Part 2: Caught between the two worlds: Dilemma of an expat

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By Parul Chhaparia

In a recent job interview, the interviewer asked me when did you move to Switzerland and why? I said over five years back to join my husband and mainly because it was challenging to say no to Switzerland. “Well, it depends on where one comes from,” pat came his reply. It did not sound polite. However, it was true too. Maybe living in the country does not mean the same to everyone. But, again, it depends on where one comes from and, most importantly, the experiences we gather here.

Nevertheless, it is not always easy to be an expat or an immigrant. Besides location, there is a lot within that changes with moving to a new country. In the second story of this series, lucify.ch speaks to Ankita Singh, an IT engineer who lived in Switzerland for many years before moving back to her home country, India, about her experience as an expat.

Ankita Singh, an independent, strong woman, came to Switzerland as a software engineer soon after her professional career began. She worked for a renowned financial institution in Zurich for many years, and just when she had settled here, she returned to her homeland for professional reasons.

Ask her about her experience of living in Switzerland, and she gets super excited. “I had a wonderful experience there. I was fortunate and very young when I got the opportunity to work and live in Zurich. I met kind also unkind people from diverse cultures, countries. Working together under one roof was quite a learning experience,” she said.

Ankita was born and brought up in India. She completed her education and began her career at a software company in India. “My roots were are in India,…my family, food, festivals, culture, and even the jokes that only my Indian friends would laugh at. I missed them all when I was in Switzerland. Many times, I was very homesick and would want to return to my land. However, I know I would not have felt so if only I had my family around,” she shared.

It’s no secret that one of the best things that Switzerland offers, besides its scenic natural beauty, is the work-life balance. “Thanks to my Swiss experience., I now know the meaning of work-life balance.

India has a high-speed life, especially in the metro cities. People do not sleep there. It’s open 24/7, and you can hear vehicles honking at night in cities. Everything is lively and has a spirit of its own. However, I am an introvert, and as an individual, I have always admired nature. That’s why I loved living in Switzerland,’” she said.

And this is what her biggest dilemma is now. She misses the work-life that she had in Switzerland. She misses the beautiful scenic views of the Swiss Alps, running in the forest, drinking tap water, and the Fin Bar. However, going too far away from her family and her social comfort in India are also things she does not want to leave behind. “Both worlds have their charms. I wish I could have the best of both,” she laughed.

When asked if she wanted to come back again, yes, most definitely, she replied instantly. “I love my home country. I was born here. My family, my social life, and my emotional support system are here. However, it was in Switzerland where I grew as an individual. I had an amazing experience, and that’s why it will always remain very close to my heart. Given an opportunity, I would love to come back.”

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Parul comes from India. She has worked as a business journalist for over nine years with many English publications in India. Here she works as a content manager with a tech start up. She loves to write about people, culture, travel, business and anything that piques her curiosity.

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