Within the first month or two of my arrival, I chanced upon the “Typically Swiss” seminar given by Kathy Hartmann- Campbell, co-founder and chair of BaselConnect. She talked about the natural mistrust that Swiss have of strangers (even among themselves) and how this mistrust, combined with their effort not to invade anyone’s privacy, can mean that they view any foreigner moving into their building with suspicion.
ATTENDING A DINNER
Without you, the eater, there is no reason for DinnerConnect! Attending a dinner is also a great way to determine if hosting a dinner could be for you. Regardless, past experience has shown that the dinners are a great place to make new connections. Maybe you’ll find your new Chinese Medicine practioner, a hiking buddy, someone who speaks your language or shares your enthusiasm.
To enable the host to appropriately plan, registration for a dinner closes one week in advance. This also allows time for payments to be made. If you decide after that that you would like to attend, please email email@example.com and we will discuss with the host if it is possible.
Making a Payment
Payment is required to hold your seat at the table. The most convenient way to do this is via bank transfer. Either the DinnerConnect coordinator or the host will be in touch with you to share the IBAN number. In exceptional cases, it may be possible to pay cash the evening of the event, but this must be agreed in advance.
The location of dinner and the contact information of the host will be shared with you upon confirmation.
The meal is at the discretion of the host, however to ensure that everyone goes home full and happy, we will ask you in advance if you have any food allergies or strong preferences. Meals include an apero and all beverages, including wine.
HOSTING A DINNER
The success of DinnerConnect depends on volunteers willing to open their homes and prepare meals for BaselConnect members & interested non-members. The DinnerConnect coordinator will work with you from the beginning to make it as easy as possible so that all you have to focus on is the food!
Setting a Date
DinnerConnect has the goal of one dinner every other month. If you are interested in hosting, we will work with you to find a date that fits your schedule best. Once the date is determined, we will publicize it using the BaselConnect newsletters, Facebook & LinkedIn and other trusted sources.
Food & Drink
You are welcome to prepare whatever meal you would like to. The payment includes a small apero; all beverages (including wine or beer) and the food, so your meal plans should include the same.
If you are interested in hosting an event that is not a meal (ex. a potluck, etc.), please be in touch! We will work with you to create something that works for you and BaselConnect.
Handling Reservations and Payments
People interested in dinner will be directed to email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then ask them to commit to dinner by reserving their seat with a payment. Depending on your preference, that payment can be made directly to your bank account (using your IBAN number), or to the DinnerConnect Coordinator’s account. In the case you choose the latter, the Coordinator will discuss with you how you want to receive money (ex. the night of the dinner in case, electronic transfer in advance).
The Coordinator will keep a master list of everyone who has signed up and paid for dinner. This information will be given to the club Treasurer following the event.
It is a requirement from BaselConnect leadership that receipts for the food purchases be submitted. We ask you to keep these as you do your shopping and then provide them to the Coordinator after the event has taken place. We are very pragmatic on this point. If you have concerns, please ask – this does not need to be a reason not to host dinner. 😉
1. What is the goal of DinnerConnect?
The goal of DinnerConnect is to allow expats and locals the chance to socialize with one another in a relaxed and casual setting over great food.
2. How often does DinnerConnect take place?
DinnerConnect takes place approximately every other month.
3. Why do I have to pay in advance?
This enables the host to cover the cost for the food and drink that will be required. Additionally, it helps us confirm, in advance, how many people are going to attend. Finally, by paying in advance, you are making a commitment that you will come. Once your payment has been received, you will be given the address and contact information of the host.
4. What if I get sick and can’t come?
In this case, please send an email to email@example.com. We will work with you to either sign you up for the following event or refund your money.
5. Can I bring other people with me?
You are welcome to bring people with you! Everyone should, however, be signed up and paid for in advance.
6. What do I get for my money?
The host will provide a small apero, dinner and dessert. As well, all drinks, including wine with the meal, are included.
7. Can you tell me what is on the menu before I sign up?
The menu is at the discretion of the host. In the event the host has decided well in advance what to cook, it may be able to share this information in advance. However, we would encourage you to take the opportunity to meet new people even if you don’t know – consider it a welcome surprise!
8. What about my food allergies?
You will be asked at the time you sign-up to inform us of any allergies or food limitations. In the event the host cannot accommodate these, you will be informed in advance and your payment, if already made, refunded.
9. How many people usually attend?
This depends very much on the host, their comfort preparing food for groups and the size of their table. It is typically between 6 and 10.
10. Does it have to be dinner? Can I host a potluck instead?
If you are interested in hosting an event that is not a meal, please be in touch! We will work with you to create something that works for you and BaselConnect.
...even if I don’t need anything
“The Swiss don’t like foreigners. They are not very open and it’s hard to get in contact with them.” I was warned before we emigrated to ‘die Schweiz’, but not afraid. Most of the people who warned me had never spent a lot of time in Switzerland. Additionally I am also used to hearing stereotypes. I am from Holland (“The Dutch are rude and too direct”) and I am married to an Englishman (“The English are always drunk”). We have moved internationally a bit already, so when we arrived in July 2014 with our two young kids in Basel I was expecting everything and nothing.
Open, funny, curious and proud
But wow: what a warm welcome from the locals. We had not experienced anything like this before. I find the Swiss funny, open and curious and proud of their country. Of course I put some effort into making contact with my neighbours and neighbourhood. However, if you try (and you don’t have to try that hard), you will surprised what you get back.