Expat Voices: Erica Bersin on life in Basel

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New York expat Erica asks for the sauce separately and makes sure her garbage is tidy.

Name: Erica Bersin
Nationality: American
City of residence: Basel
Date of birth: 10 May
Civil status: Single
Occupation: Pharmaceutical Marketing Communications
Reason for moving to Switzerland: Job
Lived in Switzerland for: 2.5 years

What was your first impression of Switzerland?

A very neat and orderly country. Amazing chocolate!

What do you think of the food?

The Swiss really like their sauces. Everything has sauce. One of the first phrases I learned here was “sauce separate”. And I love that it’s all very fresh; however, fruit goes bad within a day or two of buying it.

What do you think of the shopping in Switzerland?
It’s quite expensive (clothes, food, medicines). And I come from NYC!

What do you appreciate about living in Switzerland?

I appreciate how safe and beautiful it is. The mountains and lakes are just amazing.

What do you find most frustrating about living in Switzerland?

I never knew that there could be a difference between precise and efficient. It’s very precise here, for example with trains, trams, and buses; however, other things can be very inefficient. There are less conveniences and excellent customer service; I miss being able to have anything I want delivered 24 hours a day.

What puzzles you about Switzerland and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
I miss a “can do” environment. You tend to hear, “We’ve always done it this way and we’d never do it that way”.

How does the quality of life in Switzerland compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?

I think it’s just different. I absolutely miss being in a big city and all that it has to offer; however, the safeness here is truly like no other place I’ve been.

If you could change anything about Switzerland, what would it be?
Be more open and accepting.

What advice would you give to a newcomer?

Enjoy the adventure and make sure your garbage is tidy.


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