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Old 30.11.2019, 18:48
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Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Hi everyone,

I recently got a job in Basel 8 months ago from London.
I spent majority of my time working throughout the week which is fine and what I expected. I donít do anything on weekends at all I donít even leave my house.
I was the same in the United Kingdom although I did have a few friends.
I struggle with a disability which not a lot of people even realise or know that I have but it makes making friends really hard for me.
I would like to be meeting more women here in switzerland Iím 23 it would be nice to meet someone I could spend time with.

I would like to meet more people who speak English who I can be friends with too.

I just donít know what to do I donít have much money. Online sites donít really do a lot for me. Iím quite lonely feel like Iím trapped in a situation which is not fixable.

The worst thing about moving to another country is being isolated.
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Old 30.11.2019, 19:14
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Winter can be quite difficult when youíre in a new country and havenít met people yet. Switzerland is a lovely place, and people are nice nevertheless they are truly and naturally reserved.
May I suggest something a bit different?
Go to Basel university and sign up as an external auditor so that you can attend classes that interest you.
Then, take a few classes either in the English department in literature or, attend a Master class in your field of interest (as many are in English).
This will both keep you busy and in touch / studying with young people your age.
There are all kinds of activities at uni.
I hope you feel better soon 🌸
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Old 30.11.2019, 19:18
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Oops.... noticed Iíve already said this to you.
Never mind the dotty olíwoman.
Hope you had a nice birthday 😊
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Old 30.11.2019, 19:21
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Hi again, Justin. You never did tell us what you did on your birthday or if you took up any ideas which were offered in your last two threads.
In fact, so far you only started three threads but didn't take part. A bit like "let's throw a ball, let's see what the kittens do with it".

Even on internet, you need to give a little to be noticed. 'Cause if you're not noticed, you won't become a friend.
So why not look around the forum to see, if there are subjects of interest to you. You might even be able to give someone some advice (they're asking from stuck toilet-flushing to cats pissing in all of a sudden to how to connect .... what ever they want to connect and so on. There's gotta be something you could lend a hand.
It will also keep you from going in circles in your head and before you know it you've passed a few hours laughing or learning about something new about this country you live in or maybe even have an appointment to have a beer or some event.

As the Swiss say: Nothing comes from nothing - so get that keyboard klicking.
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Old 30.11.2019, 19:25
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

If your disability makes you feel shy, speaking on the net may be easier.
EFers are a rowdy lot but also kind 😊
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Old 30.11.2019, 19:31
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Hi JustinTheExpat


Have a look at meetup.com, specifically all the groups in and around your location. I've checked, and there's underwater hockey, meditation, UX design and and and .....
And recommended www.meetup.com/Basel-Hash/ !!!
Find what fits your language, fitness, interests and let the life come to you.


Switzerland is famous for its outdoors, get outdoors.



ps. I met my OH while scuba diving !!!
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Old 01.12.2019, 00:21
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

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Go to Basel university and sign up as an external auditor so that you can attend classes that interest you.
Then, take a few classes either in the English department in literature or, attend a Master class in your field of interest (as many are in English).
This will both keep you busy and in touch / studying with young people your age.
There are all kinds of activities at uni.
That's an interesting idea. Are such courses also held in the evenings? I understood from Justin that he's at work all day Monday to Friday.
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Old 01.12.2019, 00:46
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

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I just donít know what to do I donít have much money.
Justin, do you mean not millions? Or are you working for such a small amount that you can't cover your basic needs of food, shelter and health insurance? Or are you perhaps paying too much rent relative to your salary?

Depending upon your disability, can you go for a walk, and can you ride a bicycle, or use trams and buses? I ask because once you're mobile, it can help to clear one's head just to get some air on the other side of the city.

If, indeed, you are mobility-impaired, there are services which may provide you with some sort of transport. Let us know if you'd like us to look that up for you, in German.

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Iím quite lonely feel like Iím trapped in a situation which is not fixable.
With regard to your disability: you and your doctors will know whether or not it is fixable. If it is, then that's the place to invest your energy.

Even if it is permanent, then it's always worth seeing whether there are other strategies to managing it. The strategies typically go in one of two directions, and sometimes a bit of both sides can be helpful.
  • Hiding the effects of the disability, compensating for the symptoms and impairments, learning ways to avoid situations which are tricky because of the disabilty.
    OR
  • Naming the issues clearly and honestly to oneself, coming out about them, and learning to tell people what it is that you need them to do differently.

Have a look at other aspects of your situation, that might be able to be changed, even if you cannot change the disability itself.

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Online sites donít really do a lot for me.
Fair enough, you don't have to spend your time online. Even so, you've taken the step of reaching out, here on this forum, and a number of people have heard you, and are interested in lending a hand.

One of the positive things about moving to a new country is that you can, at least to a certain extent, re-invent yourself. Are there things you used to dream of doing, that you've never yet pursued? Baking a fancy cake? Paragliding? Skiing? Visiting an art exhibition? Singing on a stage? Snorkelling? Growing a beard (or shaving it off)? Dancing salsa? Programming a robot? Building a table? Joining a games evening?

