Perspectives on moving to Sweden

Mundus has been collecting, summarising and documenting the needs of internationals in Sweden for a number of years. We believe that there is a wealth of facts and anecdotes that suggest that much more could be done by Sweden to enhance the experience that new arrivals receive on their arrival. This week, two new sources of information were released, highlighting both the scale of the challenges, and for individuals involved, some handy solutions.

Stockholm ranks low in expat city survey

Sweden ranked 69th (out of 72) in a survey conducted by InterNations on life for internationals in major cities. The ranking is based on survey responses from 18,000 people living and working abroad. Stockholm scored poorly for getting settled (69th) and finance and housing (71st). More than four in five respondents (81%) said that housing was not affordable in Stockholm, compared to 44% globally. 79% said it was not easy to find housing in Stockholm, compared to 30% globally. The majority of expats in Stockholm (65%) also rated the local cost of living negatively (compared to 37% globally). Just 32% of expats in Stockholm are happy with their social life, compared to 57% globally. In top of the ranking comes Taipei, Singapore and Bahrain.

New book about settling in Sweden

Given the scale of the challenge, those looking for ways to make a move easier, might consider taking advice from those who have blazed the trail. A new book on relocating to Sweden for work argues the pros and cons. At one level, it has never been easier – the country and its population are known for a good work-life balance, excellent English skills, and a lack of hierarchy in the workplace. This raises expectations. But what is it really like to become part of a new culture and work culture? In a new anthology, Six weeks’ holiday, edited by Sofi Tegsveden Deveaux, 17 international professionals share their personal stories of relocating to Sweden and settling here. We learn of their experiences and discoveries, and their feelings of disappointment, shock, awe, confusion and pride. Contributors include Joshua Bookman: Some reverse American dreams; Marco Guadarrama: A Mexican dreamer in corporate Sweden; Adriana Salazar: A recipe for a successful work life in Sweden; and Maddy Savage: Me, a feminist, too. The book Six weeks’ holiday can be purchased from BeeSwedish or here.

Further reading

Earlier this year, Mundus International – together with expat membership site New in Sweden (NiDS) and Swedish language course provider Swedish for Professionals – published our in-depth analysis of expat issues, in the State of Expat Life in Sweden report. which focused on the social and career challenges that expats needed to overcome.
Shortly we will be profiling the success that one city has had in turbo-charging the integration experience for new arrivals. Lund, home to Sweden’s most prestigious university and the amazing science-research facilities; ESS and MaxIV offers a source of inspiration for other Swedish policy-markers. Stay-tuned for our profile of the International Citizens Hub Lund.