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Old 12.12.2011, 21:23
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Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

Hi guys living in Basel! :-)

Just wondering if its just me or not... Is there anyone out there who moved to Basel and doesnt feel right at all here? Been living here for 2 years now and I still dont feel home. Gotta stay though because I like my job and am not sure I could find the same anywhere else (and with the same salary)!

Dont feel like moving (again) either, would like to try and enjoy this city, but how? What could I do to start to like this city?! I speak French (mother tongue) and German fluently (work as a translator), but it doesnt help at all. Have tried sports and all, but people dont talk to each other and its kind of hard to integrate, as soon as they notice you dont speak Swiss German it's over.

Haved lived in several cities in France, Germany and in England, and have had this problem only in Switzerland (in Bern was not much better, but at least the city was nice and a lot of nature around)! Whats wrong here? Or is it just me?! :S Anyone else who has experienced the same?

Thanks for your comments and have a nice evening! ;-)

Mary
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:27
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

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Hi guys living in Basel! :-)

Just wondering if its just me or not... Is there anyone out there who moved to Basel and doesnt feel right at all here? Been living here for 2 years now and I still dont feel home. Gotta stay though because I like my job and am not sure I could find the same anywhere else (and with the same salary)!

Dont feel like moving (again) either, would like to try and enjoy this city, but how? What could I do to start to like this city?! I speak French (mother tongue) and German fluently (work as a translator), but it doesnt help at all. Have tried sports and all, but people dont talk to each other and its kind of hard to integrate, as soon as they notice you dont speak Swiss German it's over.

Haved lived in several cities in France, Germany and in England, and have had this problem only in Switzerland (in Bern was not much better, but at least the city was nice and a lot of nature around)! Whats wrong here? Or is it just me?! :S Anyone else who has experienced the same?

Thanks for your comments and have a nice evening! ;-)

Mary
Thats just Switzerland, think a lot of people have this problem

Try to go to the english speaking pubs like pickwicks and paddys. There you will meet people that speak english or people that want to speak english.

Im afraid the swiss are just who they are and many have different mentalities. You either need to live with it or decide whether you could ever be happy here. I luv em!
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:28
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

Have you tried a pub crawl? Nothing quite like getting drunk with other people to start feeling happy
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:29
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

HI Mary, have you tried joining in any of the events that get advertised on this site? With the mixture of nationalities, you are quite liekly to find someone to talk to. If you are into sport, you are welcome to come to the Basel Dragons Running club ( details via the event page) where there are twice weekly evening sessions for people of all abilities. OR Hash House Harriers. Or join a dance group. The Basel Scottish Dance club has a mixture of locals and various other nationalities. Or the curry club. Or take a look at the "Meetup" groups to see if any interest you. Or one of Just Roses pub crawls ( just trying to thinlk of variety for you.)
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:36
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

Thank you all for your kind replies! Another problem for me is also that Im pretty young (late twenties) and find it hard here meeting internationals about my age here! I dont mean that people over 50 are not interesting, its just that -of course- its nicer when you can hang out with people about your age!
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:38
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

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Have you tried a pub crawl? Nothing quite like getting drunk with other people to start feeling happy
Thanks for the advice, have tried this too but didnt work that well obviously.

Looking at your name, should I guess that you are not too happy either in Switzerland?
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:43
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

The suggestions Biff made all involve people of different ages. The Hash House Harriers are a fun bunch. Why not give them a go?

Cheers,
Nick

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Thank you all for your kind replies! Another problem for me is also that Im pretty young (late twenties) and find it hard here meeting internationals about my age here! I dont mean that people over 50 are not interesting, its just that -of course- its nicer when you can hang out with people about your age!
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:43
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

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Thanks for the advice, have tried this too but didnt work that well obviously.

Looking at your name, should I guess that you are not too happy either in Switzerland?
Yeah, pub crawls can also end adversely

Actually, I'm one of the (rare?) people who's very eager to move to Switzerland (the profile pic can give a hint why). Right now I'm north of the border so to say.
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:47
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

There are many social events in Basel and often I (early 30s) feel too old, not the other way around

then again, in your shoes I would move across the border. It must be easier to feel at home and find friends (amongst local people) in France, as French is your first language.
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Old 12.12.2011, 21:58
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

Hello Mary

Sorry to hear that you are not enjoying yourself, especially in these years which are supposed to be a lot of fun. Do try the running club: its a really good bunch and most are in their 20's & thirties. There are frequent evenings out and its not all about the running by any means.

