Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Welcome to Sweden

Welcome to Sweden!

June of 2007 I landed at Arlanda airport for my Swedish adventure. I was born in Sweden but moved to the US when I was about 6. I made trips to Sweden, I even studied in Sweden for a bit, but I became very American. After having graduated from college I decided it was time to move to my birth country.

Maybe it's some sort of identity crisis. Maybe I'm running away from a real job and a real life. Maybe I just needed a change. Hell, it could be all of those things. Either way, here I am in Sweden learning to be a Swede while carrying a lifetime of Americanism in me. We'll see how it goes.

And I hope you stick around to experience it with me. I write what I see here in Sweden. What I hear. What I experience. The good, the bad, and everything in between. I even throw in some advice for those of you who want to move to the land of the midnight sun. Take what I write for what it’s worth…

Please leave your thoughts, complaints, questions, suggestions, anything really. Just comment. Good or bad, I respond to everything. And of course, subscribe so you can be the first to know when I update.

And if you want, shoot me an email: aswedishamericaninsweden at gmail dot com.

By the way. As of August 2014, I am in Sweden for a year conducting research for my PhD. I'm receiving funding from various organizations to conduct that research. That means that every word I write, every idea I put forth, everything I do is because I choose to do so and it represents me and me alone. Which is funny, because I've written things that I don't even agree with now. I suppose that happens when I started this blog bak in 2007. All those things I write in the future, or have already written, they do not reflect any position by any organization that is funding me - like a non-profit. Or a university. Or a government. Or a for-profit. Or anyone. Good. I'm glad we had this talk.

If you're planning on possibly moving to Sweden, or even just visiting for a while check out my Moving to Sweden series:
Moving to Sweden – What to Bring
Moving to Sweden – The Swedish Language
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Place to Live
Moving to Sweden – The Metric System and You
Moving to Sweden – Getting a Cell Phone
Moving to Sweden – Getting from the Airport to Stockholm City
Moving to Sweden – The Weather
Moving to Sweden – Swedish Citizenship Test
Moving to Sweden – Public Holidays
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Job
Moving to Sweden – Culture Shock: It's the Little Things
Moving to Sweden – Making Friends
Moving to Sweden – Cost of Living
Moving to Sweden – The Laundry Room
Moving to Sweden – Marijuana
Moving to Sweden – Most Common Jobs and Salaries

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  1. I shall read your blog religiously.*


  2. religiously is a bold statement so I'm more than happy to take oft

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  3. Good luck to you. I want to move to Sweden because of a burgeoning identity crisis, lack of a job and career.

    I will be keeping up with your blog. :)

  4. Welcome to my world then, sounds like you're in the same boat as me!

  5. I found your blog looking for comfort and support on my big choice to move to Sweden. I am currently just trying to figure out how an American can get a job, a visa and move preferably all at the same time. I am still not to the part where you find a job and live happily ever after but i hav enever been one to jump to the end with out reading the beginning. I have many questions to ask you if you have time, let me know if you are interested.

  6. definitely! shoot me an email at and I'll do my best to answer your questions. look forward to hearing about the big move! good luck!

  7. Jag är fascinerad av människor som flyttar till Sverige istället för ifrån Sverige. Inte för att jag tycker illa om svenskheten eller glorifierar USA... Har svårt att se vad som är attraktivt och inte går att hitta någon annanstans. Om man har rötter här är det ju iofs en annan sak. Haven't read enough of your blog yet to tell whether you know an equal amount of Swedish to English. I - for one - think you're brave moving such a long way. I moved from Eskilstuna to Kramfors (and back) and it wasn't too easy on me. I am about your age and wouldn't even begin to think about making something as drastic.

  8. Jag är ju född här och det är nog därför jag flyttade hit och söker... någonting.

    But it's been well worth the move. And feel free to comment in Swedish or English. What I usually end up doing is translating the gist of what someone wrote in Swedish and then respond in English. Seems to work best that way.

    And I think any move is hard, regardless of how far you go. Just moving in itself is a brave move and an amazing experience.