You could use online resources to find people in real life, who do those things.
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Old 01.12.2019, 00:49
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

I once heard a story of a man who moved here and, feeling lonely, who went to the local municipal office and asked for a list of all the clubs and societies in the area. Then, he contacted them, one by one. He said outright: "I don't have the first idea about your area of interest x, and I'm sorry, I don't speak much German. But I'm new to Switzerland, and I'd like to learn about how things are done here. May I please join you for one or two of your evenings, and would you be so kind as to show me what you do in your group?" They all said yes.

He spent one or two or even three evenings (until he was bored, or until the language-barrier got in the way) with them. Each time, they showed him what their club was about, and taught him the basic skills. Each time they met, he practiced another few words in German. By the time he'd worked his way through five or six clubs, he was able to hold a simple conversation. Sometimes he stayed with one club for a few months, before moving on, always thanking them for what he had learnt.

Fastforward, and four big advantages:
  • As he walked around his neighbourhood, more and more people greeted him, because they knew him from the club(s). Not from zero to fantastic friendships right away, but a general comforting sense that there were friendly faces out there. And that's less lonely.
  • His German improved because people appreciated his interest in them, and were happy to help him practice.
  • When he needed a service, (whether dentist or bicycle mechanic) he knew real, local people whom he could ask for a real recommendation.
  • Later, when he applied for Swiss citizenship, he had many people who wrote letters of approval.
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Old 01.12.2019, 00:56
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

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I once heard a story of a man who moved here and, feeling lonely, who went to the local municipal office and asked for a list of all the clubs and societies in the area. Then, he contacted them, one by one. He said outright: "I don't have the first idea about your area of interest x, and I'm sorry, I don't speak much German. But I'm new to Switzerland, and I'd like to learn about how things are done here. May I please join you for one or two of your evenings, and would you be so kind as to show me what you do in your group?" They all said yes.

He spent one or two or even three evenings (until he was bored, or until the language-barrier got in the way) with them. Each time, they showed him what their club was about, and taught him the basic skills. Each time they met, he practiced another few words in German. By the time he'd worked his way through five or six clubs, he was able to hold a simple conversation. Sometimes he stayed with one club for a few months, before moving on, always thanking them for what he had learnt.

Fastforward, and four big advantages:
  • As he walked around his neighbourhood, more and more people greeted him, because they knew him from the club(s). Not from zero to fantastic friendships right away, but a general comforting sense that there were friendly faces out there. And that's less lonely.
  • His German improved because people appreciated his interest in them, and were happy to help him practice.
  • When he needed a service, (whether dentist or bicycle mechanic) he knew real, local people whom he could ask for a real recommendation.
  • Later, when he applied for Swiss citizenship, he had many people who wrote letters of approval.
That's really brave...... I'd be frickin' terrified of doing that. Depends on your self-confidence level I guess!
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Old 01.12.2019, 01:05
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

I guess he figured he had nothing to lose. He didn't fake knowledge or even interest in the special area of interest or expertise of any of the clubs. He set himself free of that, and of the obligation to speak proper German, (or anything at all) right at the start.

Just think about something you're interested in, and how you and your co-interested persons would feel if a newcomer asked that of you. Whether you sing in a choir, or do figure ice-skating, or collect stamps, shoot bow and arrow, restore classic cars, make wooden sculptures, grow flowers, forage, fix bicycles, print 3D, or sew.... wouldn't you feel somehow respected and honoured, in any case pleased, if someone came along just wanting to understand what you as a group did and why it interested you? And wouldn't you welcome them? Probably.
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Old 01.12.2019, 07:50
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

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That's an interesting idea. Are such courses also held in the evenings? I understood from Justin that he's at work all day Monday to Friday.
Yes, in general there’s usually a seminar or two at around 18:00
Not sure for the Basel uni though.
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Old 01.12.2019, 18:38
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Hello Justin,
Do join a gym, man. Basefit in Basel is cheap (like 400Chf a year and your health insurance will pay some/most/ of it).

Don't sit at home on the weekends, mate. It's absolutely wonderful out there, at this time of the year. Chilly and its great to do a brisk walk around the city and look at the drunks while sipping a single malt from my hip-flask.

I cannot help you with the girls bit.

I'm male and double your age.
If you like, Ping me your number and you can come along with me for one of my weekend walks, and we can have a doner-box , on me, and I'll walk you around the sights. The streets are lit up with Xmas lights too. I usually get out at 9pm and then do a jog back home at 11pm. Early for you, I know.
But don't sit at home. It'll get you nowhere !!

Life really is good , if we make it !!
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Old 01.12.2019, 22:52
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

I have recently joined the Treffpunkt (community centre) for my district in Basel as there are a few activities going on in there and volunteers run a subsidised cafe where they do a cheap lunch menu a few times per week. I plan to join an English book reading group that meets there once a month. They only charge 35chf a year to join, I don't know where you are in Basel but the different districts all seem to have one so perhaps you can check this out.

