Some 1,000 visitors attended the Expat Fair in the Lorzensaal in Cham on Sunday, the fourteenth time it has been held.
Organisers Ed and Melanie McGough said they had been hoping for bad weather, so that more people would attend, but they were very happy when they found out how many had actually gone along. Paris-born Ed McGaugh has actually lived in Switzerland for 20 years, having been brought up in the Middle East. He set up the first Expat Fair in 2006, hoping to boost sales at his wine business, though running the fair now takes up much of his time.
It was not surprising that, as the journalist of the Zuger Zeitung also noted, much English was to be heard. One of the visitors, Ivan Boronat from Barcelona, was there with his wife, Dolos Foguet and their daughters, Alice,8, and Eileen, 2 (photograph). Boronat, who already speaks English, came along as he and his family are moving to Zug shortly and were looking for an appropriate school. Indeed, many of them, such as the International School of Central Switzerland, the Little Star Day School and the Four Forest Bilingual International School, were represented there, Boronat himself enquiring about the Montessori school. They were particular keen on schools where both English and German were spoken and those attended by both Swiss and expat children.
In addition to schools, a church where English was spoken was also represented, as was the Theatre Networking Club and Peter the Handyman from South Africa.
In all, some 75 exhibitors were present. As McGaugh confirmed, “Expats here do not live in a parallel society, they often attend Swiss events and love Swiss culture, after all, the Anglo-Saxons are a very open people.”
The Men’s Club of Switzerland was also represented; they meet up every week at the Parkhotel and organise all sorts of events, from barbecues to climbing.
Aware of expats’ love of beer, Thomas Döbeli of the Bachweg brewery in Edlibach was also present. “I have noticed how Anglo-Saxons are not used to the light and sweet taste of Swiss beer, which is quite different from the bitter and more earthy taste of British ones,” he said.
Kathryn Edson came along from Democrats Abroad in Basel. “We help Americans to vote from here,” she said. “It is very complicated as each state has its own rules.” In addition, she advises Americans working here on tax matters.
Also from Spain was Anna Azbetia who mentioned what useful contacts she had made that day, as Jamie Hill from north England said how much he had learned, too. He had actually worked in Switzerland before, but when he returned to England it made him realise how much he missed the Confederation, so he came back again.
At the event, too, was Natalie Albrecht of ZUG4YOU.ch , who presented its smart new website to expats attending.