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Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East

How to Stay Safe in Switzerland

When traveling out of the country, safety is always a concern. You don't have to worry about what you eat in Switzerland, because so much of the food is organic and/or carefully controlled for quality. You also don't have to take any additional shots to stay safe from possible diseases. You will, however, want to protect your belongings and your person in order to stay safe in Switzerland.

Carry your purse in front of your body, with the strap across your opposite shoulder. Men should keep wallets in their front pockets or in hand when on crowded public transportation. The major cities in Switzerland are home to a number of skilled pickpockets.

Cross the street at corners and always at the appropriate time. Drivers don't look for or expect people to cross the street between corners. Also, traffic police often ticket jaywalkers. The Swiss do not share our casual attitude about crossing the street, so expect to see large groups of pedestrians patiently waiting to cross, even when there isn't a single car in sight.

Dial 117 to get emergency help in Switzerland if you need an ambulance or police. Emergency operators speak English, German (the Swiss version, known as Schweizerdeutsch), Italian and French. In the southeast, operators will speak Romansh, as well.

Obey the drinking age in Switzerland. People 16 years old and older can consume beer. You must be 18 or older to consume all other alcoholic drinks.

Follow warning signs posted for your safety, particularly regarding "No Swim" areas. There could be a hydro-electric power plant upstream releasing huge amounts of water with no notice for people downstream.

Carry your ID card or passport with you at all times in Switzerland. People caught without proper ID are considered illegal immigrants by the police and can be taken into custody.

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