Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Charity Movie Night in favour of Progetto Avventuno

In 2017 IWCL Evening Group is fundraising in favour of Progetto Avventuno, a local charity. A growing local association based in Montagnola with the aim to enhance the possibilities for people with Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) in Ticino.

Avventuno works closely with other organisations, in Switzerland and abroad, to support families and professionals so they can provide the best social and educational setting for young people with Down Syndrome. To reach its objectives the association creates, adapts and translates specific learning tools, selects research, organises events, provides continuing training for professionals and promotes family-centred early intervention.

This is a quick reminder about tonight event. It is still possible to join IWCL last minute to support Progetto Avventuno and watch a lovely movie showing an unexpected journey and unexpected friendship.

Location: Lux Art House (www.luxarthouse.ch), Via Giuseppe Motta 67, 6900 Massagno
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Time: 19:00 (drink with finger food) and 20:00 "Where hope grows" (English)
Price: CHF 30 fee will be donated to www.avventuno.org

Feel free to invite your friends the more we are the better for the charity we are aiming to help. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Is Money the Curse of Art?

Don't miss the next intriguing appointment of the Franklin University Switzerland Lecture Series. Join them for a lecture by Dr. Thomas Girst, Head of Cultural Engagement of the BMW Group. The event is in English and is open to all.

Thomas Girst was born in Trier (DE) in 1971. Following studies in art history, American Studies and German Literature at Hamburg University and New York University, in 2000 he became research manager of the Art Science Research Laboratory in New York. During the same period he was also cultural correspondent for German daily Die Tageszeitung.

As a curator, he organized numerous exhibitions, including “Alive and Kicking: the Collages of Charles Henri Ford” at the Scene Gallery in New York as well as “Marcel Duchamp in Munich 1912” at the Lenbachhaus in Munich.

Since 2003, Dr. Girst is global Head of Cultural Engagement at the BMW Group and is responsible for the strategy, implementation and supervision of hundreds of long-term partnerships in the fields of art, music, design and architecture with major institutions as well as artists worldwide. He teaches at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, as well as at the Academy of Applied Sciences in Zurich.

In 2016, Dr. Girst received the international “European Cultural Manager of the Year” award.

Venue: Lecture by Dr. Thomas Girst: "Is Money the Curse of Art?"
Where: Franklin University Switzerland, Via Ponte Tresa 29, Sorengo
When: Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
Time: 19:00 to 21:00
Entry is free. A reception will follow the lecture.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Facts about waste water

World Water Day is held on March 22nd to raise awareness of the importance of freshwater. It helps bring attention to a crisis faced by millions around the globe – limited access to fresh, clean water.

This year's theme is 'why waste water' and focuses on getting people to stop wasting the valuable resource.

It is estimated that 663 million people live without access to safe water close to their homes. Instead, they must travel long distances or queue for hours to get it. Many also have to cope with contaminated water – and the associated health problems.

The United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22nd as World Water Day in 1993. Since then, campaigns have focused on improving water quality and access to freshwater for people around the world. In 2015 – and as part of the Sustainable Development Goals – a UN Initiative set a target to make sure everyone on the planet has access to safe water by 2030.

It is estimated that by 2030, the demand for water will have increased by 50% – most of which will be from people living in cities. As a result, World Water Day organisers are calling for new approaches to wastewater management.

Facts about waste water:
- At present, more than 80% of wastewater produced is pumped back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
- Despite most of the world's population being expected to live in cities by 2050, most – especially in developing countries – do not have the infrastructure or resources needed to manage wastewater.
- 1.8 billion people (more than a quarter of the world's population) use a source of drinking water that is contaminated by faeces. This places them at risk of a host of deadly diseases including dysentery, cholera and polio.
- It is estimated that unsafe water and poor sanitation kills 842,000 people every year.
- An area of land roughly equivalent to the size of Sri Lanka is irrigated with wastewater or polluted water. This causes health problems in the farmers working on the land, and eventually the people who consume the products they produce.
- Water, sanitation and hygiene could prevent 9.1% of the global disease burden – and an estimated 6.3% of all deaths.
- Improved water sources reduces the number of deaths from diarrhoea by 21%, while improved sanitation can reduce it by 37.5%.
- According to the USGS, the average person uses up to 100 gallons of water per day. 95% of this goes down the drain – meaning each person wastes between 76-95 gallons every day.
- Despite most of the planet being covered by water, most of it is not available for human use. If the Earth's water fitted into a four litre jug, just one tablespoon would be available freshwater.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Swiss hospitality at its best

This weekend brought us back to Switzerland... yet again... for Expat boy needs to make his first grown-up life-changing decision. Where to go after the International Baccalaureate?

To be perfectly honest he is his father's son, total strategic focus albeit sometimes absent-mined when not interested. His two passions: football and hospitality.

For years he has known that his goal was to study Hotel Management in Switzerland, I figured it might be a good idea if he actually visited the campus and surveyed the groundbreaking training in action.

Arriving in Lausanne on a spectacular sunny day with blue skies and gorgeous views across the Lake Leman, we were blown away by the atmosphere, professionalism, efficiency, cleanliness, organization, beauty and of course hospitality of Swiss Higher Education.

The visits to two different institutes provided an opportunity to personally discover the professionalism and excellence the Swiss hospitality training is world-renowned for. Admissions officers, teaching staff and student ambassadors did an outstanding job in demonstrating what Swiss education stands for and how it successfully prepares students for a wide variety of hospitality management careers across the globe.

