Who are you?
I’m a 25-year-old entrepreneur and made the decision that school wasn’t for me quite early. I’ve been hustling my way around since I was 15 years old and in one way or other received revenue from online sources.Today I’m living in Malta most of the time, where my business also is located.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I left Sweden when I was 19 years old and moved directly from my mum’s apartment to getting my own place on Malta. I had friends and business contacts down at the island and had always been wanting a warm climate. Taxes are really good as well. I thought there were no better place to relocate to than Malta.
What challenges did you face during the move?
On that point, I must say I was pretty amazed about how easy it was to move to a completely new country. There were no issues. Everything was much easier than in Sweden, and more cheap too.
We booked an appointment with a real estate agent the first day we got there, and viewed multiple nice apartments under €800. We found a nice place on the strand promenade and got the keys the same day.
Are there many other expats in your area?
All the expats tend to be concentrated around the Sliema area. This is also where we lived, so naturally I met a lot of expats. Malta is a very international place where a lot of expats all around the world gather.
What do you like about life where you are?
Malta has many amazing sides. The calmness that you only get in places where people are living far back in time. Maltese people are always helpful and nice to you. There are loads of great restaurants, very international kitchen. The vibe in Sliema is unique – it’s got a feeling of a big city, at the same time, you can walk anywhere and relax by the sea wherever you are in Sliema.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Everything is great here until you have a problem, or need something done. Malta is a bit slow when it comes to paperwork. Even simple things such as getting a resident card could take months.
Getting a bank account, opening a business, and applying for licenses can be tough when the respective authorities doesn’t even answer the phone or have an office you can go to.
Some things that are supposed to work, doesn’t, unless you know the right people. Malta can be a bit of a headache for someone looking to do things without hiring the locals.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
In Malta, people don’t value time as much as I’m used to. There’s both good and bad about that. Things take time and you’ll have to learn to be patient.
Another big difference is the social behaviour. Maltese people can be very harsh, to a point where people see them as unpleasant. But this is part of their culture – you don’t have to smile to everybody.
While they may not be the most polite people, they always do their utmost to help you out. Even strangers that don’t know you will go out of their way and take 10 minutes out of their time just to show you where a specific store is in the other side of the town.
What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?
Today I’d say the food is quite good in Malta. I believe the food has substantially improved since I moved there 2012, when it was rather bad. Many new restaurants have opened up and owners tend to care more about making the customers happy now that there’s so many foreign people living on the island, not only visiting for holidays.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
If you have an urge to move to any country, you must do it. Becoming an expat opens up your sight and you’ll start recreating the image of what the world really is. There’s more than just what’s in your home town.
If you move once, you’ll know that it isn’t a hard thing to do and realize that you can move to any place you want to.
What are your plans for the future?
Live wherever I feel and keep exploring new places while building up my business. Try to live in new countries 1-3 months at a time and possibly look for a place to settle down one day.
You can keep up to date with Johannes' adventures on his blog.
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