Stéphanie is a tri-lingual psychologist born and trained in Brazil, with diplomas recognized in France and Switzerland. She is certified by the Swiss Federation of Psychologists (FSP) and currently works in Biel/Bienne. Stéphanie has experience in treating issues related to autism, developmental and language disorders, and anxiety, among others.

When did you arrive in Switzerland and what was that like?

I moved to Switzerland in 2019, after 5 years living in France. Although I’ve already been to Switzerland before and have family here, I felt a big change in my everyday life. Visiting a country is quite different from living in it!

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Brazil, with a family of many different roots: German and Brazilian grandmothers, Swiss and French grandfathers. It is not uncommon to have a mix of languages at family gatherings! I had the opportunity to grow with a variety of cultural influences, so I don’t fully identify with only one country.

What are some of the things you enjoy about living here?

I started to appreciate and approach nature in a different way. I gradually reduced the size of the cities where I lived in: from over 10 million people in São Paulo, to 2 million in Paris and 50 thousand in Biel/Bienne! Despite missing the hectic life sometimes, I learned to appreciate hiking on the mountain, picking strawberries in the Summer, swimming in the lake and skiing in the Winter.

What do you find challenging?

The process of creating a network of friends and close people… which takes times when you move countries so often! One requires patience when establishing roots, making connections, and understanding the cultural differences, as well as, the differing cultural rules of coexistence. While challenging at times, I see moving to a different community as an opportunity to remind myself not to shy away from asking for help.

What is one thing about your native culture that you wish you could access here in Switzerland?

Certainly the food! In Brazil, culture revolves around food and the act of sharing it with others. We even have an expression that goes “add more water to the bean stew” for when an unexpected guest arrives at your house so that they may partake in the meal as well. And the food is always marked by many mixtures – salad, meats, fruits, vegetable roots … they are colorful and festive dishes!

Do you have any words of wisdom for new arrivals?

Moving to a new country requires patience and adaptability, but it is also an opportunity to get to know yourself in a different way and prioritize what is fundamental to you. Finding landmarks – like a coffee place, a favorite park bench or a cultural center – can help you connect with the country and feel at home more quickly.

Stéphanie Goffaux’s Website