So much so, that my husband has now decided he wants to go back to study!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Expat with Kids Social Media

Stuck at home with a thigh muscle strain - needless to say the weather is gorgeous and a run would seem like a great idea - I have reverted to streamlining all my social media feeds... et voilà le résultat!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

You say "tomato", I say "tomato"

It's often said that the biggest difference between a British accent and an American one is rhotacism; words in British English have a flat "r" sound, while in American English the sound is rolled.

Of course, this often isn't true, as accents within Britain and America vary so widely. New York and Boston accents, for example, have a flat "r" sound, while Cornish, Scottish and some West Midlands accents are among those in the British Isles to retain the rhotic "r".

So which is the most common English accent?

English is spoken worldwide by around 840 million people, and is the third most-spoken global language after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. It's the mother tongue of 335 million people, and a second language for a further 505 million. As most English speakers don't speak the language natively, that means the most common English accent in the world is probably what is known officially, if imprecisely, as "international English".

So for some Sunday entertainment I thought I'd share the song – “You say tomato, I say tomato” – which defines the major differences and in which we supposedly agree to call the whole thing off... being half American, half British this is the story of my life!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Expats in Switzerland

It might be easy to presume that given the cultural diversity in Switzerland, the local population would be welcoming to foreigners. However, according to Internations survey in 2016, 67% of Expats in Switzerland disagree when asked whether it is easy to make local friends in Switzerland.

While it may be difficult to settle in Switzerland, the quality of life there is still a big bonus for Expats. The country ranks 10th out of 67 countries in the Quality of Life Index.

It is true that the Swiss can be a little private, reluctant to become friends with foreigners but REMEMBER once they DO become your friend it is for life!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How much do you know about International Women’s Day?

What exactly is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It aims to advance gender parity.

When did International Women’s Day start?
The first official International Women’s Day was held in 1911. It was celebrated on March 19 in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Denmark, and was the direct result of the 1910 International Conference of Working Women. At the conference, which took place in Copenhagen, a German woman named Clara Zetkin proposed the idea. Zetkin’s proposal was unanimously approved by the more than100 women in attendance.

So, why do we now celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8?
In 1913, International Women’s Day was officially changed to March 8. March 8, 1917 on the Gregorian calendar was a significant date for Russian women. A women’s strike for “bread and peace” began over the deaths of Russian soldiers in World War I. When the strike concluded four days later, Russian women had won the right to vote under the country’s provisional government.
In 1975, the United Nations began officially celebrating International Women’s Day.

How is International Women’s Day celebrated around the world?
International Women’s Day is celebrated in countries all around the world, including but not limited to the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Japan, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates. Many countries have their own associated traditions. For example, in Italy, women are given bouquets of yellow mimosa flowers.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

How long do you intend to be an Expat?

How long do you intend to be an Expat was the question put out to the community by my favourite blogger 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle. My gut answer would be: it's a mindset as much as it is a formal posting abroad.

Technically I have been an Expat all my life; my family left my native country when I was two. I grew up as a Third World Kid, only at the time I didn't know I belonged to either of these two groups. As a matter of fact I didn't fit in anywhere. All through childhood my two best friends were "misfits" just like me. I realise today "being different" is what we had in common and created a bond that still keeps us close after decades.

My parents didn't see themselves as Expats once they decided to settle in Switzerland, so we simply became foreigners calling Zürich our home surrounded by an enormous Anglo-saxon community.

It was only after I married and moved to Argentina that I started defining myself as an Expat... and this opened up a whole new universe. A world where you dare to step out of what is normal, simply because you don't always realize what is considered normal in your host country. Family and friends are far away which means you need to rely on yourself but this also gives you the freedom to explore and re-invent yourself time and time again depending of your destination.

Now THIS is where I found my fit! Thriving with every move and jumping head first into every new adventure, trailblazing making sure my family could keep up.

Being an Expat to me equals venturing out towards new boundaries, opening yourself up without giving yourself up, embracing changes and rising to challenges. It means pushing yourself that extra bit and making the effort to learn the language, meet the natives and explore the local culture.

You change with every expatriation just like your kids mature after every trip you take them on. Places impact you, people leave a mark, cultures influence your character and age shapes your attitude.

After 10 expatriations - in order to maintain an inquisitive spirit and always walk one step beyond my comfort zone - I have taken an active decision to remain an Expat for life even if it looks as though we are settling down in Paris.

After all an Expat is "a person who lives outside their native country" and although this might be the official definition, for me it's the philosophy that I am hooked on, mustering up the courage and determination to plunge into the unknown, knowing that sometimes it may be a bumpy ride but that the rewards will outweigh the hardship!

I have never been known to be able to resist a positive challenge!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What does it mean to live together in Switzerland?

Why are rubbish bags in Switzerland different colours? Where can you play sports, and what do you need to know when looking for a job or going to school? These are some of the questions newcomers to Switzerland are confronted with. A new app from swissinfo.ch and the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation provides the answers through an interactive quiz game and online resources.

“Together”, as the app is called, is available for free in seven languages: English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic. It allows users to test their knowledge, learn new information and challenge other players in 10 quiz categories ranging from jobs to Swiss landmarks.

The app contains more than 300 questions with more questions and categories to be released in the coming weeks and months. Users who have more questions of their own about daily life in Switzerland can submit those to the team behind the appexternal link to have them researched, answered and included in the quiz. How cool is that?!?

Swissinfo.ch and the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation decided to produce the “together” app to address newcomers’ desire to integrate into Swiss society and learn more about daily life in the country. Its content is largely based on swissinfo.ch’s “Switzerland How To” external link offering, which provides information about daily life in Switzerland in 10 languages. So, if you haven't checked it out yet hop over and go browsing!

Together is a playful way to test your knowledge, learn new things and find useful information. Together, we are Switzerland.

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