I've also done something I said I never wanted to do which is join an ex-pat club (I get a bit out of my comfort zone with clubs but figure I have to find something to fill my time whilst my OH is out all day working, doubt I'd be able to find a job here as I'm 58 and don't speak enough German). It's Centrepoint up the hill at Lohnhof near Barfusserplatz and costs 95chf a year, with reduced price for students etc.

If you live in an apartment block that has different nationalities in it, sometimes it just helps to be able to say hello to neighbours. I gave up work as a small business partner to come here once we knew my OH was going to be staying on, so I know how difficult and lonely it can get, but it used to brighten my day if I even bumped into neighbours in the shared laundry room. Worst times for me initially were if my husband had to go away to attend a conference or to visit family in London as I'd be totally alone.

Hang in there, I'm sure you'll eventually find a niche. Also, look for anything you can do for free, there is lots going on in Basel. I have been here officially now for almost 4 years and I'm just feeling as if I'm starting to fit in properly, it all came together when we moved to a new flat in a smaller district which has a village feel to it.
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Old 01.12.2019, 23:07
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

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Hi everyone,

I recently got a job in Basel 8 months ago from London.
I spent majority of my time working throughout the week which is fine and what I expected. I donít do anything on weekends at all I donít even leave my house.
I was the same in the United Kingdom although I did have a few friends.
I struggle with a disability which not a lot of people even realise or know that I have but it makes making friends really hard for me.
I would like to be meeting more women here in switzerland Iím 23 it would be nice to meet someone I could spend time with.

I would like to meet more people who speak English who I can be friends with too.

I just donít know what to do I donít have much money. Online sites donít really do a lot for me. Iím quite lonely feel like Iím trapped in a situation which is not fixable.

The worst thing about moving to another country is being isolated.
You made a conscious choice to leave a country where you have friends and are making a conscious choice to stay at home all weekend. Even though you have provided hardly any detail about what your problems actually are, as you have relocated from London to Switzerland for work I am guessing you are not exactly financially destitute and are not physically incapable of leaving the house. At some point you are just going to have to do what everyone else with their own problems has to do which is to get your arse in gear and go out and meet people.
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Old 02.12.2019, 23:09
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

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You made a conscious choice to leave a country where you have friends and are making a conscious choice to stay at home all weekend. Even though you have provided hardly any detail about what your problems actually are, as you have relocated from London to Switzerland for work I am guessing you are not exactly financially destitute and are not physically incapable of leaving the house. At some point you are just going to have to do what everyone else with their own problems has to do which is to get your arse in gear and go out and meet people.
Tss tss..... people can suffer from sociophobia, or agoraphobia etc.
We never know what somebody may be feeling.
Come on, it doesnít take us much to be understanding.
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Old 02.12.2019, 23:25
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Hey Justin,
Your message is not too different from what I might be writing in February, to be honest.
I'm in London now, moving to Basel late Jan.
Male, significantly older than you and my family will join me in the summer if all goes well, however... You haven't mentioned your disability, perhaps we share it and I'll keep mine to myself.
So far I've been researching things I like doing (on my own), and looked for people that do those too (in groups). There's a number of things I'll try when I get there. Assuming work doesn't get in the way. But I know I'll struggle socially, and part of me is okay with that (it's not very good though).
So, long story short... if you're around in early Feb, I'm sure we can go do something somehwere in or near Basel, for an evening or two. Just ping me.
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Old 03.12.2019, 00:09
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Justin or OP has not replied but it seems in all his posts they are all a call for help. I also know personally family members with a physical disability which affects their ability to socialise, to be confident to go out. It is also harder when one is in a foreign country.
Even if OP does not update, i feel this thread has spoken to others here on EF - who can relate or can help. Makes up for the other rubbish threads floating around here.
It is the holiday season and many are possibly feeling lonely too. Switzerland can be a tough country to make friends but as one with previous experience (though now i am swiss) I say just reach out to other expats first, then try to join more clubs, join a gym, set up an event on EF even.

Good to read all the helpful advice already given above
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Old 03.12.2019, 08:53
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Life is what you make it and nothing else, it can be crap anyway, equally it can be good anywhere.


It is up to you to work it out !
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Old 03.12.2019, 09:09
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Re: Life in switzerland donít feel like Iím making the most of it

Today Only - you probably mean well but telling somebody who quite bravely and publicly owned up to a difficulty, that it is "up to him to work it out" probably doesn't help. CH isn't the warmest place for many, in terms of spontaneously meeting likeminded souls.

OP - we will have a board game event again in Feb. Watch the event calendar, it is a lot of fun and all languages are spoken. Even some obscure ones. Get a carte journaliere for the transport and come over to ZH to hang out a bit in museums or uni events in the morning and then Adliswil in the afternoon/eve to play games. People are sweet.
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Last edited by MusicChick; 03.12.2019 at 09:23.
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