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When Uri meets Chi­na

February 6, 2019

"I could already speak English, so I decided to spend my exchange year after high school in China", explains Patrick Gisler.

This decision seems unusual because in addition to the new language and writing he had to learn a completely different mentality and culture. Patrick thinks back on his first days in China and admits: It was a great challenge! His host family barely spoke any English and the language class he attended alongside high school took place only once a week. When he realised that he was making very little progress, he took fate into his own hands and started a language school.

"Learning Chinese isn't just the new characters and pronunciation. The pitch of how you enunciate a word can decide what you just said. Fortunately, my teacher was very picky. If you have a good ear for music, you definitely have an advantage." He didn’t stay in China just for that year. Patrick Gisler is currently studying for his Master of International Business in Shanghai. When he goes out to eat lanzhou niurou mian noodle soup with his colleagues, he can now talk with them about everyday topics. But he always likes to come back to Switzerland. "What always strikes me first here is the peace and quiet. In Shanghai it's always loud, it's one of the biggest cities in the world. That's why everything here seems so small."

What the 24-year-old from Bürglen, Uri appreciates about Switzerland are the same things that fascinate Chinese tourists who visit here: the mountains, the panorama, the cleanliness, the polite people – and the beautiful sky! It seems so much closer here. The Chinese are travelling on their own more and more often these days – and learning to ski as they pass through the snow-covered Alps. "I am here for a month now, so of course it works out perfectly that I can take over the Chinese-speaking ski students at the Swiss Snowsports School Andermatt. Their joy – and also their surprise – is very great when they unexpectedly meet someone who speaks their language.

You can book ski lessons in Chinese with Patrick Gisler at the Swiss Snowsports School Andermatt until February 22.

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