Meeting the expats in Zurich

August 29, 2013, No comments

Zürich AngelBeing a stranger in a strange land isn’t always easy, even if the land isn’t that strange. You have to adjust to new rules, new habits, new languages and new people, all of which can sometimes lead you to think ‘What am I doing here?’ Usually the answer is simply because it’s a wonderful chance to experience an amazing country; then you spend hours at the immigration office, or Alien Police as I like to translate Fremdenpolizei, and you end up screaming.

And that’s when meeting up with other expats comes into play. A chance to share the good and have a good-natured mutual moan about the bad. Or simply to speak to someone in your own language without thinking about the contexts you use; I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to explain Marmite to my Swiss friends after mentioning it in passing.

Switzerland has lots of expats so has lots of expat groups: Anglo-Swiss societies, British-Swiss business groups, American Women’s Clubs, British Residents’ Associations, etc, etc. I’ve spoken at many of them but recently I was invited to one group that I hadn’t come across before. InterNations. And I liked it so much I’m going back again next week.

InterNations is a global group that connects expats wherever they are living, from Swedes in Switzerland to Austrians in Australia and vice versa. In Switzerland there are ten groups, including the one in Zurich that is hosting me on 3 September. What I found interesting last time was that although English is the working language, there were people from a whole array of countries (many not with English as their first language), including Switzerland. So not just expats at all!

If you want to come along to the event in Zurich, the details are here but you have to be a member of InterNations, though it is free to join. If you can’t make it, then I am speaking at various other events soon which have nothing to do with InterNations and everything to do with Slow Train to Switzerland:

Events are also coming up in Lucerne, Zug, Zurich, Lausanne, Nyon, St Gallen, Lugano and, of course, London over the next few months. More details when they are confirmed. See you soon!

Zurich view

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