Aleks and Sophie: Sisterhood of the Traveling WAGs
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Geneva, etc.
Our names are Aleks and Sophie. Aleks is from Russia, raised in the USA but then lived in the UK for six years. Sophie was raised in both the UK and Singapore. We both moved to Geneva because of our husbands' work commitments.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
We became good friends from the get-go, and our sense of humour really clicked. The blog initially began as we both had trouble finding work in Switzerland and we wanted to find something to occupy our time. We both really enjoy writing so it was a natural step to take! We didn't expect for it to take off and actually get any readers!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Definitely. I would say the following three are personal favs:
- Our Top 5 Social Faux Pas: Geneva Edition
- Tips for Flying When You're A Nervous Flier
- Guide to Online Dating
Tell us about the ways your new life in Geneva differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
It wasn't so much culture shock as it was accepting how a way of life works in a totally different place. There are always going to be things that annoy or surprise you when moving somewhere foreign, but you just have to remind yourself to keep a totally open mind and welcome new experiences.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Geneva? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations yeaou made?
Hmmmmm. In some ways yes, in other ways I think we both were surprised by how out of place one can feel — even when you're not that far away from home. You have to take it one day at a time and accept that some days will be harder than others, even after 3 years here. That was quite hard to admit to ourselves.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
We refer you to our Top Geneva Faux Pas post — all the cringeworthy moments are detailed there!!!
Which tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Geneva?
- Get a basic understanding of the French language, you'll use it a lot and the locals appreciate the effort.
- Do your clothes shopping online — it's cheaper!
- Participate in lots of activities (InterNations comes handy in this) in order to meet new friends.
- Give it a proper go; it's tempting to b***h about all the things you don't like but it's not going to help you in the long run.
How is the expat community in Geneva? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
We'll be honest, it's quite difficult to become friends with the locals. But on the bright side, there are lots of expat groups who are interested in all sorts of hobbies. Also, ask around your friends from home — we were surprised by how many people end up knowing someone that lives in Geneva.
How would you summarize your expat life in Genevainall in a single, catchy sentence?
Keep and open mind and start drinking wine.