I understand that nobody talks to you in the gym. The Swiss don't even appear to talk to each other, but, if you do venture a few words, even in English, its surprising how often people will talk back to you and be glad to do so. I am sure that you have got changed in the gym next to another person thinking the same thing as you so please do reach out.

If its any consolation, you're not alone. There are lots of us here and not just middle aged ones
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Old 12.12.2011, 22:00
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

one can always organize an event here for young-ish people
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Old 13.12.2011, 04:01
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

From your initial post, I find it a little hard to establish what exactly it is you are missing here. Everyone seems to conclude it is friends, but that might not be the issue?

I would advise you to look inwards, and specify what exactly is lacking for you to be happy(feel at home), and then go for it as best you can.

This will also allow more specific advertising here on EF, increasing the chance of finding a likeminded soul.

Best wishes.
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Old 13.12.2011, 08:49
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

ANother group of people mostly on your age group is the local Couchsurfing group. www.couchsurfing.org The Basel group meets every Monday evening and there are often opportunities for meeting with other groups (Freiburg is very active) on the weekends - anything from parties, coffee, to mountain trips. BOth CS and EF have groups who go to the climbing walls regularly as well. (I Know two foreign women who et their future husbands whilst climbing in Switzerland. :-)
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Old 13.12.2011, 09:05
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

Hey Mary,

I clearly understand what you're saying. You put it down well. Fortunately, in my 3 years in Zürich, I've made a few friends. All but one of them are foreigners! I met them in language school and at pubs. I'm still trying to make it to an EF event so that I can meet more people as I can relate to quite a few regardless of age gaps.

Switzerland is a bit different. Without trying to insult the locals, I feel Swiss Germans are more reserved than what I am used to. My wife, who is a 100% Zürcherin, also only has a few friends, all of them being childhood friends, no one new. People in Zürich hardly speak to each other, forget about speaking to us. Of course there are the exceptions...

My advice is to go for a few EF social events and meet some like minded people. Eventhough you're of a different age group, it's a start and better than sitting at home alone. What about people at work? No one you can socialize with? A local pub? Gym? Sports/Social activity? As a hotelier, I'm a really friendly and open person, yet I have struggled as well, it's normal.

You have one huge advantage and that is having a wonderful job that you enjoy ... keep smiling and everything will fall into place.

Why don't you try to make it to one of the Zürich EF events and increase the possibilities of expanding your circle. Best of luck.
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Old 13.12.2011, 09:07
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

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Is there anyone out there who moved to Basel and doesnt feel right at all here?

I speak French (mother tongue) and German fluently (work as a translator), but it doesnt help at all. Have tried sports and all, but people dont talk to each other and its kind of hard to integrate, as soon as they notice you dont speak Swiss German it's over.
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Try to go to the english speaking pubs like pickwicks and paddys. There you will meet people that speak english or people that want to speak english.
Tony - not being argumentative (I hope) but how do you get from "I don't feel quite at home here because I don't speak Swiss German and can't integrate" to "Go somewhere where they speak English".....

Not saying its a bad idea....I just don't quite get the logic
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Old 13.12.2011, 21:25
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

Hi! Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions!!

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Switzerland is a bit different. Without trying to insult the locals, I feel Swiss Germans are more reserved than what I am used to. My wife, who is a 100% Zürcherin, also only has a few friends, all of them being childhood friends, no one new. People in Zürich hardly speak to each other, forget about speaking to us. Of course there are the exceptions...
...Totally

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My advice is to go for a few EF social events and meet some like minded people. Eventhough you're of a different age group, it's a start and better than sitting at home alone. What about people at work? No one you can socialize with? A local pub? Gym? Sports/Social activity?
I have never been to an EF event but to quite a few from Glocals (another Internet website for expats), some of them were great but I have to say that most of them felt a bit wierd. It feels like you can see 10 times the same people and still the conversations remain superficial (this must be due to the fact that we are mostly in bigger groups) and -then again- most people were 40-45+

I have great colleagues, some of them my age and it happens sometimes that we do something together, but most of the time I and the others would prefer seeing people from outside of work -otherwise, sooner or later we start talking about work.

During the week Im mostly ok actually because I am often very tired after a hard working day, but the problem is more on week-ends. I have friends in Bern, but they all go back to France on the week-ends..SO not a chance to see them usually.

