Let’s start by admitting that moving to a foreign country was WAY harder than my daydreams led me to believe. Of course I envisioned the long European coffee dates and strolling around the adorable downtown of Zürich. I pictured becoming an amazing skiier and breezing through the Swiss Alps and, let’s be honest, I imagined I would eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

Then reality hit. Everything I knew and loved and defined myself by was no longer there. In America, I understood how to take a book out of the library, how to call a doctor when I was sick, how to check my bank account online and how to find the bleach at a grocery store. Luckily, there were websites and social groups to help me answer those frantic “I’m-obviously-new-around-here” questions here in my new hometown in Switz.

But then, I started getting greedy and asking for more. How do I volunteer for a non-profit organization? Where do I find a triathlon club to train with? Maybe I want to pursue a new career path – where can I go back to school? Well, that proved quite a bit trickier to find those answers. Half were in German, natives had no idea how a non-native would approach these things, and most Expats hadn’t found an answer themselves to be able to give advice to the new ones.

The truth is, no place existed that had those deeper answers. Yes, I need to adjust to my life here, but I also need to live here like I live here and not just like I’m a short-term visitor here. Expats have trouble here in Switzerland, integrating into daily life. They often suffer depression and anxiety plus expat wives are the #1 reason expat husbands return home before their international assignment is complete. I’m not blaming or judging, I’m looking at facts. What can we do to make ourselves happy here? What is missing that we had in our previous lives?

And that’s the problem that GettingBusy.ch solves. We’re not just a social meetup that keeps you busy on a Tuesday night. We’re a bunch of problem solvers who help you find out how to pursue your passion here in Switzerland and make the most out of your life here every day. Love your life! Wake up excited because you are in control and know how to look for a job, find an organization to volunteer with, or coach a children’s sports team. The possibilities are endless once you have the resources and know where to start looking.

Here’s my welcome letter I have on the website that explains a bit more:
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“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
 A big hello to all my fellow English-speaking expats in Switzerland!
I’m so glad you’re here. No, really! You see, we have a special bond that nobody else in the world can truly understand. Nobody else will laugh quite as hard about a cow joke as we will nor will they understand how frustrating it is to be just 30 seconds late and face all those disapproving glances.
I know, it’s not easy to move to a new place, not knowing the culture or the language or having many friends. But while the road is challenging, we can all support each other as we grow, both personally and professionally.
I created this website because, when I moved to Zurich in July 2011, it was tough to find information for many of the basic questions that I had. Of course there are tons of resources out there for how to pick a school for your kids or learn the cultural norms of the Swiss or figure out what the word for broccoli is in the local language. There were also networking and meetup events that provided fun entertainment for an evening, but no sustainable ideas of how to fill my time with something that left me satisfied. I think it is critical to happiness and integration in a new place to find activities that fill your time and fill your soul while you’re here. You want to wake up every morning excited and energized about what you’re doing.
So, I hope this website helps you in your search. If you have any ideas or would like to see anything new here, or even if you just want to say hello, email me at Lisa@gettingbusy.ch.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful country with me,
Lisa
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People asked me why I made the website. I just made this to help other people in need (remember my 2012 New Year’s Goal). Simple as that. Want to inspire people with your good deeds? Leave a comment below and tell thousands of other readers what good you’re doing in the world!