Expat groups explore and bring their events to Zurich West, whether it be filling hotel bars , concerts or quirky bars and restaurants.
After deciding to occasionally write for this blog I thought it would be a good idea to start looking for expat events taking place here in the district that never sleeps. As far as I know there are two groups that are very active in Zurich, Internations and Glocals, both with strong communities however with Internations currently offering more in Züri West.
I signed up to Internations and it didn't take long for me to come across my first expat event in Zurich West. The event was to take place in Les Halles and I showed up not knowing what to expect. Unfortunately I have to admit that I hadn't read the event description very well which I realised soon after my arrival at the location. The group meeting was a Rheinland group and needless to say all who attended had some direct connection with the Rheinland area in Germany however due to the fact that I’m very comfortable in German and those attending were very nice and sociable I had a great time. I would be lying by not saying their common question seemed to be “what does this Aussie have to do with the Rheinland? ” , and my answer being “absolutely nothing and next time I may be a little more careful in reading more about the event description “.
The next event I believe was less than a week later. Learning from my mistakes I very carefully investigated the group description and also looked into who would be attending from this " Hotel Bar Group", quite self explanatory. It seemed quite an interesting concept and as hotels play such an important role in Zurich West, quite an appropriate choice for my second event. Even though I pass the Hotel Sheraton daily I never had the opportunity to visit this location and experience what this hotel had to offer. Those who arrived early could visit the rooms, conference facilities and end up at the bar with the rest of those attending. At the bar snacks were organised and almost immediately conversation developed between people who were mostly total strangers to one another. Perhaps 20 people were at this event with nationalities like English, German , Hungarian , Chinese, Slovakian , Italian and Australian of course being represented. Professions ranging from Retail, Banking, Hotel, medical, Real Estate and psychology to create basis for fun interesting and intellectual conversation. Many were quite new to Zurich and were interested to learn more about what this part of town had to offer allowing me to be totally in my element.
My schedule didn’t allow me to attend everything and thus missed concerts in Bogen F, Exile and World cup get togethers just to name a few. I had heard from others that these organisations plan some much larger official events and when I saw that one of these was to take place at the Lucid Bar in the Renaissance Hotel I immediately signed up. Within no time the guest list had reached its maximum of 350 guests, wow. The day arrived and after 7pm the bar started to fill as expats collected their name tags, free drink token and a piece of cake. I not only had the feeling many hadn’t resided in Zurich very long but also that they were quite unaware of the this special urban living feeling they were experiencing on this side of town. Even though it was hard to mix with everyone I must say the diversity seemed much greater. Due to the size of the event there were not only expats attending but also people from our area wishing to network and share the one common interest , Züri West which is not just a famous Swiss band from Bern. Perhaps 70% of those who had signed up made it , quite a normal attendance ratio for such events and from 7:00pm until midnight , the drinks kept being poured and friendships were being created.
For those not familiar with Internations it is a world wide expat community consisting of over 3 million members. There goal being to bring the expats together in the different cities of the world, helping with the integration into their new home. Some may say how can attending expat events help with the integration? Moving to a new City gives you feelings of excitement but can also be quite a scary experience. Scary from not knowing how things are done here, whether you will fit in feelings of loneliness. These organisations bring those who know what needs to be done in contact with those who don’t.
I shall continue to be attending events from both these communities, if anyone is interested in finding out more then just send me a message, perhaps I may even start a group that just visits locations in our Züri West, see you soon.