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 You belong in Basel.  

We started this project as a way to further build the Basel community and to help newcomers settle.  Many people come here having to learn a new language, discover a new culture and find a new purpose.  We want to help with that process and work to strengthen the bond between Swiss and foreign national communities.


Our Story

The YBI Basel story began in 2018.  Meaghan Renner Ofori and Ariana McBride didn't know each other before moving to Basel, but became fast fiends over a shared sense of adventure and love of exploring.  


They faced many challenges in those first few months and realized that other newcomers had common experiences. From small details like having to buy light fixtures for your apartment, to bigger challenges like learning a new language or even finding a new sense of purpose after a personal or career change, they realized the process of settling in can be formidable.  


During this time they also began to discover why Basel is such a great place to live! With museums and festivals, lively neighbourhoods, some fantastic restaurants and the perfect location for travel throughout Europe, they felt Basel was the best kept secret in Europe.


In an effort to share their love for this city,  help other newcomers settle and further build a community that included both expats and Swiss, they formed YBI Basel.  Since then they have been working hard to reach out to other community organizations, while producing interesting content to highlight the many varied facets of life in this region.

In 2022 Ariana's time in Basel came to an end, but Meaghan is committed to keep the project going, hoping to find some like-minded individuals to help her along the way.

So, whether you've been here for two months, twenty years or your whole life, the hope of YBI Basel is that by showing you how much this city has to offer, by introducing you to some of the people who live here, that can you feel like Basel is your home and that you truly belong. 

You Belong in Basel.

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YBI Community


Meaghan Renner Ofori

Founder, Creative Director

Home country: Canada eh!
Been here since: 2018
Basel Favourite: Grocery shopping in 3 different countries
Cheese or chocolate: Chocolate!

Meaghan has lived in Basel since 2018 with her husband and two children. After going through the process of settling in and finding a new purpose in Basel, she grew to love this city and all that it had to offer.  She wanted to help others find their home here as well.  A former fundraiser, event planner  

and graphic designer, Meaghan has a passion for sewing and dancing and enjoys cooking, hiking and yoga. 


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Salina Berg


Home Country: USA

Been here since: 2016

Basel Favourite:  Infinite hiking possibilities

Cheese or Chocolate: Always chocolate


Johanna Bousfield


Home Country: USA

Been here since: 2012

Swiss Favourite:  Amazing nature

Cheese or Chocolate: Cheese, especially the hard stuff


Sabine Erker

Writer, Podcaster

Home Country: Austria

Basel Favourite:  Along the Rhein, Unternehmen Mitte

Cheese or Chocolate: Chocolate

Sabine is an online German language teacher, content creator, editor and podcaster. She holds several examiner licenses for TELC and ÖSD and prepares students for all common German language exams and more. Her podcast focuses on interesting topics for German learners and reaches listeners in over 80 countries worldwide.


Catalina Escalante


Home Country: Columbia/USA

Been here since: 2018

Basel Favourite:  It's so clean and accessible

Cheese or Chocolate: can't decide :)


Vanessa Gatelein

Writer, Health Coach & Yoga Instructor

Home Country: New York City (USA)

Been here since: 2003

Basel Favourite:  Schoggi Wegg with a Schale from Sutter Begg

Cheese or Chocolate: Cheeeeeeese!

Vanessa arrived in Switzerland in 2003. Straight off the plane from New York City, the city of pizza, burgers, bagels, and dirty water hot dogs, it was a shock to land in the country of milk, cheese, and chocolate! Even though she struggled at first adapting to the food in Switzerland, she can now say her diet (and lifestyle) has shifted for the better. She loves to help people find ‘their food’ that they love in Switzerland, and the food that loves them back.


Ariana McBride

Co-Founder, Writer

Home Country: USA

Time in Basel: 2018-2022

Basel Favourite:  Neatly tied recycling

Cheese or Chocolate: Cheese

Ariana lived in Basel in from 2018- February 2022 with her husband, two daughters and two cats.  While going through the experience of moving to a place where she did not know anyone or anything, Ariana thought a lot about the value of community.  She is a city planner by training, a lover of well-organized closets, and an aspiring gardener.


Asha has lived in Basel-Stadt since 2018 but has previously lived in England, France and the US She loves exploring Switzerland with her husband, two children and dog. Her hobbies include hiking, travelling, spinning and reading.

