In 1999 I exchanged my busy working life in Hong Kong for expat life in Geneva. Having lived and worked in the Far East and Middle East for the previous 20 years, I was rather unfamiliar with this place called Europe. I knew from previous experience, however, that joining an International Women’s group should be a top priority to help me take those first steps into my new life. So, armed with a map of Geneva, I made my way to the American International Women’s Club and became a member.
As trailing spouses, partners or plus ones, whatever you like to call yourself, finding your niche in a new host country can be challenging. By joining a group of expat women you get to learn about your new environment quickly from people who have literally ‘been there and done that’. More importantly, they know what you are going through as you start to adapt to local conditions. Shared interests provide the perfect starting point for conversation and new friendships. Before you know it you will start to feel at home. The benefits of group membership are well documented – support, companionship, fun, laughter, a chance to try new things in a safe environment and to connect to people from all walks of life. Having been involved in wonen’s groups all over the world I have benefited from all of these and more.
For Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
The one thing we can be sure of as expats, is that things will change! With change comes opportunity. Since those early days at the AIWC stumbling over French grammar I have seen many friends come and go. My life has changed too and I am now a working expat. I still value my membership and pop into the club when time allows. As the members change, new faces bring their experience, talent and skills to share. New groups are formed and new friendships forged. If you don’t find the group for you, you can always start your own! So, if you are new or not so new in town and need some company, some support, some new friends or simply want to find out more about living in Geneva, why not join us? I look forward to meeting you.
How have you benefited from being a member of an international women’s group? You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to hear about your experience and if you have time, please complete my survey. http://www.thecoachapproach.ch/survey/