Swiss Expat Story: Bernadette Bender-Roduit in Canada

by MySwissWorld & Swiss Food Box Team

Helvetic post 20

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 Tadoussac, Canada:  🇨🇦
When Bernadette Bender-Roduit left her home in Switzerland 21 years ago, she embarked on an adventure that would bring her to the oldest village in North America, Tadoussac, Quebec. As the owner of a campground with chalets to rent, Bernadette has completely adapted to her new home, but still misses some Swiss products like Ovaltine, molasses, parfait and gingerbread. Bernadette spoke to us about what she loves about her new country, her plans for returning to Switzerland and her incredible story of taking the last Swissair flight to Montreal the day before the airline went bankrupt.
What is your name and where are you living now?

Hello, my name is Bernadette Bender-Roduit and I have been living in the oldest village in North America, Tadoussac, Quebec/Canada for 21 years.

What is your connection to Switzerland? Have you been born there, or do you have some roots in Switzerland? 

I am of Swiss origin 🇨🇭 and born in Saillon in Valais. All my family is in Switzerland except two of my three children who followed me in this adventure.
I am the owner with one of my daughters and my son of a campground with chalets to rent in Tadoussac, le domaine des dunes located near the only sand dunes in North America. 

What is the thing that you miss about Switzerland the most?
I adapted very well to my new country, the Quebecers are very welcoming and warm. 
I miss some Swiss products like Ovaltine, molasses, parfait, gingerbread, sugus etc...but I try to go back once a year or every two years to stock up, visit my daughter and my two grandchildren as well as my brothers and sisters.
I am the fifth of six children, my parents are deceased.

What do you think is better or do you like more in your new country?

What I appreciate in my new country are the wide open spaces and the feeling of freedom. Many wild animals that we do not find in Switzerland : Bears, whales 🐳 moose, wolves etc.... nearby. 
People are also more relaxed and less stressed than in Switzerland.
Tadoussac is located on the St. Lawrence River, in the summer we have whales coming to feed at the mouth of the fjord and in the winter we have beautiful white snow. Forest, snow and sea in the same village!

Do you have any plans of returning soon? For vacations or permanently.

I don't think I will go back to Switzerland for good. My life and my friends are here. But you never know!

Ps. I would like to share the following anecdote:
I had to leave Switzerland and fly to Montreal on September 12, 2001 with my three dogs, a cat and my daughter. I went to Zurich on September 11, 2001 for the next day's flight. Our flight on September 12 was cancelled because of the New York bombings. It was postponed to October 1, 2001 and surprise, we took the last Swissair flight to Montreal because on October 2 the company went bankrupt and all the planes were stuck on the ground 😱


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