  9. Hi, where in Sweden you are at? I'm wondering if you have 2 passport? I'm not a Swede but my step dad is Swedish American. I'm planning to go back to Sweden although it's not my hometown but my step father is just like my real dad and Sweden has been calling me to go back *smile*

  10. I'm in Stockholm. And yes, I have dual citizenship. It's pretty handy.

    You should definitely make a trip out to Stockholm. It's an interesting place and well wortha visit.

  11. thanks for the email man...i will be keepin up with the blog and postin when i need to vent....david

    svedala sweden

  12. I look forward to it. It's necessary sometimes...

  13. I used to live in USA too and I just moved back to Sweden. My teenagekids love it here and they loved it there. I'm, guessing my oldest will move back after college. I want to have a bit of both. Another Swede over there said "once you've made the first move you'll never be whole again" I know what she means. There's always a part missing where ever I am, but I'm also blessed of knowing two worlds.

  14. that's very true. there will always be a part that is missing. but at the same time there will always be a part of both countries there. its pretty amazing.

  15. Hej! I just found your blog and I found some of your posts very interesting. I'm moving to Sweden (from Spain) in July. I've been there twice visiting and I must say what a beautiful country it is. Love the landscapes! I'm learning Swedish at the moment which I'm finding a bit difficult... but I still have some time left before packing so... :)
    I read in one of your posts you don't like coffee... I love coffee and i still find Swedish coffee really strong! Anyway, I will keep reading your blog!

  16. Glad to hear it Patricia. Hope you enjoy it.

    I'm heading to Spain soon for the first time. Looking forward to it.

    Yeah I just can't do the coffee thing. Apparently Swedes make their drip coffee really strong. Either way I just don't like the taste.

  17. Hey, I am 19, i moved to Finland when i was 17, and that has been pretty difficult but i have survived so far.

    I am wanting to move to Sweden soon hopefully, Stockholm was so nice when i went last summer.

    I love the culture and history and the language, and just want to know more and be surrounded by it.

    I have made a post on my blog where i have described some stuff about me in Swedish, its not much, but i was wondering and hoping if you could check it out? See if i have spelt everything correctly lol, and that its grammatically correct.

    It would be greatly appreciated if you could help me with Swedish, and with things about Sweden.

    I look forwards to reading more on your Blog.

  18. I'll be honest, my Swedish grammar when it comes to writing isn't all that impressive. But good work with the writing.

  19. Hey, I'm 21 and live in California, I also am interested in moving to Sweden. If you could send me a email I would be most greatfull. Your blog was very informative but I wanted to ask some questions more in depth. It would mean a lot to me.

  20. definitely. it's a pretty glorious place. I'll shoot you an email in the next day or two.

  21. Hey, just bumped into your blog and found a few interesting stories.... 'cause I'm visiting Stockholm the week after next and was wondering what to see if I only have a week to be there! Read your story of the cruise to helsinki, which was something I had in mind but now don't know. I did want to bicycle around the city if weather was good.
    let me know what you would recommend for my short visit!

  22. you know, the helsinki trip that we took probably wasn't the best representation. at least I hope so for finlands sake. it was february. cold. dark. miserable. and I was sick. I've heard some people say they absolutely love the trip.

    that being said if you only have a week there is plenty of stuff to do in Stockholm alone without heading to finland.

    check out gamla stan. just wander around. you could spend an entire day pretty easy just wandering in and out of the little shops, cafes, and everything else they have going on in gamla stan.

    spend a day and check out a couple of museums. vasa is great. the history museum is good, modern museum is interesting. the castle is entertaining too.

    take a day and check out skansen. especially if its a nice day. has a bit of everything and is kind of a living outdoor museum. I like it. but Im a history nerd.

    if it's nice weather just wander around some of the grassy areas. djurgården is amazing in good weather. find a place to go swimming. plenty of places throughout town which is kind of cool.

    wander around kungsträdgården, östermalm, hötorget and the surrounding areas.

    sample some strömming from the stand right out front of slussen.

    spend a day shopping and doing the souvenir thing. stockholm loves its design so check out designtorget. there's a big one right by sergels torg which is very close to central station.

    spend a night in södermalm and check out all the cool little bars. or if you want a little fancier style (and in my opinion a bit snobbier) go to stureplan.

    also, f you're staying in town get a 7 day public transportation pass. it works on the busses, subways, and commuter trains if you head out of the city. if you're going to be sing ublic transportation its much cheaper to do the 7 day pass than buying individual tickets. that being said... stockholm is a very walkable city.

    hope that helps a bit. good luck.

