Why did you move to Sweden?
Mainly due to my Swedish wife Pernilla. It was always part of the plan that if we ever decided to have children, it would be in Sweden. For Pernilla to be close to her family for support and also because the Swedish parental leave and health system is so good.
When did you move to Sweden?
First time ‘round was a bit of a trial run for 2ish years in 2014. We then went back to Aus for 2 years to soak up as much sun and surf before returning to Sweden in 2018 to start our family.
What do you wish you knew about Sweden, when you first moved here?
I wish I had known that my Australian Electrical certificates would not have been accepted due to being outside the EU. This was a pretty big speed hump as it meant I basically had to be an apprentice over again, despite having 12 years experience. While this has since changed it was quite the shock when I finally got a start with a Swedish company.
How would you compare the work culture of your home country to Sweden’s work culture?
The work culture is quite different between Australia and Sweden, at least in my experience. Sweden seems to be more relaxed about work ethics and is more level across the field pay wise, in the name of fairness most people (to my knowledge) are paid fairly similarly depending on how long you have been with the firm, not how productive you are. Australia i think has more of a strong work ethic and pay is judged by productivity. I definitely used to work more hours back home, which was somewhat expected. Whereas here, I enjoy doing my 7-4 work day and going home on time. I do miss the extra OT pay though.
Did you have any trouble getting your professional credentials (for your work) recognised in Sweden?
As mentioned above there was trouble with my certificates being from outside the EU. At the time the only skills recognition course was in Swedish, which ruled that out for me, but the training company providing the Validering course allowed me to be signed off if could gain 3 months experience with a Swedish firm. I did this with my current company and was offered continued employment. While I was happy to be doing what I knew it was quite a step back career wise and a huge pay cut.
What’s your favourite part about living in Sweden?
At the moment it is the parental leave. I have taken every friday off for the rest of the year which is something I would never be able to do in Aus. It is a beautiful country and I love the contrast between the seasons. Australia misses out on the changing of the seasons. Being part of Europe is also something I find amazing, you’re able to cross a bridge to another country in half an hour where in Australia you can drive on a road for half an hour and go nowhere.
What do you struggle with the most in Sweden?
I miss surfing. I used to surf every day if I could, its great exercise and a therapy for me. I have all the gear i need here to surf here but it requires a lot more effort for not much reward. And its bloody cold! I used to struggle with the language but, like everything, practice makes perfect.
What’s the biggest misconception you’ve come across about Sweden and/or Swedes?
I was fairly open minded coming in so I don’t really have any.
Can you speak Swedish? If so, how did you learn? How often do you get to speak Swedish?
I did learn Swedish. I took the first 2 courses at Folketsuniversitet when I first moved here. I speak it daily now almost exclusively at work but not a word to my wife. Habit keeps us speaking English at home.
What advice would you give to someone (in similar circumstances, moving for love) who is moving to Sweden?
Do a little bit of extra homework about your career before coming and find a community of expats. For me it was the Australian Football Club in Malmö, while Swedes are very welcoming it was nice to have that familiarity. It was also good to have people who had been through the move before and could help with visa, immigration and work questions.