Readers should know that I like to accompany this trip to British TV land with a large cup of Yorkshire Gold and a square of 2 of Cadburys chocolate on some nights, and a glass of Côte du Rhône and a Steak Tartare on others…..
It’s easy for those who go for a more ‘integration’ approach to judge those who don’t, yet if we unpick what is really going on, there are often a number of factors at play. Perhaps the ‘non integrated expat’ is on a short term assignment in their host country, perhaps they struggle with languages and feel out of their depth communicating with locals, perhaps – as many would argue is human nature – they simply feel more ‘connected’ to other expats or those who share the same cultural references (and, of course, language.)
Perhaps they have tried and felt they weren’t getting anywhere. It’s true that for many Brits and other expats from ‘peach cultures’, the ‘coconut culture’ here in Switzerland can be a hard nut to crack (pun intended – you’re welcome.) And if you are wondering why on earth I am banging on about peaches and coconuts, take a read of Diccon Bewes’ ‘Swiss Watching, in which he suggests that ‘peaches’ (Brits, Aussies, Dutch to take some examples) open up easily, whilst ‘coconuts’ (Swiss, Germans, Russians to name but a few) take more work to get to know.