  23. Hey!
    I found your blog while searching for Swedish stereotypes. I'm a native Swede, and I live in Stockholm. I, myself (as someone already mentioned) can't understand why anybody would like to move here... Haha. Well, I find your blog very interesting and I was just wondering if you had any expectations moving here that didn't come true?
    Keep up the good work!

  24. Sweden is alot more than Stockholm though :) I myself live in Gothenborg and been in Stockholm only for a few days(19 years old) And its a beautiful city i must say :)

    Though Gothenborg is a extremly nice place to check out aswell, and if u are to take a trip to sweden there is alot of places to visit, especially if u like history :) Sweden actually been a rather big force in Europe back in the days when Norway and Finland was apart of Sweden.

    I 2 stumbled across this blog, actually when looking for other people who were going to Fotball EM 2008 in Austria, looking for people who might share how they were going to make the trip and their stay in salzburg/innsbruck :) Not sure why.
    Anyway since i saw this and got interested, i've got 2 things that i've been wondering abit. When it comes to everything in sweden(and most other countries in europe) we get the majority of our tv series and music in english, and alot of it comes from USA.

    What i'm wondering tho, seeing that i love some of the swedish artists that will never reach outside sweden unless they'd translate their stuff to english(which proberly would destroy it)
    Is there any american artists/english etc that is close to what artists like Lars Winnerbäck/Gyllene Tider/Håkan Hellström/Magnus Uggla/Povel Ramel is to sweden? It can be abit tireing to hear on the artists taht usually play on "international" MTV channel. Since English is a international language, is there any local artists that you know of in America, who can like, the swedish artists i've counted on my fingers, give that kind of summer feeling u get when u go and listen to them in a big Park.

    Also, is there any humour series/movies that is in the same type of the swedish "Nile city"(,6)

    I'm just curious since i know so little about america except what i've seen in tv series and in movies... And if u, as a guy who lived most of your life in america, feels anything in particular when u watch our kind of artists who sings in swedish, or our swedish humour?:) Is there any difference, is the series we get from America, the most nostalgic ones u got(unsure if that's teh right spelling)

    Sorry for the wall of text. Anyway, artists/humour - any difference between america and sweden?:)

    You can proberly edit some of this out if u want, since most of it is long questions^^

  25. @sara - I'll be honest my biggest expectation that hasn't gone quite as planned was the working enviornment. I've found that working in Sweden is much different than working in the US. The fika breaks. The leaving early on Friday. The numerous days off both vacation wise and red days. The lack of urgency in returning phone calls and emails. It's all very new and interesting to me. I guess I expected it to be much more like the US. I was wrong. So that's probably the biggest thing. kind of boring but the one that really sticks out.

    @braus - good question and glad you found your way here. I'm not really sure about American artists that can give that feeling. I suppose it will always depend on who you ask but I would say that country music in the US might be close to giving that sort of summer feeling, maybe not the same sort of music but that's what I would say. Anyone else have suggestions?

    and when it comes to humor I actually quite like Swedish humor. Or at least the movies and shows I've seen. That being said I have seen one Swedish stand up act live and wasn't all that impressed. But Swedish humor differs a little bit. I would describe it as a bit more dry. Which I quite like while others aren't too enamored with. Again, anyone else have comments on this? Actually very interesting questions and something I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about before.

    And just in response to the American shows that make their way here. In my opinion, they aren't always the cream of the crop. Of course there are so many channels in the US that there is just a lot of crap on TV. I do enjoy the fact the Friday Night Lights has made it over here mostly because it is by far my favorite show on TV. The Office and Scrubs are also good.

