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Enter our competition to win a copy of The Expert Guide by Diccon Bewes, published by Bergli Books! If you haven't heard of Diccon Bewes before, then check out the many other books he has authored: Swiss Watching, Slow Train to Switzerland, Around Switzerland in 80 Maps, Le Suissologue, Der Schweizversteher; False Friends and How to be Swiss both published at Bergli Books. We wrote an article about Around Switzerland in 80 Maps in 2015 at this link

It was time to catch up with Diccon again and ask him about The Expert Guide,"I wanted the book to be fun as much as factual, so every page has a colour photo, information is in manageable chunks, there are lots of ideas for making the most of life here, and every expert has their own voice." Thanks to Bergli Books for offering one lucky knowitall.ch reader to win a copy, see below.

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?
I know from personal experience that it's hard to live in another country in a different language. There's so much to get your head around, and so little information available in English, that it can feel overwhelming. I was lucky because when I moved here 15 years ago, I could ask my Swiss boyfriend for help. Not everyone has that lifeline. That was my starting point for this book, making it as useful as possible for anyone living here already, just arrived or thinking of moving here. But I also wanted it to show that life here is wonderful so alongside all the practical information, it is packed with inspiration for travelling around Switzerland, enjoying your free time and making friends (which isn't always that easy here). A sort of work-life balance in one book.

Have you been working on this idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?
It was fairly recent as I've been busy with other projects. About two years ago, Richard Harvell, my editor at Bergli Books, asked me if I'd write a new book to help foreigners living here. I knew one was needed but I was about to go off on a five-month world trip so we put the idea on hold while I was travelling. By the time I came back, I'd realised that although I know Switzerland really well, I wasn't the right person to give in-depth advice on the likes of tax, visas, pensions or schools. My solution was to ask the experts, and suddenly we had a great concept for the book.


What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Finding the experts was easier than I anticipated but then getting them to write concisely for a non-expert audience was often a challenge. Distilling years of knowledge and experience into something that everyone can digest and understand isn't always easy, so I worked with each expert to achieve that. Rewriting, reformulating and reducing it down to the essential information, all the time making sure it was factually correct and as detailed and useful as possible.

Where do you see this book going? A series?
It's going to be the go-to book for anyone living here or moving here. But I think I'll stick to Switzerland. This sort of book only works if you really know a country inside out and can find the experts to help you with the detail. That only applies to Switzerland in my case.

What is your favorite part of the book and why?
Of the four chapters I wrote, my favourite is Swiss Facts because it gives the reader an essential overview of Swiss history, politics, clichés and (of course) facts. It's the kind of information that most Swiss people know (so expect you to know) but that's hard to find in such a concise form. Read this and you won't embarrass yourself by asking what Rütli is or how direct democracy works.

Of the other chapters, it has to be Health. We all must have health insurance (that's the law!) but how many of us understand it? Premium reductions, deductibles, supplementary insurance, house doctors, there's so much detail involved for something so basic. Working with comparis.ch on that chapter, I learned so much about a subject that affects all of us living here.


As a special gift, Bergli Books is offering 1 lucky knowitall.ch reader a copy of The Expert Guide by Diccon Bewes (Fr. 34.90 value). Just fill in this form and let us know: How many chapters did Diccon write?

Only one entry per email is allowed. The competition closes at midnight on Thursday, 15 October 2020. The names of all those submitting correct answers will be placed into the digital hat and the winner's name drawn at random on Friday, 16 October 2020. The winner will be notified by email and his/her name will be added to this article after the competition closes. Only valid for delivery to a Swiss address.

The Expert Guide
by Diccon Bewes

Bergli Books, an imprint of Schwabe Publishing
ISBN: 9783038690764
Fr. 34.90/copy



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