"It was cold and windy, and both streets and sky seemed fused with the same gray filter. But I was on my new life adventure, so I just put on my pink glasses and decided I was going to love this country and succeed here."
My Swedish story began in February 2020. I remember that first sight after getting out of Central Station. It was cold and windy, and both streets and sky seemed fused with the same gray filter. But I was on my new life adventure, so I just put on my pink glasses and decided I was going to love this country and succeed here. My partner and I had a great life back home in Croatia. However, we wanted to experience a new country and the opportunities that come with it. I was pretty amazed by Swedish culture and was impatient to learn about it and live it.
A few weeks after our arrival, covid-19 spread through most of Europe. My boyfriend's job deal was off because the project was cancelled, we had limited savings and no idea what to do next. Sweden didn't have harsh restrictions like other countries, but networking was tricky. We were supposed to find a job fast at a time when people were getting fired.
I think I still have a bit of trauma from that period. Spending a year and a half in pure survival mode leaves you with scars. But like most things in life, going through difficult times also leaves you with some precious things. What I learned:
Fast forwarding this story to today, I am in a good place. In one year, I went from a cleaning job to an amazing job in Copenhagen. I joined PMI Sweden as a volunteer, where I expanded my professional network but also gained some friends. I got my own "Golden girls" squad that I met through the ICHL Kick-Start Program. My Swedish course is currently at pause, but I finished the 3rd level of grund svenska and feel much more comfortable navigating Swedish society.
If you are a newcomer and reading this, hang in there! Some say we live in a time of globalization, and moving around the globe for us humans is not such a big deal anymore. But it is! Leaving your country is like leaving one big part of you behind. Learning a new language is difficult. Finding your new tribe is difficult. Even finding your new hairdresser is a quest on its own. Opening just one door may change your life when you feel that you keep bumping into the same wall in your job search. It doesn't have to be a dream job at first. Maybe it's just volunteering at the nearest place or any available part-time job. Just grab your kanelbulle and take one step at a time.
/ Perina Tobarina