Mistakes I have made in Sweden

Extra! extra! I have news for you, in case you still haven’t figure it out, studying abroad is not always fun and perfect, and that’s entirely ok, it comes with the package. It’s part of the experience. Keep in mind that unexpected things are going to happen and you must stay calm, work things out, learn from it and move on.

It’s true, we learn SO MUCH from the mistakes we make; uncomfortable situations bring out our strengths and weaknesses. But it’s also a very smart move to learn from other people’s mistakes! I mean yeah… if you can save yourself all the stress, drama, worryness and the usual – why didn’t I thought about it before – phase – why not? So, here I give you a list of 7 mistakes I have made in Sweden.

Go, make other mistakes, but not these ones, please! Now, lets just laugh a little, because at the end at least everything worked out fine.

I was going to take a connecting train but there was a problem with the rails and we had to change to a bus. So, my suitcase had to go in the trunk and not with me. On the bus, I got together with a friend and we started talking. We arrived to our destination and only 10 minutes later I realized something was missing. I panicked, didn’t even know the number of the bus or what to do. And then? I reported the situation to the information office in the train station, they tracked the bus and 6 hours later I got my suitcase back. (I also lost my wallet in an amusement park but someone found it and took it to the Service Center – MILLION THANKS!)

ADVICE: Yes, Swedes are very honest (or also I was very lucky)! Anyways always keep an eye on your things.

At a store, I paid with cash but didn’t checked the money I got in return, so I received a damaged bill (missing one of the corners) than later no place wanted to take. And then what? I found out you can normally take it to a bank where it is replaced. If the bank will not replace the banknote, you can redeem it at the Riksbank.

ADVICE: Always check the condition of the money you get or even better… while in Sweden forget about using cash.

Cycling is very convenient in Sweden, therefore when I moved to Stockholm I bought a second-hand bike from a person that posted it in a Facebook group. It sounds like a normal situation but the wheel tube exploded 3 days after I bought it, then the breaks were not working and it made weird sounds. The reparation was very expensive. Be aware. Some people buy trashy bikes, repair it and sell it 4 times their actual value. Don’t fall into this kind of trap! And then what? I ended up buying the metro card and giving up on cycling.

ADVICE: If you don’t know much about bikes (like me) when you go to buy one, bring someone with you that knows and can help you decide if it is worth the price. Also, if buying second-hand try to get it from students that are leaving the country or moving to another city instead.

I rang the bell few times when finally, a man in his pijamas opened the door. For a moment, I thought it was all a scam and I was about to get kidnap (Ok, ok, maybe that was too much hah!) but then I realized he was even more confused with the situation than me. Google Maps took me to the building across the ACTUAL place, where residential apartments were and not the office building. And then what? I called the place to confirm the address, look up for streets name and made it to the interview on time (across the street). Obviously, I had to tell the story during the interview and we both laughed for a while, because the man in the wrong address had the same name as the one that was interviewing me.

ADVICE: Don’t trust/rely 100% in Google Maps. Think yourself.

(This was before coming to Sweden obviously but I couldn’t leave it out). I brought a (heavy) cooking pot from home because my mom told me I was never going to be able to cook rice in any other. The stove I have at home don’t even warm the material that the pot is made of. So, I have never used it. Plus, a pair of glitter high heels (What was I thinking… heels and bike plus walking a lot and Sweden they just don’t go together) And then what? Who wants a useless cooking pot? …

ADVICE: People, pack smart, just bring basic and practical things, the rest you can buy it here.

I inserted the pin code wrong 3 times so yeah, the card got block. And then what? Had to wait two weeks for a new card to arrive, I survived with supermarket coupons and some money I had in cash.

ADVICE: Don’t rely in your memory 100% in the first weeks when you move to a different country. Everything is new and you have many things to remember, so create a note in your cellphone with all that important numbers and passwords (Just make sure you don’t lose your cellphone haha, ok, not funny). Also, always have some cash at home to use only for emergencies like this.

The supermarket, oh, that place where we all make mistakes the first time in Sweden. I was not the exception, so I bought un-taste yogurt instead of milk and some weird yellow stuff instead of butter. And then what? There was nothing much to do.

ADVICE: Make sure you have your cellphone charge and the Google Translator app with you. Take your time. The first few times you go grocery shopping, ask around, look for pictures and explanations. Some things don’t even have a translation. You will find plenty “exotic” food hahah but maybe you want to try it and take a chance… I just wanted milk and butter. Also don’t forget to always bring your own bags to pack the groceries.

Have you make similar mistakes? Share in the comments and let’s all learn from each other! I still have one year left around here, so I’m sure along with many good things there will also be some other mistakes to come #gosthemoj I’ll keep you posted 🙂 


Written by Ivanna

05 Nov 2017