15 Signs You’re an Immigrant in Sweden

Being an immigrant in Sweden
Being an immigrant in Sweden

You have chosen to live in Sweden, at least for a while. You want to commit to the country and its people. There are a few changes in life as well as thoughts, observations and culture shocks you will experience after having spent some time as an immigrant in Sweden.

More about Swedish culture

Immigration experiences in Sweden

Here are 10 common signs you've been living in Sweden for while, as an immigrant.

  1. You develop an appreciation and interest in outdoor experiences.
  2. After a lovely summer you find yourself complaining about the approaching dark, cold and long winter.
  3. You understand you have to buy more warm cloths and a pair of proper winter boots.
  4. You understand you have to buy fewer clothing items that aren't black.
  5. You try to treat your low winter-energy-level by taking a daily vitamin D pill.
  6. You regularly find yourself daydreaming about a summer vacation somewhere at the beach.
  7. You are surprised that fish, crayfish, shrimps and other seafood can be served in so many variations.
  8. During a conversation, you suddenly start to whisper after you notice that, for the last 10 minutes, you were the loudest speaking person of the whole restaurant.
  9. You find out that, in some countries, ice hockey isn't a niche sport.
  10. You find out about the existence of a sport you never heard of: Innebandy (floor ball).
  11. You miss speaking your language when you talk to a cashier or any other person you want to have a chat with but aren't sure whether your words will be received in the intended way. So you decide to just say “hej” and “tack” instead of making a joke.
    (How to learn Swedish fast – my top tips)
  12. You get an ambivalent attitude towards the Swedish lagom attitude, which, on one hand results in Swedes being a bit slower at work but also not as hectic and stressed compared to the people in your old country.
    (Working culture in Sweden)
  13. You notice that most Swedish toilet lids are made of thin plastic. (Yes, it feels cheap, but is easier to lift and won't hurt as much when dropping onto the head of a thirsty dog or carelessly playing toddler.)
  14. At first it bothered you that Swedes do it. But now you find yourself regularly doing the same: avoiding eye contact.
  15. When you open the menu for beverages and get a reminder how expensive alcohol is in restaurants, you order only one glas glas of wine and decide to skip the second and rather open a bottle later at home instead (which costs less than half the price of that glass of “husets vin” in the restaurant).

Sweden survival guide
How to survive Sweden and Swedish culture

And a few more signs you're an immigrant in Sweden

  1. You want to tell your friends and family in your home country about the challenges you have experienced during your cultural journey in Sweden, but quickly find out that they lose interest in hearing more after you've answered their two questions about Swedish climate conditions and typical Swedish food.
  2. When you enter a bakery, you immediately look for the ticket dispenser even before checking out what you are going to order.
  3. You start getting annoyed when tourists and other non-Swedes only seem to associate ABBA, IKEA, Volvo and meat balls with the Sweden. Thinking to yourself: Sweden is just so much more than that! :)

More about Sweden

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