"Take the time to read up on cultural etiquette and you’ll make the transition from tourist to local a lot easier on yourself. The best way is to register in the "Folkbiblioteken" (public libraries), which is free of cost, and then you are open to an ocean of books. Some books are on Swedish Culture and are in the English or simple Swedish language as well."
Moving to a new country is equal parts exhilarating and scary. You never realize quite how strongly you are tied to the culture of your home country until you move abroad in a strange new world and are faced with a new culture, new language and challenges. I felt the change but quickly realized it is an amazing opportunity and a privilege rather than an adjustment to move to such a fascinating country.
The best way for me to do was to embrace it, open up my mind to distinct ways of living, keep myself as busy as possible, lean into the experience and get the most out of it that I can.
Here’s how I decided to do that in order of priority as per my experience.
Register in Arbetsförmedlingen
Register yourself in the Swedish Public Employment Service as soon as you get Skatteverket’s ID Card. This will help you get internships through Jobbsprånget. It is one of the fastest and easiest to enter the Swedish Job Market and gain some experience. Attend all the possible job fairs and events.
Explore the culture
Take the time to read up on cultural etiquette and you’ll make the transition from tourist to local a lot easier on yourself. The best way is to register in the "Folkbiblioteken" (public libraries), which is free of cost, and then you are open to an ocean of books. Some books are on Swedish Culture and are in the English or simple Swedish language as well.
Discover the language
I have always opined and experienced that language is the most powerful tool to integrate with the new society. Before you get a job or anything of your interest, try to enroll and engage yourself in the most intensive Swedish language courses. Since the waiting time to get into SFI is long, you can attend the paid intensive Swedish classes and later move to SFI or Yrkes-SFI, "Grundläggande" and later "Svenska som Andraspråk" (SAS). You can also attend language cafes that are available across Lund daily from Monday to Saturday.
Socializing and networking
Start socializing and meeting people by attending meet-ups, drop-ins, exhibitions, job fairs, conferences - International Citizen Hub Lund (ICHL), MINE, Mitt Liv, Eventbrite, Malmö startups to name a few. ICHL’s Kick-Start Program is one of ICHL’s paramount workshop to get a collective experience of the entire Swedish job market, culture, recruiter’s expectations, social networking, interview preparations, union, mentorship etc. The Kick-Start Program has developed me and has made me more positive in terms of interacting with people and developing skills. At International Citizen Hub Lund you feel like a home away from home.
Get out in the nature
One of the very best parts of moving to Sweden is to immerse yourself in an entirely different world than you’re used to. Making a point to explore and discover all that’s around you is both fun and a way to acclimate yourself to your new environment. My preference has always been to join EOS Local Discoveries, the best place to start networking, improve your Swedish vocabulary. There are few other Facebook groups as well which takes you for an overnight trek within the Skåne region. Make maximum use of the Summer Skånetrafiken Card.
Don’t neglect your friends and family back home
Our connections keep us grounded, and it’s crucial to have a support system you can lean on - no matter where they live. Make a concerted effort to keep in touch long-distance, a task made much easier in today’s digital age.
And when you feel depressing, remember: your old home is just a plane ride away.
/ Priyank Modi
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