Patrik Strebel, USA

Patrik Strebel, USA

 

How connected to Switzerland do you feel?

I feel very tightly connected with Switzerland, reading Swiss newspapers daily and maintaining close relationships with friends and family. I travel back to Switzerland 2-3 times a year.

 

When was the last time you felt really proud or ashamed of Switzerland?

Mostly I feel proud of my home country. The Swiss model serves as a good example of how to balance liberal and conservative values in a direct democracy. Events like soccer world championship qualification, Roger’s tennis performance, ranking on top of lists such as “most attractive country”, “happiest country” etc. add to my pride for Switzerland

 

How is Switzerland perceived abroad or in the country where you live?

Switzerland enjoys an extremely positive reputation in the US. Most of the people I meet have loved their trips there are wished they could go visit one day. The positive perception is driven by the admiration for Switzerland’s economic, cultural and social achievements. And for the foodies amongst my friends, nothing beats a Fondue, Raclette and the enjoyment of a good piece of Chocolate.

 

What do the bilateral agreements and treaties bring to Switzerland? What positive or negative experiences have you had in this regard?

The bilateral agreements seem to once again be a good example of how a country can retain it’s own identity while not being locked out of a broader society. From an outside-in perspective, I have not observed any negative experiences.

 

How are these bilateral agreements and treaties seen in the country where you live?

In the US, people admire the country’s ability to strive within a larger economy based on bilateral agreements.  

 

What does the free movement of persons bring to Switzerland? What aspects could be dealt with better here? Are you personally taking advantage of this freedom?

It opens up the economy and fosters cultural diversity. Of course, there are side-effects of abuse, but Switzerland seems to be able to balance pro and con while mitigating the risks. It always strikes me how easy it is to get in and out of the country for my foreign friends who travel with me. No formality at customs, just a friendly smile from the border control. Based on the federalist system, the communities handle the influx of foreigners very well and take advantage of the gained cultural mix. The negative events that make the headlines don’t overshadow the upside of a truly free country.

 

What are the benefits of dual citizenship in your view?

It allows to engage at the political level in the host country while maintaining the ties with my home country. In my view, obtaining citizenship in the host country promotes the identification and connection with the local culture and politics.

 

 

 

From 10-12 August 2018, the 96th Congress of the Swiss Abroad will take place in Visp on the theme of "Switzerland without Europe – Europe without Switzerland". For the occasion, the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad presents portraits of the Swiss abroad related to the congress theme in order to find out more about their impressions of life as Swiss living abroad and their view of international cooperation between their countries of origin and residence.

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