Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

"When witches go riding, and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers, 'tis near Halloween."

Monday, October 29, 2018

Chestnut muffin recipe: it's a classic

The chestnut is typical Ticino product. The local custom has the children collecting chestnuts in the woods this time of year to roast or to create decorations. Chestnuts are used as flour, bread, cakes, pasta, jam, oatmeal and even schnapps. It is also used in recipes for marron glacé or to accompany a delicious platter of game. Throughout the streets of Lugano the flavour of roasted chestnuts accompanies these autumn days.

The chestnut muffin recipe is a classic and I post it every year. Kids love it and it's fast and easy to make. Given the bad weather and as the forecast doesn't seem promising baking is a great way to entertain the little ones at home.

250gr melted butter
250gr sugar
200gr ground almonds
300gr of chestnut purée
4 eggs

1.) Mix egg yolks with sugar
2.) Add melted butter, ground almonds and the chestnut purée
3.) Mix well
4.) Whisk egg whites until peaked
5.) Add egg whites delicately to the chestnut mixture
6.) Pour into muffin mold filled with muffin cases
7.) Bake in preheated oven at 200°C for about 30 minutes.

Bon Appetito!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Expat with Kids ... 8 years and still going strong!

It all started with an English online guide to the lovely city of Lugano. My blog baptised "Expat with Kids" was the first of its kind back in 2010. I am by far not the only kid on the block any longer but still blog with great pleasure about the part of Switzerland which I used to call home for nearly five years. 

Today is "Expat with Kids" eight year anniversary and I am proud to have kept a piece of home alive and even branched out to Expat with Kids in Paris!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

It's chestnut time: discover the trail

It's Chestnut time and what better way to enjoy the sunny autumn weather than with a healthy hike?

The Chestnut Path is a thematic path about 15 km long (9,5 km if you choose the shorter route) in the high region of the area, known as Alto Malcantone. The trail winds through the woods and explores the land of chestnut trees! Besides revealing woods, crops, chestnut trees, the trail accompanies you through pleasant surroundings and a harmonious landscape where nature stands out in all its splendour.

The itinerary offers you several panoramic spots and the possibility of admiring the architectural details of certain picturesque villages that this very special excursion joins together. Several didactic points, simply marked on the ground and amply illustrated in a separate brochure, may be found along the way. You can even cover just short legs of this trail.

The path is marked with the symbol of a chestnut, which is visible on all of the yellow signs. The signs along the pathway are interrupted at the intersection where the trail meets the Cantonal road. After having crossed the street, the trail continues, as can be seen by following the pertinent signs marking the path.

Join the local tradition and pick some chestnuts along the way for arts and crafts. Have fun!

Difficulty: easy
Thematic itinerary: Arosio - Breno: 2 h 50 min / 9.5 km / Altitude difference 444-484 m
Hiking circuit: Arosio-Mugena-Vezio-Fescoggia-Breno-Caroggio-Arosio: 4 h 20 min / 15.1 km / Altitude difference 626-627 m
Important: All of the locations along this path may be reached by using public transportation.
For more info click here:

Click here for the map:

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Lugano at 360°

For all of you feeling slightly homesick and missing Lugano, click on the link below the photo and set your computer setting to fullscreen. This panorama shot will blow your mind.

I've also added one from Valle Maggia for some hiking inspiration.

Find many more under:

A 360° view from the Villa Favorita

Pundit near Cevio in the Maggia valley

Monday, October 22, 2018

7 Swiss Expat types

A survey published by InterNations, is the first comprehensive expat typology that has categorized Swiss people who live and work in another country into seven types, covering 86% of expats.

It includes types such as Go-Getters, who move abroad to boost their career, Optimisers, who are searching for a better life abroad, and Romantics, who move abroad for love. I am definitely the latter!

With close to one in five Swiss expats (18%) being categorised as Optimisers who move abroad for a better quality of life, this type makes up the largest share out of all Swiss expats.

On a global scale, however, Go-Getters are the most common expat type (21%), compared with just 13% of the Swiss. They move abroad for work-related reasons and dedicate a lot of their time to their jobs.

On the other hand, Swiss expats are more likely to be Foreign Assignees sent abroad by their employer than the global average (16% vs. 10%). Despite their great career options, this type of expat often plans to return home at some point and finds it hard to make new friends.

This is not the case for Explorers, who find it easy to settle in abroad, and Romantics, who are very likely to be mainly friends with local residents. The former relocates abroad looking for an adventure or challenge, while the latter makes the move for love.

Out of all Swiss expats, 13% are categorised as Explorers (vs. 12% globally) and 14% as Romantics (vs. 12% globally).

According to the survey, a quarter of Swiss expats are single, 51% are male and their average age is 50.9.

Travelling Spouses also move abroad to be with their partner, but they often struggle to feel at home abroad and face poor career prospects. Now this might be a cliché?!?

Lastly, Students are highly educated and move abroad for school or university. They are also the most likely to speak the local language very well. These two types make up the smallest share among both the most common Swiss expat types and the world’s most common expat types.

“The Seven Most Common Expat Types among Swiss Abroad and across the World” was based on the insights of more than 18,000 expats living in 187 countries and territories in InterNation’s annual Expat Insider survey.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Franklin University in Lugano makes Forbes list

Franklin University Switzerland (FUS) has been included by Forbes in their list of Top U.S. Colleges With Branches Overseas. Also mentioned in the list of twelve universities are NYU’s campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, Yale NUS, Georgetown University in Qatar, Temple University Japan, and several other notable and prestigious institutions.

