May 12, 2018
Expats in Basel can benefit from BaselConnect as we are a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting increased cultural understanding and exchange between Basel expats and locals in the tri-national region in Switzerland. What started as a single event became a grassroots organization all about integration.
We are currently in the process of expanding our online presence through the Digital BaselConnect 2.0 project
The Basel Region has always been international but never more so than today. Over the past dozen years, there has been a sizable increase in the number of expats in Basel. Arriving here mainly for jobs in the Life Science industries, they are kept busy with their demanding jobs. Recent estimates put the expat population in the region at approximately 36,000. A situation common for these newcomers is that many stay longer than they anticipated. As such, there is an important need for connecting with locals and for becoming a part of the community. But living in a place does not equal being integrated there.
Many newcomers arrive with good intentions to get involved but end up feeling held back by barriers such as language, social isolation in their daily environment and lack of familiarity with local customs. This leads to limited meaningful contact with locals and stands in the way of mutual understanding. As a result, some locals and expats may view each other with undue caution.
BaselConnect believes that through a focus on an improvement of existing resources, coupled with the development of new ways to bring people together, Basel will be enriched for locals and expats alike. In a time when walls are being built in various parts of the world to keep out foreigners, BaselConnect’s aim is to build bridges to help people benefit from increased interaction with each other.
As our motto, “Promoting collaboration between expats and locals in the Basel region” suggests, BaselConnect is a grassroots association that works to build bridges between locals and newly arrived Expats in Basel. Officially registered as a Verein (association) in June 2012, BaselConnect was really born at a half-day conference held the summer before in 2011. Stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, locals, and expats, were invited. The nearly 150 participants wanted to be actively involved in making a difference to the region. Workshop groups first identified key areas for improvement in resources. A lively roundtable discussion followed during which key decision makers from the public and private sectors pledged financial and personal commitment to the practical implementation of BaselConnect’s vision and to ideas generated from the workshops.
It was the outstanding success and influence of this conference that led to the foundation of BaselConnect, the association.
Our plan for the new website here at baselconnect.flywheelstaging.com will upgrade our previous website at baselconnect.ch by
- providing a platform for Expats in Basel and locals to share events that will help them connect
- sharing stories of the good and the bad experiences of integration
- expanding coverage of the local school system in English, currently at education.baselconnect.ch, by providing a forum for parents to share their experiences as more Basel expats send their children to local schools.
- hosting forums will also allow locals and newcomers to share and discuss topics on various subjects
- providing resources to supplement language studies, including a Basel German word of the week quiz
All this will be free for the community and run by the community. But to make it happen we need volunteers to contribute to and write for the website. If you wish to share stories about expat and locals coming together and to help others share their stories, you can contact me to get started.
Don’t worry, BaselConnect is also active IRL (in real life) with popular get-togethers such as our recurring buddy/mentor socials. The objective of these meetings is for locals and long-term residents to meet, share stories and advice. These events are part of our BaselConnectsPeople working group and are hosted by partners and sponsors such as Academia International School, Lonza, inlingua, Business School Basel, Gymnasium Münsterplatz and others. We also bring people together at several socials throughout the year.
If you have any questions about BaselConnect or would like to get actively involved with building Digital BaselConnect 2.0, please send us an email.
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