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Migrating for Love

The power of love is irrefutable. It is a driving force of orientation in life and one of the biggest sources of inspiration. In this globalized world, the commitment and devotion to a relationship can lead to moving countries and crossing cultures. This research study aims to look at how migrating partners adapt in Switzerland.

Adaptation of immigrating partners


Global mobility defines our modern day world. Living in another country and adapting to a new society, often another culture and language, comes with personal effort. This adaptation may enrich a person with multi-culturalism and a second home. 

Yet, even after years of living in a country "feeling at home" isn’t always a given. The overall process of balancing a new second culture with the first one, learning about the second one and adapting to it, is called acculturation. On an individual level, adaptations that occur are not only cultural, but also psychological and social.

Switzerland is known for stability and a high quality of life. Although its population is highly multicultural, consisting of almost a third of foreigners, surveys such as Expat Insider suggest that adapting and developing a sense of belonging in Switzerland may be difficult for voluntary migrants.

Partners who choose to move country out of devotion and commitment to a relationship not only leave family, friends, and social networks behind, but often jobs and professional careers. Finding employment or continuing/changing career in the new country can be difficult. Also, being foreign-born makes them more vulnerable to discrimination and therefore, more susceptible to the feeling of being treated unfairly. Such challenges and experiences may not only affect well-being, but also the sense of belonging to the new country. On the other hand, social support has shown to reduce stress of adjusting to new cultural environments, and thus promoting well-being during cross-cultural transitions.

Fact Sheet

Project title : Migrating for Love

Data Collection : starting January 2022

Project Leader : Erica Chew Howard

External Expert : PD Dr. Yoon Phaik Ooi


With this project, we aim to examine how English speaking migrating partners are adapting to living in Switzerland, if they develop a sense of belonging or not, and what role their social support network play. We particularly look at challenges migrating partners might face, such as finding paid employment and the feeling of being discriminated. Furthermore, we evaluate the roles of internal (e.g., resilience) and external (e.g., social support) resources in the process of adapting to Switzerland.

Online Survey

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In line with Open Science, published material connected to this research project will be linked here.


Project leader

  Erica Chew Howard

Erica Chew Howard

Coordination Research and Development
Researcher ...

+41 (0) 58 934 83 85

External expert

PD Dr. Yoon Phaik Ooi
University of Basel

Project leader of University of Basel’s Home Abroad Study