‘My Story’ shares the experiences of an Indian living in Switzerland

Photo of Divya Badri

“Here I am dressed in full black for the first time in my life. I am usually a very colourfully dressed person. This was taken last spring outside in our garden with the village church tower in the background. This was another first for me when I sang with a Swiss choir. Happy Holi to you all!” says Divya Badri who calls Switzerland home for the last 16 years.

Q: Tell us about yourself?

A: I am third-culture individual or TCK, who does not have a strong regional identity (yet). I am a 40 year old woman, a wife and a daughter, born and brought up in India and living in Switzerland since 2000.

Q: What do you do?

A: I am an entrepreneur. It allows me to combine my past cross-functional professional life experiences in both India and Switzerland to merge with my experiences of being a Mom to my three, friendly, school-going kids. With my life partner, I co-founded SLX Swiss Learning Exchange last year. Being entrepreneurial means my profession encapsulates the roles of a marketing / human resources professional, a producer, an accountant, a creative director, a CFO and a janitor, while continuing to be a parent.

Q: Where do you live and what brought you here to Switzerland?

A: Geneva used to be home for quite sometime, after marrying my husband in 2000. I now live in the foothills of the Alps in perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever lived in, in the Fribourg-Bernese Oberland (Swiss highlands).

Q: Do you like it here, what do you love and what would you change?

A: Yes, I do like it very much. I absolutely love the fresh air and natural beauty of the region I live in. The alpine flora and fauna make each day look like a different Van Gogh painting and make outdoor sports very inviting. I wish shoveling snow and removing limescale were easier chores! I also like it, that in Switzerland, society can hope for a more global approach, amidst the current waves of tribalism that is sweeping the world.

Q: How do you cope with Swiss life?

A: I ask my husband, my kids, parents, neighbours for help when I feel I cannot cope and return the favour if needed. In the process, I think I make friends both in the real and virtual worlds.

Q: Do you have any words of wisdom to help fellow expats integrate?

A: Be that what you wish society to mirror. Be friendly, be open, be authentic if that is what you wish from society. A smile is the same in every language.

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