Wemi swapped Nigeria for Sweden in 2014. She has a background in Engineering and is soon to start a graduate program. She is currently living in Umeå with her husband. The reason that got them both here was that Wemis husband had gotten a doctoral position at Umeå University. Since the doctoral was estimated to take about four years and they were newly wed they decided to take on this journey together.
What has been the hardest to adjust to?
The dark winter and the cold weather of course. I come from a country with a temperature range of 25 to 28 degrees. I moved here in the middle of winter and at that time, the temperature range was around -10 to -5 degrees, I cried for the whole month but it’s amazing how that same -10 degrees is normal to me now.
What has been the biggest obstacle so far?
The language barrier.
What do you like about Sweden and Swedes?
Sweden is a very calm society with good infrastructure. The Swedes are very punctual and they seem to love outdoor an activity like jogging, hiking, running and lot more.
Do you have a favourite Swedish word?
Lagom (I love the word so much because my best interpretation for it is “There is virtue in moderation”)
Anything you find puzzling with Swedes or the Swedish way of being?
Swedes are reserved and quiet and it can be pretty hard for newbies to know when they are interested in a good conversation with you or when they just want to be left alone.
Taking “Fika” is also quite strange to me and Swedes seem to be fine with living as ”sambos” – marriage isn’t such a big deal.
What do you miss the most from Nigeria?
So many things like attending “owambes” (parties and get-togethers with friends and families with colourful attires) and eating Nigerian food of course.
If you could give a Newbie one piece of advice, what would it be?
When moving to a new country or society, be ready to adapt to their culture and system. Don’t expect everything to always be your way or what you are used to, be open-minded and make as many friends as you can.
Is there an anecdote or strategy that helped you during your first time in Sweden?
I don’t think it’s funny, but Google maps wasn’t my best friend before I came to Sweden but on several occasions, I have lost my way around and ended up being late or going back home. I had to learn that so fast and that really helped me to know my way around better.