As for the local pubs, been many times -sometimes alone even- to the Cargo bar but i still find it super hard to socialise here in Switzerland. Its possible to have small talks with people but thats it. Also, its hard to find like minded people because Im not at all a party animal or someone who likes going to the disco. Im more into small concerts of some underground bands. I usually dont go watch big Holywood productions, I much prefer arthouse movies. So its hard to find people who also like this kind of activities! :-/ I became a member of the KultKino association, thought I could meet like minded people that way, but I was wrong! :-S Once there was a meet up and it was just impossible to talk to them, they noticed I was alone, but they also noticed I didnt speak Swiss German, which was quite a pain in the butt for them obvisously. Luckily, i dont mind going to the movies alone sometimes!

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You have one huge advantage and that is having a wonderful job that you enjoy ... keep smiling and everything will fall into place.
Yep, and this is actually the only thing that keeps me here!

Thanks again for all your suggestions!! I for sure keep them in mind!

Have a nice evening everyone! ;-)
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Old 14.12.2011, 03:03
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

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Thats just Switzerland, think a lot of people have this problem

Try to go to the english speaking pubs like pickwicks and paddys. There you will meet people that speak english or people that want to speak english.

Im afraid the swiss are just who they are and many have different mentalities. You either need to live with it or decide whether you could ever be happy here. I luv em!
Very good encouragement of integration...
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Old 14.12.2011, 08:54
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

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Tony - not being argumentative (I hope) but how do you get from "I don't feel quite at home here because I don't speak Swiss German and can't integrate" to "Go somewhere where they speak English".....

Not saying its a bad idea....I just don't quite get the logic
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Very good encouragement of integration...

Well, in Tony's defense, I think a big thing in being able to integrate someplace new is to find that place where you are comfortable first. I don't mean physical place, but place within... if that means making a few other non-integrated friends first and becoming more comfortable and confident day-to-day, then do it.

Then, hopefully you will find some like-minded spirits with whom you can collectively join in activities that may have otherwise seemed daunting (or felt like it would make you appear desperate or whatever to do alone) and take the next steps in integration - widening / joining a wider circle which includes folks from the area as well.


I too struggled for a long time because my husband didn't even keep in touch with childhood friends. He has one or two coworkers with whom he is friendly, but even they aren't exactly "friends" as I'd describe it.


Mary, I am not keen on art movies myself but my two downstairs neighbors are - they even work at a theater which shows the art and indie movies - AND they speak "perfect" English, happy enough to speak English with me too. So, maybe create an event here on the forum (or GLocals, or wherever) doing some theater or small / underground music venues and events. The people who sign up will likely become "regular" if you do it, and being there with people will help you feel (and more importantly from a social standpoint) appear comfortable, which will make you (appear) more approachable to others too.

Another thing to do is pay attention to when there are events here on EF which involve FOOD. Pretty much everyone eats at some point so no matter what else someone may be into, gathering over some grub puts some commonality into things. Since you're eating, there is less pressure to try and be witty and chatty with folks you dunno so well too. And, since you're eating (rather than going to a club), there is less pressure to look your absolute best, you can wear something "nice" rather than that outfit that looks great but only if you're standing constantly, so again, it puts a "comfort" factor into things. The "group" of Basel expats who gather from time to time over food has a few fair constants but otherwise changes, not everyone goes to every event, so the chances that you'll meet some with similar interests to yours at some point definitely exists.


I'd offer a bit more than advice if I could but, well, I'm already in that age group which you mentioned you're not so interested in hanging with () but my "likely to be social" meter is a bit erratic these days... I think I'm becoming a bit too much like my hubby.
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Old 14.12.2011, 09:26
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

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Just wondering if its just me or not... Is there anyone out there who moved to Basel and doesnt feel right at all here? Been living here for 2 years now and I still dont feel home. Gotta stay though because I like my job and am not sure I could find the same anywhere else (and with the same salary)!
Honestly: I felt the same for seven years in Zurich. Then I left. Glad I did and looking back: I do not regret living in Switzerland at all and might even come back once I am old and boring.

But you just have one life and I cannot spend it in a place that feels wrong just because I get some % more salary... which I will spend on equally more expensive goods.

Switzerland is a great country that offers a specific life style - you are not the only one who does not really think it is the right place to settle down, I would say the vast majority on this forum is not in the country for good.

@Caviarchips remark: Well, while I see what you want to say did I in fact do the same. If you cannot connect with the locals, have fun with the international crowd. And they happen to speak English...
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Old 14.12.2011, 09:37
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Re: Anyone who doesnt feel right in Basel?

I know how you feel, for me things changed quite a bit once I had a circle of friends and I have to be honest when I moved to Allschwil it felt a lot better as we are close to the city but we have a lot of green around us and peace and quiet! I would really recommend creating a network of friends there are a couple of expat groups for ladies in FB and a lot of activities organized also by the EF really!

Best wishes!
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