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FRASER COAST & AUSTRALIA SOMETIMES NEED TO LOOK AT OTHER COUNTRIES TO SEE HOW THEY DO THINGS-HOLLAND FOR ONE.

September 29th, 2013

THE NEDERLANDS DOES THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THE FRASER COAST

netherlands--geek eyeballs me

  • School finishes at midday on Wednesdays. This is so parents can spend more time with their kids, and many employers allow parents to go home at midday on Wednesdays.
  • Amsterdam really could not be less about prostitution and marijuana. They are small parts of the city that some tourists (and few locals) enjoy, but there’s so much more to Amsterdam than that!
  • Riding a bike is the primary means of transport for most people in cities, regardless of the “event” – going to a wedding (bride included!), dressed up, dressed down, wearing a suit, going to the beach, taking kids to school, moving house, going to work, shopping, having breakfast, talking on the phone, putting on makeup at the lights. Any time a person in LA might consider using a car, Dutchies will ride a bike. No one wears helmets.
  • On warm summer evenings, many people will eat on the street (or on their front steps), cos most homes do not have air-con, and the streets are generally lovely.
  • Parties often happen on open boats that motor around the canals (as opposed to, at someone’s home). They stop near public toilets every so often (and at bottle-shops, to stock up). I find it very weird seeing parties motor past our house, just like a party in someone’s living room… but on the water.
  • Many people leave their curtains open, so people walking down the street can see right into their home. It’s not uncommon to see people going about their lives, including moments that others might consider private, when looking thru windows. It’s considered impolite to look thru windows at these times, however.

AAAXXX

Henry Sapiecha

FLASHING BRIGHT BLUE LINE

EDUCATION VIEW IN SWITZERLAND RADICALLY DIFFERENT TO US IN AUSTRALIA

September 29th, 2013

SWITZERLAND’S VIEW ON APPRENTICESHIPS & UNIVERSITY

switzerland--money education pic

  • Universities in Switzerland are heavily subsidized. The tution fees would range between 1000 to 2000 USD per year. However, as Makiko Itoh writes correctly above, many people in Switzerland chose to do an apprenticeship rather than going to university. An apprenticeship consist of a 3 years professional education with 2-3 days per week of work and training on the job, and the remaining week by attending a professional school that provides job-specific but also general education (learning languages, math etc.). Interestingly many people favor professional over academic education as it is considered more safe to learn a “proper” profession first. After an apprenticeship one has still many options to advance his career. There are professional masters (e.g. master in bricklaying), but many also chose to attend a university after apprenticeship and therefore still go onto an academic career path. An apprenticeship is in no way a hinderance to advance your career in Switzerland, some of the country’s biggest firms have CEOs who started their career with an apprenticeship. Given that people usually start an apprenticeship by the age of 16 they still have enough time to chose among many options either professional or academic later on in life. However, a downside of doing an apprenticeship is that it is incompatible if you wish to do an international career and might not be recognized in other countries than Switzerland.
  • Switzerland has a very anti-elitist attitude and culture that stems from its protestant history and that has manifested in politics, education and society as a whole. This explains why many people do an apprenticeship instead of an academic education, in fact you almost have to feel guilty for taking an academic path and not having done a “proper” professional education in Switzerland. In politics the people do have direct control over most changes of the law (see Makiko Itoh‘s answer above) and government spending by voting on specific drafts and proposals. So the politicians themselves are really not that important (as they mostly just execute the people’s will) and people expect even ministers and the president (which is just a one year tenure with only symbolic duties) to be very modest in their behavior and appearance. Correspondingly, the ministers do not need bodyguards, they can mostly use the train instead of riding in fancy limousines. In fact I just saw one former minister and president of Switzerland at Zurich’s main railway station a few days ago. Similarly, a lot of Swiss people do not show very overtly if they are wealthy or not. You cannot tell if someone is wealthy by the way he dresses or what car he was driving. It would even be considered a bit frivolous to show that you are wealthy. This is actually where the Swiss banking secret  originally came from, though it is certainly used as a tax-evading opportunity in today’s times.

awred

Henry Sapiecha

FLASHING BRIGHT BLUE LINE