“It’s hard to listen to a Swiss complain”
Professional mountain biker Ariane Lüthi has lived in South Africa for eight years. As a woman, the 35-year-old says she has had to fight harder there than in Switzerland. She thinks that Swiss who have never travelled don’t appreciate how much Switzerland has achieved when it comes to societal issues.
My job: I became a professional mountain biker through my ex-husband. I’ve been lucky to celebrate some good successes during my career. I will probably never be rich in terms of money, but I love my job. It has enriched my life with beautiful, intense memories which have made me a happier person at the end of the day.
My South Africa: Being a mountain biker, the dry and warm weather is a great advantage to clock up the miles without catching a cold. But the biggest difference to Switzerland is probably South Africa’s cultural diversity, which is much greater than at home. There is a reason why South Africa is known as the rainbow nation.
My Switzerland: The Swiss are extremely well off. As poverty is pretty rare in Switzerland, people don’t really value what they have. Once you have seen how people can be happy with very little, it’s hard to listen to a Swiss complain. Looking at how wealthy Switzerland is, I think we should do more to alleviate the great suffering in the world.
My heart: When I left Switzerland and got married soon afterwards, I thought I’d probably stay in South Africa. Now that I’m divorced, I’m contemplating Swiss residency again. I miss my Swiss friends, my family, chatting away in Swiss German and the beautiful Alps, which I miss in the South.
The original interview was published on swissinfo.ch, the online service of the Swiss Broadcasting Company, which is available in ten languages. Do you live abroad too? Then tag your Instagram photos #WeAreSwissAbroad.