Being a Swede outside Sweden
Ever since I was a little girl traveling has been one of my biggest passions in life. My parents also loved to travel and when I grew up they took me and my brother to faraway places. I think my biggest learning in life came from travels. I seen the rich and poor, played with kids that spoke languages that I could not understand a word of, created memories from Manhattan to Bangkok before they became places that “everyone” been to, I learned that life is not like a straight highway – you have to adapt and sometimes take sideways. Travels has thought me a lot. When I was 15 I went for my first trip without my parents. To Malta and an english course for three weeks. I felt really grown up when I got there and even older when I got back.
I always felt like a world citizen and the world was there to be discovered. I dreamed about living abroad (and still do) and after highschool I made it come true and for the first time in my life I settled down outside my birthplace Västerås in Sweden. At the age of 19 I moved by myself to Boca Raton in Florida, US for a year. In Florida I enjoyed the beautiful beaches, country clubs, training in the sunny weather and I studied a course about the american society. A few weeks after I returned to Sweden I moved to Jönköping and started my way to my Master degree in Business administration at Jönköping International Business School. With my international mindset I did course picked an all English international program. After two years we got the opportunity to go for one or two exchange semester and after hard work I got my both top choices.
I still remember the day when I was standing in the looker room at the gym in Jönköping just about to instruct a boxing class when I got to know that I was admitted to Singapore Management University. I was going to move to Singapore for half a year. One of my favorite countries worldwide. Then I would have three months on break (travels) before doing my second exchange semester in Seoul, South Korea at one of the most privileged private universities in the country. I was beyond excited! This was 2007/2008 and was one of the best years in my life.
I came back to Sweden, spent half a year in Jönköping before moving to Gothenburg to finish my studies. Applied for jobs and got one at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg. I always had a dream about working in the aviation industry and all of a sudden I was there. So I moved to Hamburg for half a year of training. Starting the real working life in a German company. I had my prejudices but the real life was different. After six months I moved to Norway to be an onsite Customer Service Manager for a key customer in Norway so for 1,5 year I lived the expat life in Norway. That time included a lot of ups and downs in my life. I stayed in the company for 2 years and one day when I was at the very bottom of my down I got a job at Scandinavian airlines in Stockholm and since the 1st of September 2011 I been living in Sweden again. It was not the same Sweden I returned to. I was different and I had a lot of new knowledge and experiences with me. I now have lived in my home country five years I have not adapted back to the super Swedish style, having tacos’s at Fridays, watching the Eurovision song contest, celebrating midsummer and so on. I think it is a really, really good life experience to live abroad for some time although it is difficult and you feel that the world is against you many times it is worth it.
Honestly I cannot say that I want to live in Sweden for the rest of my life. As long as I can travel as much as I want I am fine living here but if I get the opportunity to live the expat life again I will take it.
This was the short version story about my life abroad and an introduction to a serial story about expat life in US, Singapore, South Korea, Germany and Norway here in my blog. Do’s and don’ts, tips & trix and so on.
Questions on that?
/ Pernilla the not so Swedish Swede