Thinking about moving to Sweden? Curious as to how your life will be? If the thought of Swedish meatballs wasn’t enough, then get ready to be blown away by the many benefits and opportunities Sweden has in store for you!
When you first arrive in Sweden…
After moving here nearly 2 years ago, I was quickly drawn to the Swedish ways. People were friendly, spoke good English, were quick to integrate expats into their society and of course, the main reason: it is socially acceptable to drink coffee and eat baked goods more than once a day… big win for all of you, including myself, who love a good coffee break! But besides all that, Sweden has quickly become one of my favorite places to live. With easy to navigate transportation, access to healthcare from the moment you arrive, free Swedish courses and all you can eat cinnamon buns (the famous kanelbullar) be ready for a quick and easy transition into the Swedish life.
Experience all four seasons…
Sweden, being so far North, has roughly 6 months of Winter (of course being Canadian has made me slightly bias towards winter… as in I love it!) 2-3 months of Summer, 1 or so months of spring and around a month and a half of Autumn. Yes, it may be cold but the warm summers, spent by the ocean or countryside, make up for the “darker” few months of winter. Being so close to the outdoors makes it easy for you to get outside and stay active. Although temperatures may be in the lower single digits, there are still many outdoor activities held/offered throughout the winter. Some of which include: toboganning – “sledding” for all you non- Canadians, snow shoeing, dog sledding, skiing, outdoor workouts, and northern lights expeditions. In bigger cities, like Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö, you can find a cozy cafe/ restaurant on pretty much every corner of the city. What better way to spend a brisk winter day than sipping hot chocolate by the water side, watching the snow fall – definitely a 10/10 place for all you lovers of sites and warm drinks! After the darkness has gone, Swedes will slowly but surely emerge from their houses. Spending every summer, spring and autumn day they can outside – whether it be at the beach, the city docks, a lake, the countryside, or out on the archipelago. Wherever there is sun, a Swede will be there.
What else does the land of Abba, Ikea and meatballs have to offer?
Sweden is one of the best countries in the world to live in, ranking seventh in the world rankings of the HDI (human development index) and for many good reasons. Some of which include:
- Free healthcare (well, almost free!)
- Free education for EU nationals – No student debt? Count me in!
- Clean cities + new and improved public transport
- Unemployment benefits + 3-6 weeks of holiday leave (varying on your job of course)
- Gender equality… reason #1 to move
- Living in (or near) nature – good way to enjoy those brisk winters & hot summers
- Tasty native Swedish food (although you probably want to steer clear of caviar in a tube)
- Everything is regulated & safe – although Swedens crime rate has increased over the last 5 years, it it still considerably low compared to most European countries.
- 480 days of paternity leave between both parents… one word, AMAZING.
Integrating into Swedish Society
As an expat, the top question I have when moving to a new country is “How easy will it be for me to integrate?” A lot of people say that learning Swedish is the key to full integration. To that I mostly agree, and with focus and dedication you will most certainly be able to learn this beautiful, and very melodic, Nordic language. But if languages aren’t your thing, no problem. A few other ways to slowly integrate yourself include: obtaining a job – this alone can help you learn about the Swedish taxes, join a volunteer group/project within your new city, attend language cafes and free SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) classes, get to know your city and its history and/or rent an apartment (this will give you insight on the Swedish housing market) Alongside these few suggestions, putting yourself out there – by making a Swedish friend or joining a hobby class – are also good ways to make your new home, feel like home.
Overall, if you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy diverse culture, fascinating people, amazing landscapes and an overall good quality of life – Sweden is definitely the place to plant your new home roots. Making the most of your time in Sweden is the best way to ensure you have a positive experience. Getting outside to enjoy the breathtaking nature, attending events held in your city or finding the best fika spots are all good ways to start making this new and foreign land feel like a permanent home!