This is an article I originally wrote for Expat Focus about moving to Sweden, but I wanted to share my story on Everything Sweden too.
My experience moving to Sweden
Back in 2013, I was pretty bored. I was working in a pretty stressful company, had graduated from university a year before and was not sure what I was going to do next. Most of my friends were either moving away, buying houses and cars, or having kids.
Before that, I had met my girlfriend from Sweden whilst spending 6 months in Stockholm on an ERASMUS exchange. I had a great time (I’ve told most people it was the best part of my university experience) and Sweden had left a good impression with me.
I guess that’s what made me start thinking about what I wanted to do next. Plus, since a teenager, I’d always had a dream of working abroad. In 2013 my girlfriend was living with me in the UK and she wanted to move back to Sweden to study. I saw this as an opportunity to give Sweden a try again, but more serious this time and not just as a student.
After a lot of talking and planning, in early 2014, we sold everything we didn’t need and couldn’t move and were moving to Sweden.
What happened next
I was moving to Sweden for a new challenge. What’s more challenging than moving to a new country, with a new language and culture, trying to find your way in totally new surroundings? I’ve been here for 2 years now and can say that Sweden definitely gave me the challenge I was looking for. I miss my friends and family in the UK loads, but Sweden has been great and given me so many opportunities.
When I was growing up, I’d never given Sweden any thought. All I knew was that it was cold, they were good at skiing, and gave the world ABBA. But since being here, I’ve learnt so much more about the country, its culture, its people, and what it can give to expats looking to move to Sweden.
My experience so far
Overall, the standard of living is high here, with good wages and holidays, and lots of benefits, including the famous 400+ days parental leave for BOTH parents. Sweden really looks after its citizens with great healthcare and education, and safeguards at work, health, and everyday life.
And about the weather. Sure, the winter here is colder than most places, and a little bit too long and dark, but it’s all about perspective. Winters here totally change the place, with amazing sunrises and sunsets, a fresh feel to the air. Plus there is a range of activities like ice skating and skiing. It’s also all about the clothes you wear, so if you are going to be here for a long stay, make sure you buy a good winter jacket.
After moving to Sweden 2 years ago, I’m not looking to leave just yet. Sweden has been good to me and I’m only just getting started. Sure, it’s got its issues like renting being difficult, finding jobs and passive aggressive neighbours, but I’d encourage anyone looking to move abroad to give Sweden a serious thought, and do your research first.
On a more serious note, if you do think about moving here, make sure you plan first. Sweden is not an easy place to get started, so make sure you’ve visited here for a few weeks first, and looked into your paperwork, accommodation, jobs, etc before buying a plane ticket. If you need any help or have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.
And if you do come here, send me an email and we can grab a beer.
Photo Credits: Werner Nystrand/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se