The Ranjith family moved from southern India to Cham almost a year and a half ago. They tell us what they value about Switzerland and the canton of Zug, and what is important in order to quickly gain a foothold in a new country.
Hachi is very excited, and scuttles about yapping at the end of the stairs. He really wants to see who’s coming. The lively Shih Tzu belongs to the Ranjith family. "He loves visitors," says his master with a laugh. A year and a half ago, the 35-year-old family father moved to Cham with his wife, two children and the dog from the southern Indian state of Kerala. He works as a Global Treasury Manager at an internationally operating freight-forwarding company based in Kuwait, whose Swiss headquarters are based in Baar.
"From 2016 onwards, I made a business trip to Switzerland once a year," says Ranjith. He has special memories of his first visit in January 2016: "This is the first time in my life that I had seen snow. It was fantastic!” Finally, the Indian citizen was given the opportunity to move from the company's branch in Chennai to the one in Baar, and to take up a permanent full-time position. The family decided to all move here together. It was, however, far from easy to find an apartment for a family of four in the canton of Zug. "We were very lucky to find this accommodation on the Hünenbergerstrasse in Cham."
The well-being of the children is a top priority
The couple felt at home in their new environment from the very beginning, and find the village, and at the same time urban character of Zug or Cham very pleasant. An important point for them is the growing up of their two children The family father adds: "Here, we can see our children growing up at all levels"
Feel very comfortable in their new home in Cham: family father Ranjith, his wife Sumi, the children Abhinav and Aaradhya, together with family dog Hachi.
He emphasizes that the children here not only need to focus on education, but also on other important aspects of a fulfilled childhood. At this point, however, their 8-year-old son Abhinav wants to stress that he loves gong to school. The third-grader already understands German and speaks it very well. "I don't yet know what I want to become," the excited boy replies when asked about his career wish. His sister Aaradhya, who is two years younger, also feels comfortable in her new home. She has been in first grade from this summer.
"Life here is generally more relaxed for us, and, as a family, we enjoy more "quality time" together," says Ranjith's 34-year-old wife Sumi. And her stay in Switzerland has already brought many changes. "We've all learned to swim – and we love cheese," she says, laughing. She regularly takes German lessons, passionately likes to cook and is thinking of taking up her last job in India, as a dance teacher, once again here in Switzerland. As a type of cultural mediation.
She is certainly creative: self-painted oil paintings showing Swiss views hang on the walls. Sumi and her husband love the landscapes here, and the nature. "You are always right in the middle of nature, here and everywhere. It's wonderful," they rave. Whenever time permits, the family goes on trips together. "In our Indian homeland, weekly cinema visits were among the most important leisure activities. Here in Switzerland, this is being replaced by the beautiful nature."
Maintaining leisure activities and contacts
Conviviality, i.e. building up a circle of acquaintances and friends, is very important for the family. "And it works very well," says Ranjith. "We have a family group that we meet every day. This makes us feel at home." They have also joined a cricket group, and started a cycling group with friends. Recreational activities are very important to all of them.
One thing is clear for Ranjith's family: they want to stay in Switzerland and gain a foothold. One of the next goals of both the father and his wife is to learn German. "When you move to a new country, it is fundamental to speak its language," he says firmly. "And you have to explore the land, be open to its nature and enjoy it. This is how you can very quickly feel at home in a new place."
In its series "New in Zug", the "Zuger Zeitung" portrays expats and newcomers. The contacts were made by Sandra Herzog, founder of the meet-up group "Meeting new friends in Zug".