Whether you’ve moved to a new continent, country or city, it always takes a bit of time to adjust and feel at home again. One of the best ways to help integrate and make you feel at peace with your move is to find a community. A community gives you a sense of belonging and purpose that can make you feel comfortable again. The only thing is you sometimes have to get out of your comfort zone to find this community.
Exercising is very popular in Sweden, and there are tons of communities that have formed with fitness as the core. You can join a gym and do fitness classes, register for a sports league or find a group of people that are interested in the same kind of exercise or sport as you. You’ll be healthier and active as well, so it’s a 2-for-1 deal with finding a community through fitness.
Interests and Hobbies
You certainly have interests and hobbies, why don’t you try to find other people who share the same interests? People love sharing tips and talking about things they’re interested in, so it’s a natural connection that doesn’t feel forced. Whether you like knitting, photography, board games or gardening, there are people who would love to share these interests with you. There’s a website called Meetup for finding interest groups and you could always look online or on Facebook as well.
Through your Job or Profession
If you’re one of the lucky people who loves your job, find others who are like that too. Some companies organize social events outside of work hours or you could always reach out to your coworkers for an “Afterwork”, which is going out after work for some light refreshments and drinks. In Sweden there are also a lot of unions and organizations for industries and professions. Look around for events or organizations and you could work on your personal development as well.
Events and Festivals
There is always an event happening somewhere. Sometimes they’re huge week-long events organized by the local municipality (kommuner) or sometimes they are by companies or individuals. They could be about music, food, film, culture or anything at all. There’s something for everyone if you just take a look. You can usually find out about events and festivals through billboards, newspapers or online.
Volunteer Your Time
Through donating your time, you can receive good karma and a community to be a part of. Volunteering can be very fulfilling and a great way to meet people. You could volunteer at a not-for-profit organization or even for helping with upcoming events. Find out what’s important to you and find opportunities to help.
Connect Through Language
There is something very connecting about language. If you’re not from Sweden, your native language is probably not Swedish. You can try to find other people who speak your native language and they will probably have some similar experiences to talk about, especially when it comes to language.
If you’re learning Swedish, you could always try to have some study buddies and encourage each other’s progress. You can also find people learning other languages that you’re interested in as well. Many places organization language cafes (spåkcafe) for people to come together and practice.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. ” -Nelson Mandela
Start your own Community!
If you’ve looked around and couldn’t find what you were looking for… create your own community! Chances are that there are people who have similar interests and ideas and wish someone else would start something. Nothing is stopping you from sharing your passions with the world but yourself. It might be a bit of work trying to create a community but it’s certainly worth the effort.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Good luck finding your community!
Written by Joanne Lau
My name is Joanne and I’m a Canadian Interaction/UX Designer who moved to Sweden at the end of 2016. I’m really enjoying living in Sweden and am borderline obsessed with learning Swedish. When I’m not in sketching, designing or trying out the latest gadget, you’ll find me taking photos, climbing rocks or reading with a cup of tea. You are welcome to visit me over at my blog.