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#WeAreSwissAbroad Nina Bader: ‘Life is much more relaxed in Vancouver’

During her studies, Nina Bader fell in love with Vancouver. She also found herself a job and a partner in the Canadian city. The 27-year old likes the relaxed lifestyle of the west coast and the many different culinary delights a city by the sea has to offer. When and why did you leave Switzerland?

Nina Bader: My story is a bit complicated. In 2012, I went on a six-week trip through Canada and fell so much in love with the country that I came back here to do a language course. Initially, I had planned to stay for six months, but the decision to do a Master’s Degree kept me in Vancouver for yet another year. 

After that, I still didn’t have enough of the city and when I met my boyfriend, I looked for a job. I have now been working for the Swiss Chamber of Commerce for seven months. The first few months were a rollercoaster. 

Everything was new and exciting but at the same time, I was a bit homesick. However, I am lucky that my boyfriend lives here and that a lot of my college friends are still in the city.

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( Was it a trip of no return or are you planning to go back to Switzerland in the future?

N.B.: Up until today I still don’t call it an emigration, but a move abroad. I can absolutely imagine going back to Switzerland. My partner is Mexican and sooner or later we will have to decide where we want to settle down. How did you find your job with the Swiss Chamber of Commerce?

N.B.: I was incredibly lucky. I was at the right place at the right time. I got the job, applied for a Young Professional Visa and I was off. I mainly work in communications, marketing, event planning and there is a lot of admin work to do. The biggest difference between the Canadian and Swiss working life is that here, it’s a lot less formal, whether it is about human interactions or the dress code. What do you do in your spare time?

N.B.: I like exploring the city. Even after having been here for two years, I still discover new things. I love finding new quarters, hanging out on the beach or going on short outings.

I take a lot of pictures and share them on my blog, which I started when I came here to keep my friends and family posted on what I was up to. I really enjoy blogging and I write a little update once a week. What’s life and the cuisine like in Canada?

N.B.: I don’t think there is such a thing as Canadian cuisine, even though some would disagree. There are so many different cultures in Canada and it’s so easy to simply enjoy everything. Due to the big Asian population, there is a lot of Asian food, which is great as I love eating Sushi. 

Of course, you can also get a typical North American Burger, which are usually available in one of the many pubs. Depending on what you feel like, you can go out for Mexican, Italian, Greek or Indian grub. We have so many restaurants here and eating out is a lot easier and cheaper than back home in Switzerland. What do you prefer in Canada over Switzerland? What is the biggest difference to Switzerland?

N.B.: Life here is incredibly beautiful and the quality of life is very high. The mountains and the sea are right at your doorstep and that’s why you can easily combine urban and rural life. Apart from that I find life here a lot more relaxed, the people living on the west coast have their own rhythm. They don’t have such a narrow view on life and they say ‘Thank you’ every time you get off the bus. Do people do this in Switzerland? How do you view Switzerland from afar?

N.B.: Only when you live abroad, you get to appreciate Switzerland. At least, that’s what happened to me! All of a sudden, you notice how well organised, reliable and structured the Swiss are. You realise that you don’t necessarily find these qualities in other countries and that some things work just a little bit better when they are more organised. 

I am proud that I can call Switzerland my home and I’m always happy to go back there. By the same token, life in Switzerland can also be exhausting due to the high expectations and performance pressure. You always have to prove yourself and the Swiss are very strict with themselves. I think Switzerland could do with a bit of loosening up. What’s the political situation like in Canada?Are you interested in the politics of your adopted country?

N.B.: I studied political science at Zurich University and I am generally very interested in politics, that’s why I also taken an interest in Canadian politics. During my college year, I attended lectures in Canadian politics as I wanted to really understand the system in this country.

The political situation is pretty fascinating at the moment. Two political worlds are colliding in North America with the young and liberal Justin Trudeau against the conservative Donald Trump. It’s also fascinating to learn how political processes happen as this country is incredibly big, and the east and west coasts are like two different worlds. Another factor is that Canada is very multicultural and everyone comes from a different background. This poses some challenges for politicians. Do you take part in Swiss elections and popular votes? If so, do you use postal vote or E-voting?

N.B.: Unfortunately, I can’t vote because I am still registered in Switzerland and my mail is not sent to me in Canada. However, I still follow the elections. Once my parents came to visit and brought my voting papers, so I was able to cast my ballot. What do miss most about Switzerland?

N.B.: Just like most people who live abroad, I miss my family and friends. Sometimes I miss everyday life in Switzerland, the streets of Zurich, the view from my parents’ balcony and the Swiss German dialect. 

And naturally, I miss the food, first and foremost bread, cheese and our delicious cervelate sausage. These are the first things I devour when I get home.

Are you a Swiss citizen living abroad? Label your Instagram photos with #WeAreSwissAbroadexternal link. (das Interview wurde schriftlich geführt)

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