Sweden gets ignored by most expats and people looking to move aboard. But I want to give my experience about why I moved to Sweden and why you should think about it too.Back in 2013 I was pretty bored. I was working in a pretty stressful company, had graduated from university a year before and was not sure what I was going to do next. Most of my friends were either moving away, buying houses and cars, or having kids.
Before that, I had met my girlfriend from Sweden whilst spending 6 months in Stockholm on an ERSAMUS exchange. I had a great time (I’ve told most people it was the best part of my university experience) and Sweden had left a good impression with me.
I guess that’s what made me start thinking about what I wanted to do next. Plus, since a teenager I’d always had a dream of working aboard. Later in 2013, my girlfriend was living with me in the UK and she wanted to move back to Sweden to study. I saw this as an opportunity to give Sweden a try again, but more seriously this time and not just as a student.
After a lot of talking and planning, in early 2014, we sold everything we didn’t need and couldn’t move, and shipped ourselves over to Stockholm.
I moved to Sweden for a new challenge. What’s more challenging than moving to a new country, with a new language, a new culture, and trying to find your way in totally new surroundings. I’ve been here for 2 years now and can say that Sweden definitely gave me the challenge I was looking for. I miss my friends and family in the UK loads, but Sweden has been great and given me so many opportunities.
When I was growing up, I’d never given Sweden any thought. All I knew was that it was cold, they were good at ice skating, and gave the world ABBA. But since being here, I’ve learnt so much more about Sweden, its culture, its people, and what it can give to expats.
Overall, the standard of living is high here, with good wages and holidays, and lots of benefits, including the famous 400+ days of parental leave for BOTH parents. Sweden really looks after its citizens with great healthcare and education, safeguards at work, and good everyday life.
And about the weather. Sure, the winter here is colder than most places, and a little bit too long and dark, but it’s all about perspective. Winters here totally change the place, with amazing sunrises and sunsets, a fresh feel to the air, and a new range of activities like ice skating and skiing. It’s also all about the clothes you wear, so if you are going to be here for a long stay, make sure you buy a good winter jacket.
After 2 years, I’m not looking to leave just yet. Sweden has been good to me and I’m only just getting started. Sure, it’s got its issues like renting being difficult and passive aggressive neighbours, but I’d encourage anyone looking to move abroad to give Sweden a serious thought, and do your research first.
On a more serious note, if you do think about moving here, make sure you plan first. Sweden is not an easy place to get started, so make sure you’ve visited here for a few weeks first, and looked into your paperwork, accommodation, jobs, etc before buying a plane ticket. I run an expat community site called Everything Sweden which helps expats get settled in Sweden. If you need any help or have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.
And if you do come here, send me an email and we can grab a beer.