Euphilena Goh

"I would say it's still difficult getting used to my new life, and it's going to take more time for me to fully adjust and be truly happy here. But it would've been much more difficult if these organizations didn't exist. So if you're planning to move or have just moved to Lund or Malmö, know that you'll never be alone or without help. There are plenty of organizations and associations around to help people like us. Be open-minded, expect that it will be difficult but embrace your new life, and most importantly- find these organizations and be a part of their programs!"

Humid, hot, tropical. Not the words you'd use to describe Sweden but Singapore, where I'm from. A little island of 5.6 million people south of Malaysia and north of the equator. We are multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and multi-religious. You might have heard about Singapore because of Gardens by the Bay or because of Changi airport, if not you've probably heard about us from the movie "Crazy Rich Asians".

I heard stories of many Singaporeans migrating and living outside of the country, and I always wondered what it's like to be out of that comfort zone after having lived your whole life in one place. I could never imagine that for myself, until I met my current sambo. Months of long-distance dating finally led to the discussion of me moving to Sweden. A couple months after my application was sent to Migrationsverket, I decided to just move to Sweden and wait for my decision there. This was just the beginning of my new life in Sweden. It was incredibly stressful to go through all the bureaucracy not knowing when I'll be getting the decision, especially when my life's direction completely depended on it.

Shuffling between Skatteverket and Migrationsverket for months was stressful for both my sambo and me. What intensified this stress was when he had to leave Sweden for six months for work. Even with my sambo around, it was really tough being in a foreign country where the climate, food, and lifestyle was completely different from what I've been used to for the last 28 years of my life. Waiting for my documents alone with no Swedish language skills was incredibly daunting. I was unconfident, scared, and worried most of the time.

I had planned to use my first weeks alone to start preparing myself for life after the decision from the tax, and migration agencies. I started looking for resources and programs around Lund that could help me integrate and get to know my new country better. I had previously heard about International Citizen Hub Lund after attending one of their events, so I signed up for their newsletters and followed them on Facebook for updates. Through them, I learned about the Swedish healthcare system, learned how taxes worked, and learned about Yrkes-SFI where I enrolled after I finally got my "personnummer". ICHL also led me to EOS Cares, which is another association for people new to Sweden like me. It was really helpful having these organizations around to help me during trying times, it made me feel welcome and less alone.

I kept myself busy during this time by job hunting. LinkedIn, career portals, and Arbetsförmedlingen wasn't working well for me at that time. But I came upon a Facebook post by International Citizen Hub Lund about Ideon Science Park. On their site was a directory of companies, I clicked on each and every one of those companies hoping to find a job. With some enthusiasm, hunger for a productive life in Sweden, and support from new friends and loved ones, I finally got myself a job!

September 2019 marks my first year in Sweden. I would say it's still difficult getting used to my new life, and it's going to take more time for me to fully adjust and be truly happy here. But it would've been much more difficult if these organizations didn't exist. So if you're planning to move or have just moved to Lund or Malmö, know that you'll never be alone or without help. There are plenty of organizations and associations around to help people like us. Be open-minded, expect that it will be difficult but embrace your new life, and most importantly- find these organizations and be a part of their programs!

Euphilena Goh

 

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