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Old 20.05.2006, 14:13
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Re: Why I HATE Switzerland.

Hi Gurutalon

One thing I have always been told is that in a situation like yours, it would be good to do volunteer work. Why? Because while you looking for other things, you need to occupy your mind, and equally important, you need a network of people, both local and people who might be aware of jobs that require a very good command of English.

There are lots of organisations that are run by Swiss as well as expats, which could thus provide you with such a network. They tend to be family orientated too, so you could take your daughter and wife to events, which again provides more possibilities to get to know people.

One example in Bern is the International club of Berne. They seem really friendly and have both Swiss and foreigners. I am sure they could use help in organising things and if you explain your situation, they probably wave the first year of membership (which is 45 CHF for a family I think). Otherwise, there are many clubs like these, perhaps also where you live.
And don't forget to think broadly. Think also of international organisations that may be based in Bern. I know Medecins sans Frontiers (doctors without borders) is not, but there might be other organisations that could use someone with excellent English. Don't forget, if you have a degree in Engl. Lit, your verbal and especially writing skills are marketable. Try to use this to your advantage and think of a niche where they could use you. (In my view, the level of English here among local professionals is not always up to standard, so you would think there is a need for someone with your skills, so like someone said, if you can simultaneously improve your spoken German, that should be enough to get started somewhere). As a sideline, it may also be useful to read the special section of one of those books on getting a job, where they explain how academics / graduates can summarize their skills into generic skills rather than specifics of their degree; as a Science PhD student I found this very useful as we have a huge range of skills but need to learn how to market them more).

If your wife works/studies at the uni, do you qualify as a partner for cheap language courses? Also, you could maybe setup a trade otherwise, get a local to teach you, and you teach them English, for free. The Cambridge Institute in Berne may be a good source of interested people. Or put up signs in supermarkets, Free English Tuition in exchange for... etc.

Lastly, but very importantly, if the walls close in on you, you need to get rid of all that adrenaline that stresses you out. It is most vital you get out of the house more. If it is one thing that helps feel less stressed, it is physical excercise. If you do not like running for example, find the swimming pool, they should have large discounts if you can say you are unemployed. It does not matter what you do, even if you temporarily have to pick up a sport you do not like, but you need to get rid of these stress hormones as they cause your frustration to build up, leading to things like anger. Trust me, I have been there and it does help tremendously.
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