Who are you?
I am Varsha Jaikumar, a 30 year old Indian IT professional, who recently joined an IT company in Gothenburg.Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Helsingborg, Sweden in January 2018 because my husband was required to be here and work as a consultant.
What challenges did you face during the move?
Moving to a whole new country comes with a lot of stress and a huge burden to move with, needless to mention parting with a few loved ones.
How did you find somewhere to live?
Finding accomodation wasn’t that easy. There seemed to be a shortage of apartments when we moved here and we kept shuffling between hotels and temporary apartments until we found a permanent place after about two months.
Are there many other expats in your area?
What is your relationship like with the locals?
Cordial. Although at workplace, people are really friendly and helpful and I share a great rapport with them.
What do you like about life where you are?
The work-life balance and work culture is great here. Travel is easy. And exploring other Schengen countries is easy.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Sometimes it is difficult to find/get things that are specific to my home country, for example clothing and certain food ingredients. Getting a job can be tough.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
I feel people here have a different mindset, in a good way of course. Culturally India is definitely very different than western countries, in terms of attire, food, communication, topics chosen for discussion, way of working, etc., but nothing is shocking because we have all kinds of people in India.
What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?
I like the food and drink here. I am not extremely picky when it comes to food, but I have noticed that there are far fewer options when it comes to vegetarian or vegan food.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Be open to changes. All countries are different and come with their share of advantages and disadvantages; and this is actually very subjective because it just depends on what you are used to since your childhood. If you are going to live here for a long time, it may be worthwhile to learn the language and to develop a network as both help to get a job.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to live in Sweden for a few years, maybe five or even ten.
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