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How I reinvented myself 'You know what - I've climbed Everest!'

Many people change their professions when they move to Switzerland from another country. It can be because their qualifications are not recognised, or because it’s a good moment to try something new. Billi Bierling was a translator in London, but now she's a humanitarian aid worker.

Billi used to work as a radio journalist, but after redundancy in 2004 she moved to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu to work as an assistant to the 'Himalayan chronicler' Elizabeth Hawley. When Hawley passed away in January 2018, Billi took over running the Himalayan Database.

When the climbing season is over, Billi returns to Bern to work for Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA), the humanitarian arm of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, part of the Swiss government. She moderates at their annual conferences, and provides media support in hotspots around the world, as a member of the SHA pool of experts. 

Billi became the first German woman to successfully climb Mount Everest on the south route from Nepal on May 21, 2009. 

In this interview she talks about her many reincarnations, adapting and growing into new roles, and how she transitioned between different jobs.

Finding a job in Switzerland

This section can help you search for a professional post in Switzerland, whether you are a European or a third-state national. 

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