4 November, 2015

What is your opinion on Swedish integration?

Have you ever found yourself in a discussion where everyone talks and nobody listens? Well, that’s the feeling I get when I read the newspapers, scan the web or watch the news. There is a lot of talking going on right now. About migration and integration and everyone seems to have an opinion. Yet there is very little listing… People are so occupied talking that no one seems to have the time to listen or to ask what Newbies themselves actually need in order to advance quicker with their integration.

Let’s hear your opinion on Swedish integration

I´m tired of talking and I´m ready for some listening…so, Newbies out there, what are your thoughts on Newbie-life in Sweden? What do you wish was different? What could make your integration processes in Sweden easier? What are the hurdles? What are the strengths?

Bring it on – I´m ready for some listening.

The Newbie Team
The Newbie Team posts news, tips and general goodness that can be useful for all Newbies. We always try to find Newbie related information that will help all Newbies on their new life in Sweden.
Please let us know if there is something you wish we'd write more about and we will try to add it to our repertoire.

10 Comments on “What is your opinion on Swedish integration?

wafa saif
26 November, 2015 at 13:45


This is Wafa saif, I’m an asylum seeker . i live in Ullared. i would like to get a contact to any person responsible for refugees integration with Swedish society. i have no idea where and whom i contact with.
if you have any information that might help please share it with me. i just wanted to socialize and practice the Swedish language with any one and look for any kind of training program or volunteer activities that can be offered by me or my husband.

Thanks for your cooperation.
Wafa saif

The Newbie Team
26 November, 2015 at 16:37

Hello Wafa Saif,
thank you for your nice comments about our website. We are aware that the situation is very hard for many people to come to Sweden and we are very happy that the information we can provide in English, perhaps can help you in some way.

We are not really equipped to advice in personal cases but here are some general advice I can give:

1. Visit FARR – Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups in Sweden. You can find more information and a link on our page

2. Check out our page where we lift some existing projects to help Newbies meet Swedes and learn Swedish. There you can meet people for coffee, to cook together and to just meet and talk.

3. You can contact Individuell Människohjälp in Gothenburgh. They have free get togethers for coffee, snacks, Swedish and to meet people. I know Gothenburg is not quite where you are but as it is their nearest office to Ullared – they may be able to give you more advice on where to go from there. You can contact them on eller 031-42 45 95.

I hope this can be of help to you.

And from the Newbie Team we want to wish you a big welcome to Sweden.

The Newbie Team

The Newbie Team
26 November, 2015 at 16:46

One more thing…join our forum There you can get advice from more people than just us.

Good luck,
The Newbie Team

wafa saif
26 November, 2015 at 14:29

and here is my opinion regarding your questions.

1) what are your thoughts on Newbie-life in Sweden?
Well, for me as a newbie refugee i find it very hard till now maybe because i reached to Sweden in a very hard time where Hundreds of thousands people are reaching from different countries due to its political and unsafe status. so it’s not that easy to let all these newcomers integrated with the society and all the efforts provided by Swedish organization and government will be granted to find the main source of life for them such as accommodation, food, health care and so on. so being integrated with the society depends on the newcomer himself to look and search and be integrated with the society.

2)What do you wish was different?
nowadays it’s hard to wish as i clarified above. the situation now is out of the control.

3)What could make your integration processes in Sweden easier?
i really appreciate your efforts to help newbies find an English website like yours were i can easily understand and learn more ways to be integrated in all aspects of life. i just knew about it when i randomly sent a message to different Swedish persons through face book and someone introduced this website to me. it would be appreciated to market for the website more through publications that can be distributed for the newbies in the immigration offices. that will be easier to reach more newbies who needs such kind of information.

4)What are the hurdles? What are the strengths?
the hurdles from my point of view that I’m living in a very very small village that is away around 1 hour from Falkenberg. so it’s hard to find people to socialize with plus that I’m still trying to learn Swedish and it’s hard to make it better without socializing with native Swedish speakers. also till now I’m still looking for any organization where i can register my contact information to find any Swedish family interested to communicate and socialize with me and my husband

24 January, 2016 at 12:41

everybody worries about the refugees situation, but nobody cares about who’s getting sacrificed because of them. Before, when you’re engaged or married to a swede, you could apply for a residence permit, you’d have to wait about 4 months out of Sweden, get your permit and move in. Now, because of refugees fiancees, husbands and wives must wait between 18 to 21 months to get their permit. They can only visit Sweden for 90 days, they can’t be here when the answer of the permit comes out, even if it’s positive. It’s emotionally excruciating and a lot of money spent with traveling back and forth, specially about the married ones who have the right to live together. It’s in human’s rights! Nobody should have the power of splitting a family. Why refugees can wait for their visas in Sweden and married/engaged couples can’t? Why a group of people has privileges that others can’t have? I understand they’re running away from war, but if they can stay, why can’t people stay with their loved ones also?
This is what doesn’t make me feel welcomed, even though my swede welcomes me, his family, friends. Even though I want to contribute to the society, working and studying, but the country keeps me away from my love. It’s hard. It hurts a lot.

wafa saif
11 February, 2016 at 19:03

Dear Lia,

i’m so sorry for this. actually i’m a refugee here and i will not say that your situation is easier than our situation. actually we are facing a political war while you are suffering from psychological war that forced you to be away from your loved ones.
its very hard and not understandable !! the government should concern and give balanced efforts for all whether refugees or people who are suffering like you. all i can say i wish the peace come back to our countries and all can get back to their normal life for us and for you as well. all my love to you and i hope you can be warm and satisfied beside your loves ones as soon as possible.

