It’s a Small World: Internationality at Metrohm Headquarters
This year is all about the different people and cultures behind Metrohm all over the world. But at last year’s holiday celebration at Metrohm Headquarters, our CEO Christoph Fässler presented an interesting statistic: at our site in Herisau alone, 26 nationalities are represented. For such a small town, I find this quite impressive. So I decided to talk to some people from different countries to find out what brought them here and how they experience living and working in Switzerland.
Portugal: Anabela Lousada
I’m going to start with a person very close to my heart because she’s a truly good soul and radiates such positivity, it makes my day everytime I see her: Anabela. Anabela belongs to our cleaning staff, which isn’t outsourced here at Headquarters—they are part of the Metrohm team.
Anabela left her hometown, Vila Real in Northern Portugal, and came to Herisau almost 27 years ago when her then-husband got a job here. «The beginning was very difficult», she recalls «because I didn’t know German and I didn’t have a job. I was used to moving around freely in Portugal, and back then I couldn’t do that in Switzerland.» In 2005, Anabela joined Metrohm. Today she feels fully integrated and very happy in Switzerland. And with her two daughters who were born here, she can’t imagine leaving anytime soon.
Morocco: Razek Morchide
Razek actually doesn’t count into the statistic: he was naturalized a while ago and is now Swiss (meaning that, while there are 26 nationalities at our site, there are even more countries of origin!). But the Moroccan-born still identifies as Moroccan—after all, he lived in Morocco until he was 22.
When he came to Switzerland in 1997, Razek first lived in Montreux, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Having learned French in Morocco, he could integrate easily: «The first time in Switzerland was a lot of fun. I met a lot of great people and this first encounter with Europe after coming from Africa was very interesting for me.»
In 2005, Razek joined Metrohm’s print shop. His life is now in Switzerland: His wife is from here and they have 2 children. Also, Razek simply likes living in Switzerland: «I like the cleanliness and the order», he says.
Russia: Alexander Kadenkin
From the land of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky (and my personal favorite, Nabokov), Alexander has made it to Metrohm’s Competence Center Spectroscopy in Herisau after a stopover in my home country: when he was 16, he and his mother moved from Russia to Germany. «It was a difficult time for me», Alexander explains. «I had to leave my friends behind to move to a country whose language I didn’t know. Also, I already had a bit of a career plan: I wanted to study economics and was going to a special highschool that prepared me for this. When I came to Germany, I had to make new plans.»
After finishing highschool in Germany, Alexander ended up studying chemistry in Hamburg and getting a Ph.D. in Berlin. He moved to Switzerland and joined Metrohm 2 years ago. «I’ve lived in 3 countries so far. Each one has advantages and disadvantages—the big disadvantage of Switzerland is that there’s no seashore. But you simply have to learn to live with the disadvantages make the most out of the advantages.»
Australia: Michael Seargent
For us here in Switzerland, Australia is truly at the other end of the world. So I find it quite extraordinary that we have an Australian colleague here in Herisau. Michael was 21 when he first left Australia for a longer time to go backpacking—for 4 years. «I worked on the Mediterranean Sea, in Central America, and in Alaska, among others», he remembers. In Guatemala, he met his wife, who’s from Switzerland.
After living in Australia together for 11 years, they moved to Switzerland in 2005. Then, in March of last year, Michael joined Metrohm’s Global IT department. «But only after sailing across the Atlantic», he adds. Michael enjoys that at our headquarters, there are always people visiting from all over the world, and he gets to travel a lot for his job, too. «I like meeting people from different cultures, so this is perfect for me.»
Switzerland: Felix Bischof
Felix was born and raised in eastern Switzerland, not far from Herisau, and has worked at Metrohm’s print shop for over a decade. For Felix, the internationality at Metrohm is an enrichment: «On the one hand, I like that we’re an international company and work together with subsidiaries and distributors all over the world—even though we, at the print shop, usually don’t have direct contact with them. Even just printing a brochure in Japanese once in a while is a pleasure for me», he says. «On the other hand, having so many different nationalities represented at our site is a privilege. Even when you’re not out traveling, you’re surrounded by all these different cultures and it just makes everything more interesting.»