Still fresh in your mind? Or has it taken on a more sentimental glow now that you are able to look back on your journey, trials and tribulations overcome? Hopefully, FMZ were able to assist you, whether it be the welcome information packet, contact with the Welcome Desk or perhaps by visiting one of our events.
In our “Grüezi Switzerland” event, I briefly discuss the concept of culture clash and that regardless of origin, everyone experiences its ups and downs to some extent I illustrate these using anecdotes from my own arrival here in 2003. Idyllic picnics by the lake, “sound of music” moments (I know …different hills but you get the idea), the scary woman at the supermarket cash desk who eyed me suspiciously every time.
During meetings with visitors to us at FMZ, I will often joke to “do as I say not as I did”.
In all honesty, though, I do wish I had known about FMZ when I arrived. It would have helped me enormously. To be able to get confidential unbiased answers to my serious and sometimes silly questions in my own language without any authority angst would have saved me time…and tears..and a fair bit of cash too.
Now I have the privilege to guide people in finding the answers to their questions. In a fraction of the time it took me years ago and whilst avoiding the urban myths and misinformation which I still hear (and smile at).
When was having someone “show you the ropes” (explain how to do something) anything other than marvellous? And who better to show you the (many) ropes but a local expert with years of experience AND the language?
The new FMZ Host Programme offers exactly this solution.
As a basis for the matching and to give structure to the meetings there are 3 types of interest “tours”: Social and family. Sport and nature. History and culture. Both host and newcomer are asked to describe their interests and wishes, as well as providing demographic information. FMZ use the confidential information provided to select the optimal match.
After an initial meeting at FMZ, the Hosts and Newcomers are able to use the suggested tours or meet according to their own agenda. Even though the programme begins in June, there has already been an overwhelming response from local “Zugers” signing up as hosts.
The programme is a way for people to reach out and connect with others from a different background without fear of rejection or misunderstanding. To explore and learn about the Canton of Zug through the eyes of another. Both learning and teaching at the same time.
If I had had the opportunity to take part in such a programme when I arrived, it would have improved the speed with which I was able to settle in, manage the admin stuff, make friends AND improve my German!
So do as I say, not as I did...
By Catherine Newman
For more information please click here