I moved from Switzerland at the beginning of this month and in more ways than one, Sweden represents a new start in my life.
Only a few weeks before my departure to Sweden, I had a serious accident in Lake Geneva. I love swimming and while I was swimming in my favorite lake, I lost my consciousness. I was saved by two teens and a man on a sailing boat. I was four days in a pharmacologically induced coma. The doctors were of the opinion that I could die or survive. If I survived, I would have to spend weeks and weeks at the hospital recovering. When I woke up, I felt disoriented and I had no memory of the accident. I only knew that my departure to Sweden would be very soon and I was afraid I wouldn’t make it. Thankfully, I recovered in time!
Arriving in Sweden
On August first, 2018 I arrived in Stockholm with my partner who started working at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). We moved to an apartment on the KTH campus. Itʼs situated in a nice new building where there are only apartments for researchers and their families. Although the apartment looks lovely, I missed our apartment in Fribourg. I still miss it. I have landed in a country I do not know and whose language I do not understand nor speak. Itʼs not so easy. I decided to move to Sweden with my partner because I cannot imagine having a long distance relationship. So I had only two possibilities: to stay in Switzerland without him or to move to Sweden with him. So I chose the second one. A new start was ahead of me. I knew that it wouldn’t be possible to find a job as a psychotherapist if I do not speak Swedish and my stay is for only 12 months. So I started looking for volunteering. I need to feel useful for the community. I applied for a job as a volunteer at the Newbie Guide to Sweden where I want to share my experiences while I live here.
A New Start: Life at the KTH Campus
KTH is located in the northeast side of Stockholm. KTH is considered one of the best technical universities in Europe. Students from all over the world move to Stockholm to study at KTH. Three years ago, in 2015, they won a very important award, the “International Sustainable Campus Excellence Award”. Itʼs the first time in my life that I live in the middle of a University Campus. When I studied in Switzerland, I lived at my parents home and I took the train to go to the University. So I never experienced what it means to live on Campus. Now I always get to see a lot of students all around. Right now, they are dressed in special clothes which are specific to technical universities. These students are new arrivals and they celebrate their start at KTH by wearing coloured trousers, t-shirts and jackets with many emblems. They dance on the streets and look a little bit weird. There is a lot to get used to!
Similarities between Sweden and Switzerland
Itʼs not easy for me to compare Sweden with Switzerland because it hasn’t even been a month since I have been here. I do not know much about Sweden yet. However, I can see that both countries are very organized. Also, the landscape is quite similar. Nature in Sweden is similar to what we have in Switzerland. I have been told that the winter in Sweden is long, dark, rainy and cold. The winter in Switzerland is not as long as the one in Sweden, but the temperature can also go down very quickly due to the Swiss Alps. In general, people in Switzerland have the tendency to be a little bit closed towards foreign people. Until now, I cannot compare because my interactions with locals have been very brief. Most of the time has been only to get some information. I have the impression that Swedish people are friendly and smart. All in all, I am looking forward to seeing how my experience develops and I would love to share that here. A first-hand account of a Newbie adapting to Sweden.
Find out more about how life is as a partner of someone working in Sweden here.
Written by Laura Bonetti
I was born in Berne, where I grew up. My parents were migrants from Italy. I spoke Italian at home and Swiss German at school. As Psychologist and Psychotherapist I have worked in many Centers for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Switzerland. On August first, 2018 I moved from Switzerland to Sweden because my partner has got an employment for 12 months at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. As I do not have an employment here, I decided to become a volunteer with the precise aim to be useful for the community on the basis of my professional background.