Associations, Clubs, Networks
Clubs and associations are very popular in Switzerland; hence the range is tremendous. One of the best ways for sozializing in Switzerland is to join a club. Find more information here.
Particularly in Basel associations with an academic profile such as the Freie Akademische Gesellschaft FAG, the Naturforschende Gesellschaft , the Basel Botanical Society or the Historische und Antiquarische Gesellschaft zu Basel could be of great value.
Last but not least there is a number of groups and networks dealing with all type of topics. An overview provides e.g. Meetups in Basel.
One of the most important steps towards integration is learning the language spoken where you live. In Northwestern Switzerland, this language is German. While locals speak the Basel dialect of German with each other on almost all occasions, High German is the language of choice in formal contexts (lectures, public events, etc.) or when communicating with people who are native speakers of other languages.
Those who are willing to learn German will make the greatest progress becoming integrated. The official languages of administration are also French and Italian (Romansh, the fourth national language, is not actually an administrative language), which is why all product descriptions and official forms are generally in multiple languages. For this reason, it is quite useful if you can speak one of these languages or have one of them as a foundation to build upon.
English is not an official language, which is why it cannot be expected that all information will also be available in English. However, because public service is a top priority in Switzerland and because Basel, just like the rest of Switzerland, has become more international over the last two decades, all companies and organizations often provide essential information in English for practical or marketing reasons.
Numerous institutes offer opportunities for learning German, such as:
Tip: Canton Basel-Stadt offers its newcomers vouchers for free German courses for facilitating integration. The GGG Migration as well as the Foreign Nationals Office Baselland provide information about all options and offer free advice on German courses.
The issue of integration has been on the minds of locals as well as newcomers to Switzerland since well before the passing of the recent initiatives and adopting of political decisions. Switzerland has become a country of immigration. There is therefore a wealth of stimulating and helpful literature on the topic of integration, cultural differences and issues of coexistence. If nothing else, the differences and various cultural facets of Switzerland are fascinating and deserve due attention.
Even those who claim to know Switzerland do not always know everything about Basel's natives, who themselves like to claim that they “tick differently than others.” For this reason, contextual knowledge and helpful information for newcomers acquired through reading is likely to be useful in getting settled. In recent years, many books have been published that are not only highly entertaining but may also provide an eye-opening experience! Here is a brief selection of just some of the books on preparing for as well as wrapping up your stay in the Basel region:
- Diccon Bewes (Ed.): The Expert Guide to your Life in Switzerland. Bergli Books, Basel 2020.
- Beat Jans, Guy Krneta, Matthias Zehnder (Hg.): Unsere Schweiz. Ein Heimatbuch für Weltoffene. Zytglogge Verlag, Basel 2020.
- Margaret Oertig-Davidson: The New Beyond Chocolate – understanding Swiss culture. Bergli Books, Basel 2019.
- Adriana Quarck, Rylla Resler, Francesca Incocciati: The Trailing Spouse Reimagined. Bergli Books, Basel 2018.
- Christian Eisert: Viele Ziegen und kein Peter. Eine Ferienfahrt zu den Schweizern. Berlin 2016.
- Gianni Haver, Mix & Remix: Swissness in a nutshell. Bergli Books, Basel 2014.
- Margaret Oertig: Going Local. Your guide to Swiss schooling. Bergli Books, Basel 2012.
- Sergio J. Lievano, Nicole Egger: Hoi! Et après… - manuel de survie en Suisse allemande. Bergli Books, Basel 2012.
- Peter Habicht: Basel - A Center at the Fringe. A concise history. Basel 2008.
- Franziska Schläpfer (Hg.): Reise in die Schweiz. Kulturkompass fürs Handgepäck. Zürich 2008.
- David Hampshire: Living and Working in Switzerland. A Survival Handbook. London 2007.
- Dianne Dicks, Katalin Fekete: Ticking Along with Swiss Kids. Bergli Books, Basel 2007.
- Susann Sitzler: Grüezi und Willkommen. Die Schweiz für Deutsche. Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2004.
- Jürg Altwegg et al. (Hg.): Kuhschweizer und Sauschwaben. Schweizer, Deutsche und ihre Hassliebe. Nagel & Kimche, München 2003. (Amüsante und lehrreiche Essay-Sammlung, die vielfältige Einblicke in ein bisweilen ambivalentes Verhältnis geben.)
- Thomas Küng, unter Mitarbeit von Peter Schneider: Gebrauchsanweisung für die Schweiz. Piper, München 1996