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Swiss Citizenship: Tips for Preparation and Success

Updated: Mar 14

Over the years I have prepared many clients for the Swiss citizenship exam and Einbürgerung (naturalization) interview in German-speaking cantons in Switzerland. This article will guide you through the process and help ensure your success, with some valuable tips to help you prepare.


Photo:LeNews.ch

Language Proficiency

One of the key requirements for citizenship is proficiency in the official language of the canton in which you live. For German-speaking cantons the first step is to determine which level of German is required. I advise you to email the Gemeinde and ask. In Basel Stadt and Basel Land one of the main tasks of the Gemeinde is administering the Einbürgerung process.


Once you know the level that is required you must take a German test. Did you know that not all language tests are the same? Here’s my tip: Find a German test (Fide, Goethe, Telc, SDS) according to your strong points. (reading, writing, or listening and understanding).

Finding a tutor to help you through this process is also important. You want to be able to express yourself confidently and correctly not just for the German test but also for the citizenship interview.



Materials

Image: BK.admin.ch

In order to understand the political system better I recommend you order (for free) this brochure from the Bund in Switzerland Der Bund kurz erklärt. As their description explains, “'The Swiss Confederation - a brief guide' contains information about Switzerland's political system, the administration, and its judicial authorities. In addition to explaining the workings of the state, it also provides an insight into the activities of the Federal Administration.”

This brochure is available in German, English, Italian, French and Romansch. My tip is to read it first in the language you are most comfortable in, to better understand the content and then read it again in German.


There are also other helpful resources. I recommend the book Der Kleine Schweizermacher by Daniel Hurter, Urs Kernen, and Daniel V. Moser-Léchot. This book covers topics such as geography and history. After each chapter there is also a multiple choice test based on real questions from the Einbürgerungs-interview.


Courses

Did you know there are specific courses offered for Swiss citizenship preparation? The Bürgergemeinde Basel Stadt offers the Fit für Basel to help you learn more about the Basel area.  It even includes a city tour. Since there is a lot of interest in gaining Swiss citizenship at the moment, these courses can fill up quickly so try to book early..


While the course of the Gemeinde teaches facts and history, I also offer personalized Swiss citizenship preparation classes, where I focus on the language requirements needed in order to feel secure and confident answering questions in the Einbürgerungs-interview. I also cover topics including politics, history and culture and come up with a personalized approach that is engaging and interesting.

 

Integrating Into Swiss Culture

What is the best way to learn all these facts and figures? I recommend integrating it into your daily life. For example, one way to do this is to travel to different historic places Switzerland to see for yourself what you have read in books. This makes the history much more interesting and it will be much more authentic when you talk about this in your interview.


Another great way to do this is to join a local club or Verein.  There are Veriene in Basel for just about everything from sports to music groups and more, and it is a great way to learn about different Swiss traditions, while at the same time meeting Swiss people and socializing in German.


Practice, Practice, Practice

Everyone has unique needs and learning styles. Applying for citizenship is a significant step, and you must remember to give yourself time to prepare.  You need to be prepared not only for a written exam, but also for the in-person and telephone interviews. My tip here is to find a specilist to simulate the interview scenarios to help you feel confident and well-prepared on the big day.


With the right guidance, this process can be a smooth and successful journey.  Contact me today to learn more about my services and how I can assist you in achieving your goals.


Sources

German Tests in Switzerland


Brochure


Books

Der Kleine Schweizermacher, Urs Kernen, Daniel V. Moser-Léchot, Daniel Hurter

The German Grammar Guide, Heike Reinhart 

The Helping HandBuch, Heike Reinhart 


Course


Heike Reinhart

Photo: Amanda Hilfer

Heike the GermanLanguageSpecialist. She truly believes that German does not have to be a hard language to learn. Her personalized approach builds up student confidence and accelerates the learning process by focusing on what really matters for students to reach their goals. Her mission is to help you learn how to show off with what you already now.

Heike provides German test preparation (Goethe, Telc, Fide, SDS) allowing her clients to quickly and successfully obtain Swiss visas and citizenship. She is the author of two German-language books: The German Grammar Guide (GGG), and The Helping HandBuch (HHH). 
 Heike is German and has lived and worked in the US a long time.  She knows how hard it is to learn another language but also how much fun it can be. Heike is based in Basel, Switzerland and is the founder and president of her company.


Contact

Facebook: Heike Reinhart





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