A second home

With Dubai playing host to a potpourri-like mix of nationalities, the number of Swiss natives residing and working in the city has also seen a considerable increase.

By Davina Raisinghani

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Published: Thu 31 Jul 2008, 11:06 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:15 PM

Ludivine Soenmez, a Sales Executive at the Movenpick Hotel, Bur Dubai, discusses the details of her experience in Dubai so far, as a working woman of a Swiss ethnic background, and her plans for the Swiss National Day, which she’ll spend away from her country and family, this year.

How long you have been living in Dubai?

Actually, I was here three years ago. I was a student at the Swiss School of Tourism in Switzerland. For our studies, we had to complete a year-long internship. So I spent six months here in Dubai, as a management trainee, and six months in Germany. I really enjoyed my experience here, so I decided to come back here, about a year ago, back in July 2007.

What is it like working in such a multi-cultural environment?

It’s a big challenge from time to time. It’s not always easy, because we don’t have the same manner of thinking.We have different ideas, which is good too, because we make a creative team.We come from such different cultures, that it really brings something positive to the hotel, so I think it’s a plus. Even though sometimes we can clash on some points, it’s always positive in the end.

Is it a challenge, living in Dubai, with so many different nationalities?

On the road, it’s definitely a big challenge, because we see the different ways of driving.

But we have to adapt ourselves. Otherwise, I really like to eat the different kinds of food and meet the different kinds of people.

How is the Swiss National Day celebrated in Switzerland?

There are lots of decorations on all the balconies in all the buildings in the villages and the houses.We all have Swiss flags outside our houses. On the First of August, in the evening, families from the village meet each other in the centre of the village. There are fireworks, there’s music, there’s traditional food and a good atmosphere.We meet new neighbors and just mingle.

Unfortunately, it rains a lot, so sometimes, we just party at home with the family.

What are you doing on August 1?

I will definitely be here, at our hotel, at the event organised by the Swiss Business Council, to meet other Swiss people.

It’s always interesting to see who’s living here. Sometimes, I’m surprised to find people from my city here.

So, how would you say your overall experience in Dubai has been so far?

It’s definitely been a good one and I’m positive the future years will also be good.


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