27 November, 2016 at 14:45

Why are refugees allowed to wait for their visas in Sweden?? While non-refugee spouses have to wait in their home country?? Gee I don’t know, could be that if the refugees had to wait in their home country they’d be dead by the time their visas are released?? Being at risk of your head getting blown up by ISIS in your own home is truly a privilege that many refugees don’t know they have!!

26 January, 2016 at 05:10

I moved to Sweden in 2013, and there are things I love and things I hate about being here. I am originally from Australia and I have a Swedish husband and we have a tiny baby together.
Oddly the most difficulties I encounter come from other immigrants, and this should say a lot about Swedish integration, and the fact that it isn’t working. SFI is a fantastic platform for education about things like women’s rights, LGBT rights and the different types of family units you find in Sweden. Few teachers bother to tackle this however. SFI teachers don’t even try to educate new arivals on the share laundry system and how it works in Sweden. I am forever fighting with other immigrant neighbours who constantly try to steal my time, or who don’t turn up on time to get their stuff out of machines.

I was discriminated against by members of my SFI class for being an unmarried atheist. I was upfront with people when they asked me about religion and my husband, and found that most classmates were unwilling to be friendly towards me after they learned I was not married to my partner at the time. I also became pregnant before we married, so this made it even worse.

Most of my classmates also couldn’t deal with the fact that I had a physical disability either. I never have any issues with swedes about it. they let me do my own thing and I ask for help if I need it. however immigrants seem to think I am some kind of dribbling idiot who can’t do anything for herself, even when they see me carrying my baby around the Stockholm underground. They grab hold of me, try to pull me where they think I want to go, without even asking me how I feel about it.

It’s understandable that there are going to be different things to get used to when you come to a new country, and that’s okay. We need to give up the idea that we shouldn’t teach immigrants about Swedish culture. It’s important. Inappropriate behaviour often stems from ignorance more than anything, so we should try and combat it. SFI is the best format for doing this. It should be mandatory, and should carry a cultural component. Working visas should not be granted until it’s completed.

We’re not asking people to give up their own culture, but it’s important to learn what parts of your culture don’t mix with Swedish values. I would want to do the same thing if I moved to a country that was wildly different to my own, and I would hope that the locals would want to help me adjust.

It’s not just about the big stuff, but even the little things. Why Swedes are reserved, why it’s important not to speak loudly on a bus or train, all the other little things that make up the polite society we have here in Sweden.

wafa saif
14 February, 2016 at 23:29

Dears thenewbieguide team,

First of all , I’m not sure if I’m allowed to reply to comments here and I’m sorry if I went far away a little bit from the main objective of this section in your website but i wanted to share my opinion if it is possible 🙂

Dear Loui,

sorry for my intrusive reply but I wanted to share my point of view with you if you don’t mind 🙂
as you came to Sweden since 2013 and it’s the year where the immigrants or specifically middle eastern refugees started to flee from their countries, and with their huge number that is increasing day after day till what we reached nowadays with a hundreds of thousand people. All of them came holding a variety of Social, cultural and religious backgrounds and values.

Keeping in the consideration that:

1) Not all of them are well educated ((e.g. some of them used to have an economical barriers, some of them are older age or some of them came from villages…etc))
2) Most of them haven’t been integrated before with a totally different culture so they don’t understand that learning the culture of the country they have reached is a must.
3) Poor educational systems of their kids even for simple things ” e.g. they haven’t taught the importance of standing in queue lines in the schools !!!” Which led to raise people who don’t respect the turns as what you are facing in the laundry room
4) most of them are living in campus and houses that are isolated from the cities and the gathering areas due to lack of houses
5) lack of their financial resources that limits their mobility, so they are unable to socialize with others or attend social events
6) they are not allowed to be in SFE until they get the approval and permit to stay and this might take from 1 to 2 years due to the huge numbers of asylum applicants
7) even if they got the approval and got the permit to stay , they will be suddenly involved in the SFE without having the chance for any previous preparation or integration background.

So it is not as easy as we think while there are a wide differences between both cultures. Moreover, the fact that there are many people believe that the Middle Easterners culture is incompatible with Western values makes it harder.

We are in the middle of this problem and they can’t just disappear as they are not exist. Also we can’t just blame the immigration only, they are granting most of their efforts to find the main source of life for refugees such as accommodation, food, health care beside their other responsibilities with worker immigrants and swedes and so on. Therefore, This cultural clash cannot be managed, balanced and solved in just few classes in SFI. it would be better if they get the chance to be taught and integrated from day one and with the day to day life integration. And as I mentioned above this cultural clash can’t be solved just through SFE but it needs a huge unified collaboration between immigrants , government, immigration, municipalities, red crosses and concerned organizations as well as the locals themselves and previous immigrants as what you are trying to teach your neighbors and this is a great step to solve this matter and I really appreciate your understanding and your efforts and being an efficient part for this social change. Also my husband are trying to make a PowerPoint slides that includes some of the Swedish cultural component that he will try to share it with non-compulsory schools where refugees can attend before they get their permit to stay. also share it with volunteered teachers who goes to refugee’s camps.

As a result it is a shared responsibility that we all must carry and be patient till we get to live the way we all like and feels comfortable with. i hope a better days for your and your loved family

Best regards,
Wafa Saif

The Newbie Team
15 February, 2016 at 16:51

Hello Wafa,
of course you are we allowed to reply to comments. Everyone is welcome to voice their thoughts as long as people kep a nice and polite tone. And as you have done just that – keep posting:-)

The Newbie Team


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