Asha Mentzer

Writer, Neighbourhood Mapper

Home Country: UK

Been here since: July 2018

Basel Favourite:  Rhein swimming followed by an Aperol Spritz

Cheese or Chocolate: Cheese! especially fondue


Jakob was born in Basel and grew up in Rome, Wimbledon and London. He returned to Switzerland for university and after began an interesting career in international marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. Jakob is now retired and is passionate about showing people Basel. He realizes how lucky he is to be born Swiss and since spending 5 years in Tokyo, he fully appreciates this beautiful, smooth-running, little country even more.

Jakob Mettler

Tour Guide, Historian

Home Country: Switzerland 

Been back since: 1971

Basel Favourite:  The old city – ideal for a tour guide

Cheese or Chocolate: Both (at their respective opportunities)

Jamie Nunn1

Jamie is an American by way of the UK and Hong Kong. She has lived in Basel Land with her husband, two children and two dogs since October 2021. She loves coffee, travelling, being outside and animals. Her hobbies include skiing, obstacle course racing and reading. She is very competitive and always up to try a new outdoor activity.

Jamie Nunn


Home Country: USA

Been here since: October 2021

Basel Favourite:  Schoggiwegglis from Confiserie Bachmann

Cheese or Chocolate: Chocolate!!


Peggy Sacotte

Writer, Neighbourhood Mapper

Home Country: France

Been here since: 2022

Basel Favourite: charming, cultural, green, international, riverside, Swiss pocket-size city and top quality of life!

Cheese or Chocolate: Both!

Peggy is a French-Luxembourgish entrepreneur living in Basel with her husband and three kids (if her dog counts as one). As a ski lover and passionate traveler, Switzerland is for her a paradise on Earth. Always eager to learn more and meet new people, she enjoys sharing the greatest insider knowledge about the best places to discover and things to do!

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Steve Sanderson

Writer, Neighbourhood Mapper

Home Country: USA

Been here since: 2018

Basel Favourite:  Sense of community, great architecture and Döner Kebabs 

Cheese or Chocolate: What are you kidding? Chocolate, always.

Steve writes fiction and nonfiction. He is very dedicated to giving back to the writing community. He grew up in Queens, New York where he worked in film as a camera assistant, then switched careers to work as a Technical Writer for two decades. He's a book obsessive, loves running, satire, and walking everywhere. He has no sense of direction, and gets lost in most places except for cities which somehow make sense.

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Melinda Taylor Schoutens

Author, Fresh Air Kids Switzerland

Home Country: USA

Been here since: 2007

Basel Favourite:  Our proximity to the Alps...pure bliss!

Cheese or Chocolate: Chocolate...always chocolate!

Melinda is an American who lives in Basel. She loves exploring the Alps with her husband, two children and anyone else who is up for an adventure. She writes, reads, listens to podcasts, hikes and enjoys sweating at her local gym. She’s passionate about sharing her love of nature with others and has a dream of having a little chalet in the Swiss Alps!


Alison Waterfield


Home Country: UK

Been here since: 2011

Basel Favourite:  Tri-regio location, Nature, Gabriella Gelato

Cheese or Chocolate: Läderach fresh Schoggi everytime!

Alison is a Brit who has been in the Basel area for over a decade. She currently resides in Oberwil, where she enjoys having countryside on her doorstep as well as town being only a short tram ride away. She loves cooking, baking and anything food-related and is a beginner food stylist and photographer. She enjoys being in nature and relaxing doing anything wellness-related, as well as engaging in creative activities such as abstract and fluid art, and crochet. 



You Belong in Basel is proud to partner with the following organizations.


Inspiring families to connect with nature one outdoor experience at a time.


Fresh Air Kids Switzerland is on a BIG mission to start an outdoor revolution that connects as many families as possible to the natural world. By breaking down the barriers of spending quality time outside, we hope to inspire, motivate and encourage more outdoor adventure in the lives of families across the globe.


Historical walks and talks through Basel


Jakob Mettler was born in Basel, attended schools in England and in Switzerland and studied law at Zurich University as well as language studies in Spain, Canada and Mexico. He worked in the marketing department at Hoffmann-La Roche and also at their Japanese affiliate in Tokyo. Jakob’s latest project is Jakob A. Mettler International Communication Services (JAMIX) offering city tours of Basel and talks on Basel and Switzerland.

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