Life in Sweden seems like an unattainable dream for many people abroad. You often hear about Swedes as the happiest people in the world blessed with free healthcare, free education, and fancy Scandinavian furniture from Ikea. They are advancing fast in the technological and pharmaceutical field, as well as a society. Although when you come to Sweden, you realise that not everything is ‘all roses and sunshine’ (you actually don’t get much of these 😂). Camilo summarised the 5 uncomfortable truths about the life in Sweden that you will most likely need to adapt to. But there are still many reasons why I am very happy to live in Sweden. Here are the top 3:
Sweden makes me feel safe.
It’s not just about the little things like that time when I forgot to lock my bike and was worried all day that it will get stolen but it didn’t because that’s not usual in Sweden. Or when I left my laundry basket with some clothes in our shared laundry room and it was left untouched. It’s more about the everyday situations when I realise how safe I feel.
For example, when I was in my country, I took the bus from school every day. I typically arrived at the bus stop about 10 minutes in advance. There was a strange man standing at the bus stop, so I stood a few metres further. After a couple of minutes he approached me asking for money. I could smell alcohol on his breath. I tried to remain calm but I was scared because he wouldn’t go away. Luckily, the bus arrived quickly and the bus driver scared the man off. These instances repeated almost every day.
Of course, this is something that can happen in Sweden too. But it’s just much more rare. And during the one year that I have lived in Sweden, it did not happen to me. Not even once was I approached in this offending way by a stranger. This type of safety I am truly grateful for. You can read more about safety in Sweden in my previous post.
Sweden makes me feel free.
I came to Sweden from a country where you already have a lot of freedom to do what you want whether you are a man or a woman. Read more about what it’s like being a girl/woman in Sweden. I experienced freedom in Sweden also in a different way. It’s not only that you are able to express your opinion freely and do what you like. But you are also often given the time. I feel like the power of free time is often very underestimated in many societies. In Sweden, they know its value. Of course, you need to do the work whether in school or at the job but there is often emphasis on the factor that you must have enough time to perform at your best.
Time is often provided via ‘fika’ breaks during work, regular working hours or the Swedish University System that you should get familiar with. You get a lot of free time since you typically focus only on two or three subjects per half a semester. In this time you can develop in other ways too: take up some Swedish classes or hit the gym. Although this sounds fun, in reality, you also have to remember that this time is intended for some self-study. Time-management is a big thing so you don’t leave everything for the last week and avoid unnecessary pressure.
Sweden allows me to appreciate the little things.
‘There is light at the end of the tunnel.’ In Sweden, it’s more like light at the end of winter. 😅 I won’t lie to you, winter in Sweden can be hard. That is why we come up with so many tips on how to survive. But during some of the winter days, you get a lot of sunshine or a good laugh with your friends which you start to appreciate so much more. It will make you truly happy. And after the winter, you are blessed with beautiful flowers or with the possibility of going on trips – to explore the dazzling Swedish nature! It just makes it so much more worth it!
Sweden has its perks like other countries do but it is also a place that offers you opportunities, freedom, safety, and happiness which are often things not easy to find. Let me know in the comments why you’d like to move to Sweden or why living here makes you happy!
Oh and by the way have a happy International Day of Happiness!