Jashica: Tell me about your family and why you chose Switzerland?
Caroline: My husband, our eldest two kids and I are from Stockholm, Sweden. Henry (our youngest) was born in America, so he's American. We moved from Boston to Switzerland two years ago. So, here’s a brief story about how I met my husband! My husband and I grew up in the same area in Stockholm, we went to the same high school, but we didn´t really hang out *laughs*. After high school, he studied in the south of Sweden and I studied in New York, and a couple of years later, we met at the local mall in Stockholm which was very funny.
Our family is very active — our children really love to run around, hike, swim, see new things, and especially explore Switzerland.
Jashica: How was is it for you as a couple, when you decided to take this big step and move abroad, to a new country?
Caroline: When we first moved to the USA, the kids were at a very good age. Leo hadn’t started school yet and Lily was only a year old. It was perfect; I could be home with them in the beginning. I actually took 1 year off work, since we thought we’d go back after a year, but we ended up living there for 5 years.
Jashica: Do you intend to ever go back to Sweden?
Caroline: We LOVE Switzerland, especially the school which is amazing for our children, they really love it. The nature here is incredible with the mountains and the lakes. You can do so many things in every season in Switzerland. We really like it here and want to stay.
Jashica: So what about the kids? How did they handle the big change of moving from Boston, USA to Richterswil, Switzerland?
Caroline: We talked about it for about a year, so they heard us talking about it and we also discussed it with them openly. We looked at the school's website to review the curriculum and activities. Leo immediately said “YES, I'm going there!” after seeing the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program and after school activities, including sports at ZIS. You never know with young children, but it was a very good move for us, from Boston to Richterswil.
Jashica: What's the difference between the Swiss and Swedish cultures?
Caroline: Both cultures are quite similar to each other. The one thing I realized was, Swedish people follow the rules, but Swiss people, they literally live the rules. And we love that! If you love the rules and have the manners to live it, it's a perfect match.
Jashica: Tell me about Zurich International School.
Caroline: We needed a school that could provide our kids with lots of activities, which is good for character development, as well as intellectual stimulation. Therefore, ZIS was amazing — they have the perfect balance between studies and activities.
We had a very warm welcome at the school. The teachers, parents and students at ZIS welcomed us with open arms! They understood how it was to be new. The support we got from everyone is amazing, which makes us so happy!
Jashica: What is your pro-tip for future expat families? What would you recommend or suggest for others planning to relocate?
Caroline: You should always look into the area, where you intend to live, and decide for yourself first, to see if the community really suits your family or not. It's important that you feel like you are at home and you feel good where you live.
Next, if possible, visit the area and especially the school for the kids. Take time to talk with the teachers and the students. Find a community which takes you in and cares for you.
A huge thank you goes to the expat family Swedenborg, for their time, patience and open minds.