Swiss Expat Story: Alexandra in New Zealand

by MySwissWorld & Swiss Food Box Team

Helvetic post 19

We welcome you to our newest interview in our weekly series. Here we interview each week somebody from the community and learn a bit more about their lives. This week, from Alexandra, New Zealand:  🇳🇿

Marlen, a Teacher Aide in Alexandra, New Zealand, has lived in the country with her Kiwi husband and four children for 17 years. Born in Switzerland, she left after completing her training as a kindergarten teacher to explore and eventually met her husband in New Zealand. Although she misses her family and the convenience of traveling in Switzerland, Marlen loves the relaxed pace of life and ample space in New Zealand. The family is currently saving up for a trip back to Switzerland, but has no plans to return permanently at this time.

What is your name and where are you living now?
My name is Marlen and I live in Alexandra New Zealand with my Kiwi husband and our 4 children. I work part-time at the kids school as a Teacher Aide. I have been in New Zealand for 17 years now. Over the years, we have hosted many travellers in our house and have made friends all over the world without ever leaving the country. Our children love having visitors and they learn so much from each of them. We live rurally and the children have lots of space to run around in. In summer, we spend a lot of time swimming in our irrigation pond.
What is your connection to Switzerland? Have you been born there, or do you have some roots in Switzerland? 
I was born in Switzerland, but always had the desire to travel and explore, so when I finished my training (as a kindergarten teacher), I decided to spend some time in New Zealand. During that time I met my husband and decided to stay here with him. After we spent 18 months living in Switzerland 10 years ago, we decided to move back to New Zealand and have lived in Alexandra ever since. We love the climate here as it gets hot in summer and cold in winter - just like Switzerland. 
What is the thing that you miss about Switzerland the most?
My family, the food, IKEA and how easy it is to get places. Want a weekend in London - or Paris? No problem! Want to go shopping at a big mall? Let's go, which one?
What do you think is better or do you like more in your new country?
People are not in a hurry as much and there is less pressure. There is also much more space and less people, which is one of my favorite things about New Zealand. 
Do you have any plans of returning soon? For vacations or permanently.
We currently have no plans as such, but are saving up for out next trip home. Hopefully we get to come for a visit in the next couple of years.


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