American Expat Living in Switzerland - Interview with Melinda

Published: 3 Jun at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Switzerland
After realizing that maybe she missed out on living abroad while in college, Melinda and her husband Robert, vowed that if ever the opportunity arose to live in a country other than their own, the answer would most definitely have to be YES! Seven years later, now the mother of two incredible children, Melinda spends her time volunteering for a local non-profit, writing, reading, blogging, hiking, traveling, exploring and spending some sweaty time in the gym. Melinda's expat blog is called More 2 Explore (see listing here)

Embracing our new Swiss way of life!
Embracing our new Swiss way of life!

Here's the interview with Melinda...


Where are you originally from?
I was born in New Jersey, moved to Illinois, Texas, California, back to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and once again to Pennsylvania before moving to Switzerland. All of those moves happened before I was 30.

In which country and city are you living now?
I am currently living in Basel, Switzerland.

How long have you lived in Switzerland and how long are you planning to stay?
I have living in Basel for the past seven years and I plan to stay as long as possible. Life is a journey though, so who knows where this life will lead me. It is all one big adventure!

Take the risk and say YES!
Take the risk and say YES!
Why did you move to Switzerland and what do you do?
I moved to Basel with my husband when he took an international work assignment. I am currently a stay - at - home mom to our two incredible children, but enjoy many activities including: writing, blogging, reading, running, working out, traveling, and exploring.

Did you bring family with you?
At the time of our relocation, it was just my husband and our two cats. Since then, we have added two children to the family.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Honestly, I did my best to embrace life wholeheartedly. Initially, we were on a short - term assignment, so we threw ourselves into our new home, travel, work and life. After we realized our assignment had been extended, we felt a sense of relief, as there was still so much more we wanted to accomplish while living abroad. That is also how we started our blog
More 2 Explore.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
The short answer is, Basel is an incredibly easy place to live. The international community is vast and the ability to get involved is remarkable. Having that said, we have not made many friends with the locals, however, we hope that changes now that our oldest child is enrolled in the local school.

Zermatt
Zermatt
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Wow...brace yourself. There is so much to do in Basel. The city has done a remarkable job of preserving green space through botanical gardens and playgrounds for the children. There is plenty in the way of culture as well; from Fasnacht, to museums, to the festive markets. The city is small, but ideal for families. Switzerland also makes travel to the Alps and lakes a true joy. With so many diverse regions, and things to experience, one cannot help but feel giddy at the opportunities that await.

What do you enjoy most about living in Switzerland?
I adore the beauty of this small country and Basel's proximity to the Alps. The slower pace, the emphasis placed on work/life balance, the overall safety, the feeling that I have somehow, in a very small way stepped back in time. Nature is abundant, the ability to move easily from place to place without having to own a car and finally, the ability to embrace simple living. Switzerland is truly incredible.

How does the cost of living in Switzerland compare to home?
Living in Switzerland is not cheap, but the way I see it, is we get a great deal in return for the high cost of living.

Traveling with children is an incredible experience.
Traveling with children is an incredible experience.
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Switzerland?
We, like many others, miss our proximity to family and friends. We also struggle with the language, which makes integration all the harder.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Switzerland, what would it be?
Make decisions based on your life here, not on the premise that one day you will return home. You never know what the future holds and your life is now!

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
That our family and friends may not truly understand what our day - to - day life truly entails.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I envision our return home to be a fresh start, in a new State, to create a very new life for our family. We also want to embrace family and friends in ways that we had not previously been able to while living so far away.

Beautiful Basel.
Beautiful Basel.
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Say YES! Our international move has been one of the best decisions we have made as a couple. Though our life is not necessarily easier living abroad, our horizons have certainly been broadened and our experiences are incredibly rich.
  2. Live for now. I know this might be a bit redundant, but make your decisions based on your life in your new home country. Life may not go according to your plan and to miss out on your new experience would be a shame.
  3. Learn the language. They all say it, but boy is it true. Take an immersion class and learn the language. I would have been so much better off had I taken this advice the moment I arrived.
  4. Get involved. Whether it be a hiking club, parenting group, book club, meet other people and share your experiences. It helps to have others who know exactly what you are going through.
  5. Explore! What an incredible opportunity it is to live in a country other than your own. Make the most of the experience by traveling, exploring and making each new experience a great new adventure!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
We started More 2 Explore http://m2explore.wordpress.com/ as a way to document our experiences with Expat Life,exploration and travel. It has been a tremendous outlet for us, not only creatively, but also as a way to express our experiences with those who care to know what this life is truly like. We truly enjoy the blogging experience.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Please feel free to email us at: robertandmelinda@gmail.com

About the author

Expat Blog ListingMelinda is an American expat living in Switzerland. Blog description: Get Out & Go (by More2Explore)
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Comments » There are 2 comments

Vicki Szostek wrote 2 years ago:

Great, honest advice!! Hope you guys are doing well - we always say one year of ex-pat life was too short!!! Vicki

Rick Levy wrote 2 years ago:

Nice interview. I understand in some parts of Europe, the locals aren't very friendly to expats who settle there. Switzerland appears to be one such place?

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