Starting a new life overseas can be a mix of different feelings. If you are planning to visit Sweden or relocating to Sweden, then you should do a lot of research beforehand to adjust to this place easily. There are a few societal norms that are purely Swedish and Swedes are much concerned about them. One of the biggest differences you might see is that you have to keep your plastic bags with you, you have to take off your shoes while entering someone’s house, you have to squeeze out a lot of food items from tubes like toothpaste and much more.
Cultural and societal differences can lead to some problems for newbies in Sweden, but knowing these basic ones can help you to easily go through the process:
- Swedes love their coffee and food
Swedes love their unique food items and coffee. They have a unique tradition knows as fika to foster the coffee drinking where friends and family members are invited to drink coffee or tea along with some sweet dishes on the table. Most Swedes will enjoy one fika a day as they like it as an opportunity to bond with others.
There are so many traditional and unique dishes to tantalise your taste buds. Besides their world-famous IKEA meatballs, they have raggmunk, gravad latex, köttbullar, kanellbullar, Lussekatter, pepparkakor, chokladbollar, and much more.
- Get your personnummer
It is the national identification number between ten to twelve digits and is widely used to identify individuals in Sweden. This ten or twelve-digit number is a way of unlocking the life in Sweden. You need this number for almost everything like getting help from jobcentre, getting the phone contract, applying for healthcare or unemployment benefits, and even getting loyalty or discount card from your favorite brands.
Getting a job offer before moving to Sweden is the best way to get the personnumer automatically and you will be entitled to all the benefits. Except for this, you will have to prove that you are working or studying in Sweden and have enough savings to support yourself for a while in order to get the personnumer.
- Be informal with names
Swedish aren’t that much formal with the names or titles as others. They will call you by your first name be it your university or college professor, your doctor, your advisor or anyone, and they will expect the same from you during the conversation. That’s the basic standard in Sweden and regardless of the job title or position in the firm, people call each other by their first name. However, there are some exceptions to this rule as well. If you will be in a courtroom, or in front of any political figure, or meet someone from the Swedish royal family, then you have to be pretty careful about the titles.
- It can be quite lonely
Sweden can be the toughest place to make friends and Stockholm is rated badly in terms of friendliness. But there are other ways to make friends. Swedes know that it can be difficult to meet people so they have clubs and sports teams to join where you can meet new people and can make good terms with them. You have to find the relevant club according to your interests and can meet a lot of people there.
- Traditions galore
Every country has its unique traditions and festivities that set them apart from others and so does Sweden. Swedes celebrate Christmas, Midsommer, Santa Lucia (13 December), Kräftskiva (8 August), Valborg (30 April). These traditions have their own unique colors and provide a great opportunity to learn and enjoy the Swedish traditions.