29 Sep, 2017
Age: 25
Status: on initial work permit

What brought you to Sweden?

I originally came here as an au pair after graduating from university

When did you move to Sweden?

August 2014

What do you wish you knew about Sweden, when you first moved here?

I had been told prior to arriving here that I could get by with English alone and that it wasn’t necessary to learn Swedish, but I wish I’d started learning a bit before I came so that I could more easily navigate things like the bank and health care that don’t always have a lot of information available in English. I also knew nothing about my rights as a worker, so I wish I’d done my homework a bit in that area.

How would you compare the Swedish work culture to your home country’s work culture?

A lot more relaxed! People in the states tend to define themselves by their work and work many more hours (on average) than in Sweden; the work-life balance here is a lot healthier.

What’s your favourite part about living in Sweden?

It’s just so easy to live here day-to-day. Compared to where I’ve lived before, public transportation is very reliable and more affordable, if I’m sick I don’t have to worry about enormous co-pays, and generally speaking the system here simply works well compared to many places in the U.S.

What do you struggle with the most in Sweden?

I still don’t always know what I’m entitled to, which frankly is more of a fault on my employer’s end. For instance, I didn’t know until I’d worked here for almost a year that I was entitled to paid days off for every red day I worked.

Any tips for people doing the Sambo visa or work permit application?

Talk to people who’ve done the process before! The wording on the applications can be painfully vague, and I’ve found it so useful to seek advice from people who have successfully navigated the process before.

When did you apply for your work permit and what is the current state of your application?

I applied in March or April of 2016, and since October 2016 I’ve had a work visa which is valid until 2018.

Learning Swedish
Migration Agency
Written by Nicola Owen