why i moved to sweden

Moving to Sweden? One expat’s story.

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.

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.

me moving to sweden

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.

/Daniel

3 thoughts on “Moving to Sweden? One expat’s story.

  1. Hi Daniel,
    Loving your blog, really interesting. In a newly post-brexit Britain, the wife and I are seriously considering a move to Sweden. Probably Stockholm. She’s just about to start a MSc in the UK so we’ve got a minimum of about 18months until the move.
    I was wondering what kind of timeframe you would put on finding a job/flat/etc? What would be your first step? (other than the language, we’re working on that!)
    Thanks,
    Kate

    1. Hey Kate, great to hear from you. I’m a fellow Brit making sense of all this too (was interviewed about this today). 18 months is a perfect amount of time to get started moving to Sweden. How long it takes really depends but I’d start looking into paperwork now and get that sorted (where possible) and start looking for jobs so you can see how the market feels for your skills.

      I’d start by applying for a residency permit, then a personnummer, and then start looking for work. I’d start looking into flats early too so you can get a feel for the city as well as your budget.

      I hope that helps. Stay tuned to the website as there will be a lot of into here about how Brexit impacts new and existing expats here as well as guides on how to fix everything. Right now we are waiting to hear from the UK and Swedish governments on what the next steps are.

  2. Hello Daniel ,
    Hope this note finds you in a state of well being.
    Your write up on Sweden is truly very detailed and informative. However , I have a few specific questions , which if you could reply back to , would be very helpful for me.
    1. Is it very difficult to find an accommodation in or around Stockholm ? How much would I have to pay for a single room apartment per month ?
    2. My work place would be near Stockholm Central station. Can you suggest a few places where I could potentially look for accommodation , which is in my budget?
    3. How much would be the average expense per month for a single person , considering a rented apartment , home made food ( occasionally eating out) , travel , utilities and others?
    4. The link to the tax calculation website which have provided in one of your write ups seems broken. Can you talk about the tax calculation system there in a bit detail? Is it a flat tax rate system or people get tax benefits through investments?

    Awaiting your reply.

    Thanks in advance,
    Zafar.

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