"The year 2020 brought us one more thing to deal with, covid19…and everything switched to virtual and digital. Google knows everything, Siri answers to everything, Facebook connects everyone, Zoom invites everyone, Amazon delivers everything and LinkedIn promises a lot but still…human interaction is irreplaceable… and we’ve missed it."
Another success story? Well, not quite yet but I am working on it!
Moving to another country is not something new to my family. We moved from Greece to Germany in 2011. After that, we lived 3 years in Shanghai and since 2018 in Sweden. For some of you it’s like: “been there, done that” and for others sounds a bit more adventurous and it is. My husband’s career assignments with IKEA’s big family gave us the opportunity to travel and explore countries, cultures, destinations.
But not everything is just a walk in the park. For accompanying partners every relocation brings challenges. My favourite quote is: “keeping the spouse employable and the children ready for another smooth transition”. There is a whole mission behind this sentence.
And this is where International Citizen Hub Lund comes in. Why we love it and why the Kick-Start Program is so popular. People there have the big picture of what it means to move to another country. Lisa, Cynthia, Martina, Maria have put time and effort to save your time and efforts, so all the necessary information is there, served on a tray to support you on your first steps. Although their main focus is to help internationals in Sweden and accompanying family members, their experience led them recently to explore how they can help out with other cases too. Like international Master’s students who want to stay in Sweden. Scroll down in their page and read all these amazing stories. Housing, Swedish lessons, Start up advice, Schools, Health system, Career advice...it’s all there. All you need to do is to bring your best smile. And there you will find tons of empathy and support from others who are facing similar issues.
As soon as the basics are settled and your new life begins, it’s your time to shine again. Because somewhere between your spouse’s career goals and ambitions and your share of responsibility that the “family business” keeps running smoothly, you have to fit your own existence. Your dreams and your goals. For me it was a conscious decision to stay at home and raise our two wonderful daughters. During this meaningful time for our family, we were fortunate to live abroad and experience the beautiful things that every country has to offer.
The skills that I have gained from our international experience and from my time with our children are valuable in every aspect of my life and I can say with certainty they are totally transferable in the workplace. I‘ve always considered myself a lifelong learner and I had perfected one of my favourite ways to learn, by listening and observing. On problem solving I go for alternative scenarios based on resourcefulness and good communication, reviewing and revaluating regularly. Frustrations and obstacles are always part of the plan but I choose to deal with them more like an extra factor to my time management plan. Besides the obvious, the foreign language skills (I regret now that I didn’t focus more on my Mandarin lessons though), most important of all, to be open, be open to changes, to new ideas and different perspectives…and yes mastering birthday parties is the top skill.
Being now in Sweden and in a moment of my life that I feel ready to re-enter the workforce the Kick-Start Program gave me exactly what I needed, a compass to navigate through the Swedish workplace, understanding the importance of networking and mentorship, tips for CV and LinkedIn profile, sessions with HR.
The year 2020 brought us one more thing to deal with, covid19…and everything switched to virtual and digital. Google knows everything, Siri answers to everything, Facebook connects everyone, Zoom invites everyone, Amazon delivers everything and LinkedIn promises a lot but still…human interaction is irreplaceable… and we’ve missed it.
Every time I close the door to each house we leave behind, and they were a lot believe me, I say to myself with gratitude: “yep, we lived happily in this home too”. So we pack our luggages with lovely memories and valuable lessons and we move on. To open the door to a new home, or a new job, or a new country, role, career, friend…and the list can be long.
“To be continued”
/ Kalliopi Tzanaki