No bounds

The global marriage patchwork

 
wedding

swissinfo.ch readers who are married to a partner of another nationality shared the best and most challenging parts of their multicultural relationships via Facebook. Join the conversation – weigh in with your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of the page.

We are Swiss and American living near Pittsburgh, PA. I met my husband in Davos, Switzerland, during a ski vacation 36 years ago. Being able to experience people and cultures on both sides of the Atlantic is the best part. Having to adjust to everyday life in the adopted country was challenging at first. – B.H., US

I'm Swiss, he's American and we now live in New Zealand. He has embraced my Swiss heritage and culture. I was surprised and extremely excited to find out there is such a big Swiss community here in New Zealand. It has been fun teaching him more about Switzerland. – S.W., New Zealand

My husband is Swiss (Veytaux, canton Vaud). His father was sent to Latin America and my husband grew up in Mexico City. He then returned to Switzerland to study in Basel and at university (ETH) in Zurich. He then went to the US to get his masters at MIT. Later, he was invited back to Mexico (since he was fluent in Spanish) to work on a project. This time, he stayed for good. I was born in Mexico City but had lived in the US since I was a teenager. We met at the Houston International Airport fighting over the only ticket left to fly to Mexico on that day. We both got a seat on that plane and we've been together ever since (25 years). Our children enjoy being dual nationals and multicultural. We all speak Spanish, English and French and love Switzerland and its values. – L.F., Mexico

Marrying across borders

For bi-national couples, it’s ‘I Do’ or ‘Adieu’

Mya Hejia, who is from China, married her Swiss husband Robert before moving abroad for the first time to live in Bern

A Swiss man meets the woman of his dreams while vacationing in Asia. What’s next for the happy pair? The choices are clear-cut but increasingly inflexible if they want to live in Switzerland, as many couples and advisors are finding out.  [...]

The best parts of our "mixed marriage" are that we are more rich in knowledge, sharing with each other about our own culture. The most challenging is the culture itself. Culture shock. To face the problems that come with the awareness that we grew up in different cultures that made us have different views. He speaks French, I speak Indonesian and we speak in English though it’s not our language. It doesn't matter how far away Europe and Asia are, but destiny brought him to me and we met here in my city, in Indonesia. – E.M., Indonesia

He is Swiss from St. Gallen, born to a Swiss father and an Austrian mother. I am a Chilean from Easter Island, my mother is from Santiago de Chile and my father is a native from the Chilean Polynesian Island called Rapa Nui. We met on the island nine years ago as he worked as a flight attendant on a charter airline and had a special flight around Latin America including Easter Island.  After two years with a long distance relationship,  I went to live in Switzerland, we got married there, and we lived in Zurich for two years. During this time I learned German, that was a real challenge for me like Spanish was for my husband, so today English will always be our neutral language. Another challenge is also how different our cultures are, so it is a daily task to sort out our misunderstandings and to keep facing the future together. Since 2008, we have been back on my beautiful island. Here we have a successful business and we are expecting our first baby to be born in June! T.E., Chile

My African - American husband and I met in my hometown of Basel.  As a chef, he worked for a hotel while I was teaching fitness classes that he attended. We dated for three years got married in Switzerland and lived there for 12 years with our two boys. We moved to Las Vegas in 1999 where we added two more kids to our family. The biggest challenges we used to have make great stories today. As much as I struggled to live in the US, I feel that we fit in here so much better than we did in Switzerland. My oldest son followed his heart and moved back to Switzerland. We are a microorganism in this big world - cultures and social rules and regulations are here for us to take and make the best out of. – A.S., US

My dad is Swiss and my mom is Puerto Rican. They met at carnival in St. Thomas and we live in Florida. They have been happily married for 34 years. I love being mixed! I definitely embrace both of my cultures and I wouldn't want it any other way! We actually found a Swiss Society in Puerto Rico and go to their August 1st celebration. There's a whole colony of “Swissericans“ there! - P.R., US

Intercultural marriages

Maori at heart, Swiss by love

Maori at heart, Swiss by love

The growing number of multicultural marriages in Switzerland has made bi-national couples the focus of new research. A mixed New Zealand and Swiss couple share their story and a sociolinguist tells swissinfo.ch what she has learnt.  [...]

I am Swiss and met my husband 34 years ago on a vacation to California! I did not speak English at the time and communication is still difficult between us, even though I speak the language well now. The best part is that we still love each other very much! – S.B.

I am Swiss and grew up in Geneva. My husband is Australian of Dutch descent. We have been married for 22 years and have two girls, 20 and 15 years old. We live in Perth. We met back in 1982 when my dad took me to go and see some relatives in Australia. We were 18 years old and dated for three months. Unfortunately, I had to fly back to Switzerland to finish my university degree but we kept on writing to each other for a long six and a half years! (without internet or text messages!).  We promised we would see each other again even though both of us lived our lives in between. I returned when I finished my degree and we found we still liked each other very much so I made the decision to move to Perth in 1990 and start a life together. Within three weeks, we were engaged and three months later we got married in France! The rest is history! – A.M., Australia

I'm Swiss/Chinese - my husband was born in England and raised in New Zealand. We met in Switzerland 13 years ago and moved to New York, where we got married and are now raising our five kids. I love it here, especially being so close to the ocean - it's a beautiful place to raise children. I do miss the Swiss cuisine and the fact that 'Oma" and 'Opa' aren't around to witness the kids growing up (and they do grow so fast).  My husband and I really appreciate our home country of choice and have always felt very lucky to have the opportunity to pursue the American dream. - V.C., US

We are a family of four  with four different places of birth on three continents...together, we almost speak seven different languages. Swiss husband + Brazilian wife = daughter (born in Mexico) + son (born in China). - C.M.

My husband is an Italian who speaks Swiss German. I am Chinese from mainland China. We met on a plane both flying to our holidays to Yunnan. We were married three years later in Hong Kong. Now it has been another four years. It is quite common in Hong Kong to see mixed couples. I believe for mixed marriages/partners to work, the fundamental thing is to have our stomachs aligned in taste. It would not have worked between us if my husband didn't like Chinese food or if I didn't eat western. We both appreciate the other’s cooking and arranged perfect mixed meals. – G.H.

I'm Swiss, my husband is Anglo-Indian raised in India and Australia. We met each other in Bern almost nine years ago. We spent our first three years in Switzerland but moved to Australia five years ago with my kids ( then 12 and 15). My husband and I speak Swiss German together at home so the kids won't lose their mother language. Our daughter is now at university studying nursing and our son is in his last year of high school. We all love Australia as much as Switzerland but I personally couldn't imagine going back to live. – C.D., Australia

I'm Swiss, my husband is South African, our two-year old is American, born in Texas while we were there for my husband's work assignment, and we are now expecting another little one while living in Australia. Looks like we're collecting continents! Best part: it's very interesting and rewarding to see and experience so many cultures of this amazing world! Worst part: we don't get to holiday anywhere else but our hometowns to visit family - and the kids are missing out on getting to know relatives & grandparents closely! – Y.O., Australia

I'm American and he is Swiss. Best part: Getting to learn sooo many new things, almost daily. Worst Part: Having to learn sooo many new things, almost daily. We met in Laos on the Mekong River. It's all very romantic and communication-wise, pretty challenging.– C.L.

I'm Croatian and my husband is from Ecuador, we met through the Internet. After living in Ecuador for two years where we got married and had a child, we moved to Switzerland where we live now. The difference in culture and customs were interesting! We use three languages when we speak between us so that is a big plus for our child. – A.J., Switzerland