3 October, 2016

Top 5 Apps for Newbies

As a newbie in Sweden, knowing your way around, getting the hang of bus schedules, and even shopping at the mall can be a hassle for the first few weeks. Here are the must-have phone apps to make your settling-in a breeze.

Find your way with Google Maps

This definitely tops my recommendation list. Especially for someone coming from a developing country where you can easily joggle around without needing much directions. For example in my country, there would always be landmarks and folks to help you on your way.

However, things are a little different here in Sweden, people tend to be a little more independent, so you might have to learn things by yourself. Of course, you can ask around but people are time conscious and may not give you details.

For example, it is not uncommon to see newbies get lost on their first visit to the mall or school because they are yet to get used to the street numbering and naming system. The Google Map app can be very handy in situations like this.

Google Translate

This app is important for any newbie in Sweden. It might be difficult to shop at a grocery store or even read news article, as they are mostly written in Swedish. Of course you can always ask for help but Google Translate can save you a lot of time. You can translate in real-time labels on items straight from your camera and you can also use it to communicate, to an extent, with a non-English speaking Swede.

Transportation apps

How do you move around and track bus times? I suggest that you download the transport app of the town or city you live in. Most Swedish municipalities have regional or local traffic system for buses and trains, and usually provide a phone app where you can track schedules and even buy tickets.

Swedes keep to time a lot and so if you are unable to keep up with the bus time, you might be stranded.

Communication apps

How do you communicate as cheaply as possible with friends and family back home? I highly recommend that you download a VOIP app that you can subscribe to for example at Telbo. You can use this to make cheap and low rate calls but of course, with time, you can switch to other telecoms service that offer competitive rates on calls and texts to specific countries around the world.

Get a BankID & Swish

Finally after settling down, knowing your way around, and having received your “personnummer”, a BankID alongside with Swish are important mobile apps that will facilitate your financial transactions. For example I use BankID to authorize payments for online shopping, Internet banking and transfers.

Also, I always use Swish for informal mobile payments when I buy items from people and sometimes at shops when I don’t have my debit card. So don’t be surprised when you cannot pay in cash or you are asked to pay with Swish.

These apps should be part of your Swedish survival kits, specially considering that Sweden has been rated one of the most innovative and cashless societies in the world.

Written by: Wemimo Ibidunmoye

My name is Wemi and I recently moved to the Northern part of Sweden (Umeå) with my husband. I’m originally from Nigeria and I blog at where I share a bit about everything such as living in Sweden, motherhood, hacks, tips, life experiences amongst others. My hobbies are reading, writing, making new friends and listening to music.

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