said.

And there is also likely to be a rush on restaurants and bars, the survey found.

Some 43 percent of those surveyed said they will eat out the first week restaurants reopen, while 35 percent plan to do so in the first month.

Of those, 68 percent believe they will be safe there, even indoors, if social distances are maintained.

Overall, foreign respondents are not too optimistic that the pandemic will develop favourably. Sixty-three percent believe that new shutdowns will happen in the future. And 60 percent doubt that Switzerland will be able to vaccinate the majority of the adult population by the end of the summer.

Their outlook on the Swiss management of the pandemic is mixed. Only quarter of those polled rate it positively, a fifth find it poor, while more than half (52 percent) answer “so-so”.

Respondents also shared some of their experiences of living in Switzerland during the pandemic.

On a personal level, vast majority (86 percent) said they have missed social contact, experienced stress (66 percent) and decline in mental (61 percent) or physical (43 percent) health.

A fifth faced concerns about professional stability.

One person said that after she lost her job, “my residence permit expired and I had to leave Switzerland where I had lived for seven years and which had become my home.”

READ MORE: How do the Swiss really feel about foreigners?

What do you miss most about normal life – and what are you looking forward to the most when things return to normal. Get in touch at [email protected]

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For members


How has Storm Louis been affecting travel in Sweden?

Trains in and out of Gothenburg have suffered major delays, several bridges have been closed and drivers have been advised to stay at home. Here is how Storm Louis has affected traffic in Sweden.

How has Storm Louis been affecting travel in Sweden?


Trains in and out of Gothenburg station more or less ground to a halt between 8.30am and 11.30am, but began moving again around noon. 

According to Sweden’s national rail company SJ there are still delays and disruptions to services between Gothenburg and Stockholm, Gothenburg and Västerås, Gothenburg and Malmö, and Gothenburg and Karlstad. 

Västtrafik, which operates regional trains in western Sweden has cancelled several trains with other services facing significant delays. 

On the company’s website, they said services between Ed and Trollhättan, Strömstad and Gothenburg, Uddevalla and Varberg and Gothenburg to Lidköping and Örebro would all be cancelled, with replacement buses provided. 

The company recommended checking its To Go app, or looking at its travel planner website

Värmlandstrafik, which operates local transport in Värmland has cancelled services between Sunne and Torsby due to a tree on the line, with replacement buses provided. 


Ferries to islands such as Styrsö and Vrångö in the archipelago south of Gothenburg have been cancelled.  The Gullmarsleden ferry over to Lysekil was also cancelled, as was the chain ferry across to the Bolmsö in the middle of lake Bolmen.


The Tjörn Bridge to the island of Tjörn was closed on Friday morning and remained closed at 1.30pm. The Uddevalla Bridge across Sunninge sound was also closed, blocking the E6 motorway, but reopened around noon. 


Fallen trees have blocked roads such as the E18 between Knöstad och Valnäs, road 702 between Trossnäs and Bofasterud, road 62 between Tjörnheden and Olsäter, road 664 between Norsbron and Björkåsmotet and road 240 at Väse Kyrka.