If you are wondering who is this lovely couple its actually one of our Jamaican neighbors here in Switzerland!
Stephanie Schwab and her husband Maurice Earle have migrated to Switzerland in 2017 and currently reside in Basel. We wished to offer you some insight on their experience in moving to a completely different country. Stephanie is answering our questions.
“My husband and I love Europe and Switzerland, and for some time we considered living somewhere new (after living in the U.S. for many years) and based on my Swiss citizenship (My paternal grandparents are actually Swiss. They moved to Jamaica when my father was very young for my grandfather’s work assignment. After the contract ended they continued to live in Jamaica and they never moved back to Switzerland), we decided to move here. That aside, we think Switzerland is such a great country, very organized, diplomatic, safe, with a high standard of living and we thought it would be a great place for new opportunities and to eventually raise a family here.”
How much did you know about Switzerland before emigrating to the country?
“I knew a lot of general information (from my family) – Basler Carnival, the many national languages (and dialects), government style, etc and then my husband and I visited twice before moving, experienced the transportation system and the weather (both so different to Jamaica) . Once we decided to move we did a lot of research into the education system, insurance, etc. so by the time we moved, we had a decent understanding of how the Swiss operate.”
What has been the most challenging adjustment compared to Jamaica?
“The language for sure. Even though Basel (where we live) is international and majority of people speak English, I find there is still a communication barrier – news media, announcements, official paperwork, etc . However my experience is that people are very accommodating. Although I speak none of the national languages (yet), I don’t feel discriminated against or treated badly.”
What do you miss about Jamaica?
“The weather (especially now during the winter), the beach and the food (I could eat a patty right now!). I miss the abundance of social events/parties/sessions always happening. While there is always a lot going on in Switzerland, with various events, fairs, etc., it’s just not the same.”
What is your favourite thing about Switzerland?
“The efficient and reliable local public transportation and accessibility to other cities within Switzerland and Europe.”
What advice would you give to a Jamaican person wishing to emigrate to Switzerland?
“Reach out to other Jamaicans in Switzerland if you can. They can give you information and advice about Switzerland that you may not find easily on the internet. Having a support system in Switzerland is important and helps the transition.”
Would you consider moving back to Jamaica one day?
“For sure! I think about it every time I visit. Jamaica has its issues but nothing compares to its beauty and culture. – No weh sweet like yaad.”