"I also found out about the Kick-Start Program, which came highly recommended by one of the alumnus of the programme. So I felt like this is it and I found the holy grail. But it turned out to be a Pandora's box! It opened up a whole new world of possibilities around me which would have probably taken me ages to figure it out on my own."
My journey in Sweden
Moving to a new country is always filled with mixed feelings, part excitement and part trepidation about how our lives are going to change. Little did I know that it would almost take me 7 year to get back to work life here in Sweden! Although this seems a bit stretched and even downright scary, I have to admit that there was never a time when I was either bored or just whiled away watching TV at home.
When I moved to Sweden due to my husband’s work in 2013, I was already a bit tired from the IT career I had had so far, so I made a decision to study again and follow my calling. What better country than Sweden to study Sustainability! I enrolled at Lund university master’s programme on Sustainability and in parallel I also volunteered in an NGO in Lund working on urban gardening projects.
After graduation, reality hit me, although I had a great student life and met some new people through the NGO, my network was still really small. My Swedish language skill was too basic to get me anywhere so I felt really lost. I remember the times when I used to hang around the stadsbiblioteket's entrance notice board which had a lot of flyers pinned to see which activity can I take up next or perhaps some leads to a new job.
Around the same time I noticed the cute building in front of the library with the board titled International Citizen Hub Lund. This got me curious so I checked their website and found some very useful seminars which I could attend.
I also found out about the Kick-Start Program, which came highly recommended by one of the alumnus of the programme. So I felt like this is it and I found the holy grail. But it turned out to be a Pandora's box! It opened up a whole new world of possibilities around me which would have probably taken me ages to figure it out on my own.
Although I had applied to jobs before, this really was the first time I could get my CV reviewed by someone with more experience in this cultural context and got concrete tips for it. I met some fantastic people who were on a similar journey so we shared a sense of community around here. When I saw such a great talent pool, it was very reassuring to know that I am not alone and it is not my fault entirely that I do not have a job yet.
Apart from solid tips, links and resources shared by the hub, there was also an effect on my inner confidence and self esteem too. I did not find a job immediately, but definitely this was a stepping stone for future steps that I took. I made use of other available support programmes too and finally got my first salary paying job in Malmö in December 2020.
In retrospect, I can say that I've learned a lot about myself and Sweden in this journey.
Things I have learnt:
1. Be curious, alway keep learning.
2. Take initiative and be proactive keeping Swedish sensitivities in mind of course.
3. Try to make use of networking events as much as you can handle. You just get better at talking and asking the right questions each time you attend a new event.
4. Volunteering and other not-your-profile jobs are also good to take up which shows that you are self-driven.
5. Do things that boost your confidence. A right mix of soft and hard skills is the recipe for success.
/ Madhuri Muralidhar