If Everyone Does Something to Improve the Living of Other People, We Will Soon Live in a Better World

Evgeniia Marshall joined our core team in January 2021. Her responsibilities include managing the Strategic Volunteering program and creating content for our website and social media platforms. She is excited to take part in driving SIVO’s mission to facilitate newcomers’ integration. We asked her a couple of questions about her and her life in Switzerland.

Who is Evgeniia Marshall?

I am a recent graduate in International Business Administration. Before moving to Switzerland in 2013, I gained experience in information systems quality assurance and project management in Russia. I am married, have a 13-year-old daughter and two cats.

How did your life change since you moved to Switzerland? 

It was a tremendous change for me. When I moved to Switzerland I did not have any friends here. I did not speak any German and my English was pretty bad. In Russia I lived in big cities and Lucerne seemed to me too quiet and slow-paced for the first two years. However, I got accustomed to it and now I find it really nice and comfortable living here. I think, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland. But in the beginning, the transition from Russian to Swiss culture and from a very active lifestyle to one with significantly less social involvement was very tough for me.

Have been living here for seven years, do you feel confident speaking German? 

Not at all. I learned German to B2 level and received a certificate already a long time ago and have barely used it since. I started learning it intensively again last September but then, due to COVID-19, the course was suspended. Now, I meet with three colleagues from my class at home once a week to discuss various topics in German. I also take online lessons with a private teacher. Still, I find it not intensive enough. I do not feel confident speaking German when it is more than just a small talk.

You mentioned that moving here was difficult for you in terms of cultural transition? What did you do to integrate here? 

Yes, personally for me, it was not easy. I never had to network. In Russia, all connections came to me naturally. And here, speaking poor English and no German made it even more difficult. So, first, I learned German through an intensive course and improved my English. Then, I studied three years at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. I also took part in events that my daughter’s schools organized. Now, I feel much more confident and involved. I believe that working for SIVO will help me integrate even further.

So, you joined SIVO in order to integrate better into the local society?

Yes, but not only. At the moment, I have a lot of free time and energy. I feel the need to do something good and give back to the society. I am convinced that if everyone does something to improve the living of other people on the planet, we will soon live in a better world.

Could you tell us more about your interests and hobbies?

My big passions are art and music. I love visiting museums and reading articles about artists and their works. As a child of two pianists I also play piano. I listen to the music of various genres and epochs. I love dancing. Now, I do it only at home because of the pandemic restrictions. Books take a big part of my life. I listen to audio books when I cook or clean, sometimes even while eating. I cannot imagine my life without any physical activity. So, I also try to go jogging and to do yoga every day. 

Check out more about Khaled Hosseini, the writer whose books Evgeniia finds very impressive here.

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