Better in a team – How sport fosters integration
Sport is effective in many different ways. It makes you happy, keeps you fit, promotes team spirit and contributes to integration. We have taken a closer look at the Swiss sports scene: In this country, over 22,000 sports clubs and impressive projects ensure further integration.
Did you know that the players in the Swiss national team come from 21 different countries? And it's not just the national team; many famous sports teams demonstrate how successful integration can be. And smaller Swiss sports clubs and projects also focus on cultural diversity.
Sport opens many doors and brings people together
The goal of integration is to offer everyone the same chance to participate in society; whether that's in the workplace, at school, or during leisure activities like sports. Many people from a migrant background who have lived in Switzerland for a long time see taking part in sport as a matter of course. Others are reliant upon support and "door openers". And that is precisely where sport comes in.
Sport Speaks a Universal Language
Sport is one of the most popular leisure activities so it attracts lots of different people. Sport is an easy way to make new friends, to improve your language skills and to receive social recognition away from school or work.
If you have ever secured a victory with your sports team, you will know what it feels like: the exultation and the wonderful feeling of having achieved something fantastic together. People are united when they experience emotions together.
Above all, playing sports in groups or as part of a club is an easy way to meet people in an informal environment. Even if you don't speak the language very well, you can still kick a ball around, go on a bike ride or play tennis. Put simply, sport speaks a universal language.
Sport Projects That Foster Integration
The easier it is to access sports provision, the easier it is for people from a migrant background to take part. Open structures in particular make integration easier. Sport Union Schweiz's "MIMUKI" project shows how it can work: families from a migrant background are encouraged to take part in parent and child fitness exercises in clubs.
The "Laureus Street Soccer" project also demonstrates how successful intercultural teams can be. Young people aged between ten and 21 can take part in the open, intercultural street soccer league. Street football days take place regularly in Bern, Basel, Zurich, Oberwallis, Emmen and in the St. Galler Rheintal.
The Swiss Sports Scene
Are you new to Switzerland or do you want to make new friends? And do you want to play sport with other people? Switzerland has a lively sports club scene with more than 22,000 sports clubs on offer. www.sportvereine.ch provides a good overview of what's on offer. There is something for almost everyone: basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey and curling, fencing, football, karate, volleyball or water sports are just some of the many types of sports offered by Swiss sports clubs.
Discover what exciting sports activities are available near you:
- Zurich The sportaktiv association in Zurich offers over 30 different types of sport; for example, "City Fitness" is a varied training program specifically for everyday life in the big city. Or would you prefer to shoot some hoops? Players of all ages and sizes are welcome at the Opfikon Basket basketball club.
- Bern In keeping with the "Bern bewegt" (Bern on the Move) motto, the whole city is getting fit for the summer. For example, Sports Week for Best Agers is taking place in July. In addition, the Bernese Summer Cycle is starting soon – an homage to the popular bicycle, with many sporting events taking place.
- Lucerne Do you feel like some special training? At the Tortellini circus school, young people and adults can learn what is involved in being a circus artist: from juggling to tightrope walking to unicycling. What's more, in September you can try out around 50 different types of sport on the "Tag der Luzerner Sportvereine" (Lucerne Sports Club Day).
- Lausanne The FSG Lausanne-Ville gymnastics club offers sport for all ages, with activities such as rhythmic gymnastics, rehab exercises, volleyball and handball. In addition, this year students are again organizing the "Lausanne in Motion" sports event, and the whole city is invited.
- Yverdon-les-Bains In Vaud, for example, Association Azul Capoeira offers capoeira, a fascinating Brazilian martial art. Intercultural exchange is an important part of the process.
- Geneva Older people can choose from the many sports activities on offer in Geneva, such as table tennis, yoga or aqua aerobics. At the "Bubble Kids" sports club, children aged between four and eight can take part in ballet, judo or hip hop.
- St. Gallen "Midnight Sports" events are organized by young people for young people, where you can play street soccer, basketball or volleyball every Saturday evening. The "Parkour Family" club offers anyone who is interested the opportunity to try out parkour and free running, which are challenging athletic disciplines.
- Bellinzona In the capital of the Canton of Ticino, for example, Migros Klubschule offers a varied sports program – from fitness courses such as aerobics or pilates to self-defense training and dance classes. And sfg Bellinzona is the ideal place for anyone wanting to make new friends at floor gymnastics classes. It offers gymnastics groups for children and young people as well as a community program for parents and children.
- Lugano Beautiful Lake Lugano is the perfect location for a range of water sports. For example, novice and advanced rowers receive a warm welcome at the Club Lugano rowing club. The Circolo Velico sailing club is also happy to welcome new members, whether they be children, families or sport sailing enthusiasts.
Dr. Hanspeter Gubelmann explains why sport connects people in an article titled "Spiel ohne Grenzen" (Games without Borders). May edition of Bonviva Magazine, page 3.