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View Poll Results: What does your social circle look like?
Entirely ex-pats 3 8.57%
More ex-pats than Swiss 13 37.14%
About equal 5 14.29%
More Swiss than ex-pat 12 34.29%
Entirely Swiss 2 5.71%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 06.02.2012, 09:52
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Home away from home?

I'm reading a book about crossing cultures. It talks about the risk, and natural tendency to create a home away from home by only interacting with other ex-pats. So what I want to know is: What does your social circle look like in terms of proportion of other ex-pats to local Swiss?
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  #2  
Old 06.02.2012, 09:57
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Re: Home away from home?

Although I think the answer will vary depending on the length of a persons stay.

I suspect that someone here one year will have a completely different answer than someone here 20 years.
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Old 06.02.2012, 10:09
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Re: Home away from home?

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Although I think the answer will vary depending on the length of a persons stay.

I suspect that someone here one year will have a completely different answer than someone here 20 years.
Exactly. When do you stop being an "ex-patriotic"?

I would think after 2 years you are definitely no longer an ex-pat, you have learnt the language well enough to ask a native to explain how a giraffe looks and understand the answer. You have all your permits, a driving license, you belong to a club and generally can live without assistance. You might need to ask a specific question on the EF, but you are getting around OK.
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Old 06.02.2012, 10:17
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Re: Home away from home?

Good points. How you view yourself and others is personal, and will likely change with time. Though I wrote the poll with nationality or country of origin in mind (ie: ex-pat), people are free to interpret this as they will.

I'm curious what others think about this...does integrating make you less of an ex-pat?
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Old 06.02.2012, 10:26
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Re: Home away from home?

Most of my friends are Swiss (or dual Swiss/other), the rest are Italian.

However, with most of my Swiss friends I speak English, but only normally speak English at work with two people (a Rumantsch speaker, and a Luxemburger), and even then not always.

Tom
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Old 06.02.2012, 11:15
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Re: Home away from home?

I don't have a social circle..can you please add that option for me?
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Old 06.02.2012, 11:23
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Re: Home away from home?

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I don't have a social circle..can you please add that option for me?
Sure you do... this forum. I don't know how you have time to do anything else.
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Old 06.02.2012, 11:25
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Re: Home away from home?

Unless you live in and around ZH or BS (possibly NE and GE), and/or work in Finance or IT, ex-pat social contacts are limited.

I don't even know any other ex-pats - my choice (but have met a couple or so out-of-towners).

All of my friends/associates/contacts are Swissies.
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Old 06.02.2012, 11:25
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Re: Home away from home?

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Sure you do... this forum. I don't know how you have time to do anything else.
I'm a rare species my friend. Great multitasker and a man, go figure that out.
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  #10  
Old 06.02.2012, 15:04
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Re: Home away from home?

I think if my husband were more social, my social circle would be more balanced. He's friendly enough with his coworkers while working with them, but not interested in seeing the much out of work, and (contrary to stereotypes read here) cut his ties to old school friends long ago.

Most of the folks I've become friendly with are from this forum, so our (really, "my") circle is much more expat than Swiss.


This though isn't so different for me really, as I've tended to gravitate toward folks who are more or less "like me", even after I became an adult and made friends via work or shared interests, my friends tend to be either military / military background or moved around a lot themselves.
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Old 06.02.2012, 15:07
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Re: Home away from home?

Whoops---looks like I'm alone thus far with only ex-pat friends. I'm interested in how this poll develops.
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  #12  
Old 06.02.2012, 15:13
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Re: Home away from home?

In my case, my social circle consits of mostly Swiss people, but we speak English. Even if I wanted to make a point of learning Swiss German well, I think they would switch to English without thinking. It's just a habit, and I've been here too long to change it now.

Of course, I'll never speak good German
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Old 06.02.2012, 15:26
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Re: Home away from home?

More expats than Swiss at the moment, with a prevalence of Germans, Italians, and Brits. I've noticed that the Swiss (and the people in general, really) I tend to hang out with are those who have been "expats" at some point - lived abroad, travelled extensively, have a broad worldview.

Trying to up the Swiss percentage as my OH's friends are almost entirely Swiss.

On the other hand, I need to meet more Americans...my friend visiting over the weekend made me realize how much I miss some good discussions about football, baseball, American politics, the optimal texture of blueberry pancakes, and country music...
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Old 06.02.2012, 23:01
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Re: Home away from home?

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I've noticed that the Swiss (and the people in general, really) I tend to hang out with are those who have been "expats" at some point - lived abroad, travelled extensively, have a broad worldview.
Yes, pretty true of all my Swiss friends, except my wife, who has spent her entire life here (ok, with summers in Trieste), but even she has a certain world-view, having been married to a Vietnamese for 13 years.

Tom
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Old 06.02.2012, 23:36
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Re: Home away from home?

I am finding this question difficult to answer, because it is hard for me to think back to who is fully Swiss that I know here, versus someone who is French but married to a Swiss person and has lived here for 15 years, or another who was born in Germany but schooled in Switzerland and has lived both places back and forth...

So on the Swiss/ex-pat continuum, I think most of my friends who I think of as fairly Swiss are mostly only somewhat Swiss with other influences. My other friends are predominantly originally from various Western European countries but have lived here ages, and hanging out with them doesn't feel like I'm in the States, either. Every one is so international over here that it isn't that simple to say who is from where.

So, in sum, I guess I just don't know many people who are distinctly Swiss or distinctly ex-pat.
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Old 07.02.2012, 00:38
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Re: Home away from home?

I find it interesting that people are frequently grouped as either "Swiss" ( or "local") or as "Ex-pat, as if Ex-pat is all one country/culture. I tend to think of my friends and contacts as being "mutual interests" and/or "International." I think that is the case for many here - that "expat" is not one tight group from just one country. So for most of us here, the fact that we don't have many Swiss friends, does not mean that we are living a narrow life just with people from our own country of origin.

And what about the friends I have now, who just happen to live over a border? Do the French and German friends I have made, who live under 10 km from me, count as Locals, or as Ex-pats? Or am I just plain spending my time with Foreigners? :-)

Last edited by biff; 07.02.2012 at 08:48.
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Old 07.02.2012, 10:03
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Re: Home away from home?

I never really realized it, but most of my Swiss friends, are those who have been ex-pats themselves, or who are married to someone from another country (as others remarked). I only really have one Swiss friend who is married to another Swiss and hasn't lived abroad, and while we get along well, we only hang out to practice speaking each other's language. I'm not really sure if she considers me a friend or not.

I'll share a quote from this book, as it is giving me a lot of food for thought:

"The born traveller -the man who is without prejudices, who sets out wanting to learn rather than to criticize, who is stimulated by oddity, who recognizes that every man is his brother, however strange and ludicrous he may be in dress and appearance - has always been comparatively rare." - Hugh & Pauline Massingham
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Old 07.02.2012, 10:49
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Re: Home away from home?

Our social circle is almost entirely ex.pat with the exceptions being a couple of Swiss husbands ( how did they get in here? )

and one Swiss bartender ( anyone in GE remember Heinz van A. ? )
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Old 07.02.2012, 11:18
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Re: Home away from home?

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I don't have a social circle..can you please add that option for me?
What about your posse of bikini clad LiB groupies?
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Old 07.02.2012, 11:27
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Re: Home away from home?

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What about your posse of bikini clad LiB groupies?
Yes, yes...but they're just like garnish, only to look at.
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