  26. Dude update your blog already. You've got readership, and we're dying here man.

  27. I know. I really dropped the ball. But I'm back. And it's been updated. Stay with me here...

  28. I'll enjoy rading your blog, I moved from Swden to the U.S in August of 2005. But it is fun reading what you have to say and getting your perspective on things..

  29. glad to hear it. hope you enjoy it!

  30. hi....just to say am really enjoying your blog ....found it while checking out some info about moving there [our daughter has been living in Dalsland for the last 6 years].... we have been told it is a country for youngsters but what the hell i cant wait to get there .........keep up the good work as its great reading

  31. glad that you've been enjoying it. sweden is an interesting place. but Ill be honest, Ive never heard it referred to as a country for youngsters. but maybe thats because I am a youngster and never took that into account. anyway, keep reading and commenting, and good luck.

  32. Stumbled across your blog and I'm glad I did. It is nice to read another outsider's perspective.

  33. glad you made it! there are a few other blogs to the side that are also outsiders here in sweden in case you just cant get enough of the foreigners perspective.

  34. Hi everyone! Well, I am originally from Sweden, but moved to the US when I was 7. I have gone back to Sweden many times since. I do miss being in Sweden, I haven’t been there since 2004. When I have gone there, I would go 3 months at a time (while I was in college) and even worked there. I have contemplated on moving there since 2004, but I am too scared of not having what I have here in the states (my bf, sister, dad, etc..) The good part about going back to Sweden is that I have my mom there and her whole family (don’t have to worry about a place to live :) which is nice).

    It is much easier for someone younger than me (28) to move there without really having too many obligations. Anyhoot, I am glad to have stumbled across your blog, it’s very interesting! I am looking forward to your other blogs.

  35. glad you came across it. sounds like youre in a simlar situation to me.

    but come on now... 28 isnt too old to make a move.

  36. Hey there my friends of the Swedish-land;my great-grandfather came to America as a little boy and my son and I are thinking about re-settling in Sweden but have no idea of the complexities involved. I am a fifty something fellow with a nursing license (LPN) which is good in three states, also a localized successful RandB singer with an interesting family background in Hollywood milieu et al.
    My son is thirty years old, mildly disabled ,diagnosed with a schizo-affective disorder. We have some money and are not destitute. What kind of chances would we have in moving to Sweden?

    Micah Evans (Larson)

  37. good questions, it depends on your citizenship really. if you can claim swedish citizenship it is no problem at all. that would be the first thing I would look into. also if you can get a job then it is pretty easy to bring along the whole family. nursing tends to be in high demand in sweden but how licenses transfer I have no idea.

    I would start with a swedish embassy or consulate near you, and then also check out migrationsverket, thats the immigration board for sweden:

    hope that helps a little bit.

  38. I've been planning on getting my boyfriend from California to come and move in with me here in Sweden. I've been looking at the stuff at Migrationsverkets website about the procedure in moving and such, and made a feq inquiries there though bureaucracy never really was my thing. I'd love to actually get in contact with one such as yourself as to how the process eventually pans out, things you need to think of etc. If you could, and if you'd like I'd love to hear from you about this subject. Contact info in my profile =3

  39. definitely... just shoot me an email:
    aswedishamericaninsweden at gmail dot com

    obviously migrationsverket is probably your best bet when it comes to all of the official stuff. but id be happy to tell you a bit how it went for me.

    Ive written quite a bit about it in all my posts about moving to sweden. they are all linked to in the sidebar.

  40. Seriously, I think I hit the gold mine. I am about to study abroad in Sweden so in my attempts to research anything that would help me out while I was there I stumbled across your wonderful, hilariously written, yet extremely informative blog. So thank you, for the best information I have yet to receive.

  41. glad to hear it, good luck with the move!

  42. So glad I found this blog! I can't wait to go through all 4 years of posts. haha. I'm hoping to move out to Sweden soon but honestly don't know enough about what I'm getting myself into.

    So, thanks in advance!


  43. @Ariel - hope its been of some use to you at least and that you manage to make the move soon!

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