According to Franklin President Greg Warden, “Our inclusion in this group demonstrates that Franklin is a leader in international education both as a study abroad destination and as top degree-granting university accredited both in Switzerland and the United States. It is great to be recognized by Forbes for our achievements."

While FUS has its roots in the U.S. and provides a U.S. style of liberal arts education, it actually is an independent Swiss-American university, not a branch campus. It was founded in Switzerland as Franklin College in 1969, and continues to provide a unique, personalized, and international education combining the best of both countries.

It is accredited in the United States by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and in Switzerland by the Swiss Accreditation Council. It counts 337 students from 59 different countries: North America (52.4%), Latin America and the Caribbean (6.3%), Europe (25.3%), Asia (5.0%), Middle East, North Africa, and Greater Arabia (9.7%), Sub-Saharan Africa (1.5%) and Australia and Oceania (0.5%).

For more information, click here:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

7 facts about Swiss education

Education in Switzerland is not only unconventional compared to many other nations but also compulsory. With a wide variety of schools ranging from local Swiss schools to private schools to bilingual schools to international schools, the education standards are extremely high and, much like Switzerland itself, anything but boring.

1.) The education system of Switzerland is largely decentralized. There exists 26 cantons, which are overseen by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). However, each canton creates and implements its own standards.

2.) Switzerland is ranked number nine out of 65 nations and economies in a recent OECD/PISA survey of educational standards among 15-year-olds.

3.) Most Swiss children (80%) go to local schools which are free and have a great reputation outside of the country. Local schools teach in the language of their cantons, so a foreign child might expect some language tests at the very beginning.

4.) You can find French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Swedish schools in most of the big cities in the country. In private schools, you can expect extended hours, smaller classrooms, more freedom and more extracurricular activities than in the local schools, however, they can be quite expensive.

5.) Compulsory education lasts for 9–11 years, with some children beginning compulsory education when they are four years old and others at six years, until about 15 years old.

6.) The structure of Switzerland’s system begins with primary education (a sort of kindergarten), then a lower secondary education followed by an upper secondary education, which may even include vocational training. The highest level, tertiary level education, is university level or higher education.

7.) For enrolment in a local primary school, you will need: a birth certificate, health and accident insurance, residence permit and sometimes proof of accommodation (a lease contract can be used).

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Open Day at the Int'l School of Ticino

Well, it looks like the Ticino is in for some competition on the International school market... and it's about time!

The International School of Ticino is committed to providing an excellent International education. They are the first and only accredited International Baccalaureate (IB), Primary Years Programme (PYP) School in Ticino with exciting plans for growth and development as an IB school.

The school now accommodates students from Kindergarten (3 years old) to Grade 5 (11 years old), where the students are facilitated and encouraged to become lifelong learners.

The opening of a new campus in January 2019 will enable the International school of Ticino to open middle and high schools, and will become a candidate school for the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP). This means children from the age of 3-18 will be studying  at the school in the coming years.

The International School of Ticino is a special and exciting place to be and they look forward to welcoming you for a school visit at their open day on October 16th, 2018. Click here for more info:

Venue: Open Day at the International School of Ticino
Where: International School of Ticino, Via Girella 4, 6814 Lamone
Phone: +41/919710344
Date: Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Higher Education in Switzerland

Applying to colleges and universities is an exciting and revealing experience which gives you a chance to look at who you are, what you value, and what you might want to do with your life. It can also be a complicated, demanding, and time consuming process.  There are counselors to help guide, support, and counsel students and parents as you research schools, make choices, select and visit universities, and complete applications.

StudyinSwitzerland+ is an official website provided by the Rectors’ Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions. The new platform is dedicated to international students and their families and offers a complete overview of the university educational offer in Switzerland and many other useful information.

Recognized as one of the best education systems in the world, Switzerland offers, with its 12 universities, 8 universities of applied sciences and 20 high educational schools, over 3’000 degree programs, which more than 700 are taught in English.

In addition to information on educational programs, you will find practical information about living in this multilingual, multicultural country. Welcome to Switzerland!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

De Chasperli isch wieder da

When I was a little girl... I was lucky to own a record player. At Christmas I would ask for story records which I would listen to over and over and over again!

This is for all of you who grew up in the Swiss German part of Switzerland and can relate to these children's tales. It is definitely a blast from the past... and it put a huge smile on my face today!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Swiss village to become a hotel

There's been a lot of international interest in a Swiss project lately, with visitors keen to immerse themselves into local village life. And in 2017, the project even won the Swiss hotel and restaurant association Gastrosuisse's Hotel Innovation Award. However, there are some question marks as to the feasibility of the project located in the Ticino.

Have you heard of the Fondazione Corippo 1975?

The tiny mountain village of Corippo, arranged higgledy-piggledy on the green slopes of the Verzasca valley, looks like something out of a fairytale. It is effectively Switzerland's smallest municipality.

What was once a thriving farming community of around 300 people has dwindled to just 12 residents, 11 of whom are over 65. Today, the only economic activity in the town is the local osteria, a rustic restaurant.

A local foundation, Fondazione Corippo 1975, has come up with a novel way to save the village: Corippo is set to become the country's first "albergo diffuso," or scattered hotel, which means around 30 of the village's 70 buildings - slate-roofed, built from local Ticino granite, and centuries-old - are to be converted into vacation cottages and hotel rooms.

The first "rustico" cottage, the two-bedroom Casa Arcotti, opened to guests in July 2018, while the hotel is scheduled to open at Easter 2020.

So, I am keeping my eyes and ears open to see what the future brings, meanwhile, check out Valle Vezasca's other "rustici" for rent:

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