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Old 07-03-2010, 11:57 AM
 
9 posts, read 19,749 times
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Anybody currently living in Sweden, I'd appreciate any first-hand advice you can offer.

I'm 30, currently living in Texas, USA. I'm single, no children, and am looking for an interesting new place to live. I can travel light and live cheaply in a small apartment. I'm selling off almost all of my possessions because I want to see more of the world, and have been thinking about leaving the USA entirely.

I've worked a lot of different jobs over the past decade, locksmithing, security work, data entry, bank operations, bookstore clerk, I can turn my hand to pretty much anything. I currently get by on about $24K a year, (I make more, that's just for my basic bills), and don't have a college degree.

I'd like to know, please:

- What are the chances I could get an entry level job in Sweden as an American expatriate (or if I just stayed for a year or something)? What are typical salaries for a low level job like that?

- How much can I expect to pay for rent, food, utilities, etc?

- Would I need a car to get around? Would it be possible to live by bike or on foot? Say, for example, in Stockholm?

- What's the culture like for Americans? Will I be regarded as an outsider, even though I'm really polite and friendly?

- A small point, but is internet readily available in Sweden?

I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice, ignorant American that I am. Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:26 PM
 
8 posts, read 15,881 times
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I live in Finland- so very close to sweden. I can give you some bacis info but...
In almost all Europe public transportation is excellent- nothing like usa- so basicly you don't need car.
You can hear that europeans don't like americans- well so-so- but for sure no americans currently living in eu face any kind of negativity. I think that europeans mostly don't like american atitude not american people.
About internet- just the other day here in finland internet was voted as basic human right and state must provide everyone acess to fast wireless internet- so you won't have problems in that area
But EU laws are very, very ,very strict about immigration-especially now in this economy- so that would be one big prob for you- to get visa for work.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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You'd likely need an EU passport, a ton of money, special skills that could qualify you for an employee sponsored work visa, or a student permit to live legally in Sweden or anywhere else in Europe.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:35 PM
 
210 posts, read 624,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milo09 View Post
I live in Finland- so very close to sweden. I can give you some bacis info but...
In almost all Europe public transportation is excellent- nothing like usa- so basicly you don't need car.
You can hear that europeans don't like americans- well so-so- but for sure no americans currently living in eu face any kind of negativity. I think that europeans mostly don't like american atitude not american people.
About internet- just the other day here in finland internet was voted as basic human right and state must provide everyone acess to fast wireless internet- so you won't have problems in that area
But EU laws are very, very ,very strict about immigration-especially now in this economy- so that would be one big prob for you- to get visa for work.

If one has an EU passport, can they just roam about as they please or do restrictions still apply from one EU country to another?

I'm in the process of procuring a Danish passport right now. If I were to get one, which I've been told by the embassy that I qualify, could I live and work anywhere in the EU?

Sorry OP, don't mean to hijack, just curious.

Last edited by DrVanNostrand; 07-03-2010 at 01:54 PM..
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Sweden
23,883 posts, read 66,372,186 times
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Stockholm is a very walkable town.
Excellent public transportation and not that expensive.
Swedish culture is americanized to some extent and most of us speak good english.
You will make friends if you are polite and friendly.
If you choose a bigger city you will find lots of internet cafés.
The Sidewalk Express chain has over 50 cafés in central Stockholm,for example.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Airstrip 1, Oceania
1,013 posts, read 2,634,677 times
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"I'm in the process of procuring a Danish passport right now. If I were to get one, which I've been told by the embassy that I qualify, could I live and work anywhere in the EU?" Yes, you can !!!
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:10 PM
 
599 posts, read 5,599,802 times
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As long as you get the Visa/Passport issue sorted out (which I know very little about) you will do fine! Swedes have a tendency to think people that come from a English speaking country are VERY interesting. Being in your 30s, male, and speak with an American accent, you will be popular amongst women as well. For some reason Swedish women usually are very impressed by an English speaking male.

I also know that it sometimes can be hard to learn Swedish in Sweden. Most Swedes will think it's a golden opportunity to practice their English while talking to you. You will find it hard to make us speak Swedish with you.

Internet access? You should know that the Nordic countries are way ahead of the US when it comes to personal accessibility to computers, Internet, cell phones, etc. Sweden and Finland used to have much more computers per capita than the US. I don't know what the comparison would be today though. The numbers I have are more than 10 years old. Anyway, my point being that you don't have to worry about finding Internet.

One thing maybe worth mentioning though is that we stopped using checks for more than 10 years ago and today most people rarely use cash - at least the people around your age that lives in the larger cities. Make sure to have a credit card that you can use in Sweden without having to pay expensive charges. If you are planning to stay for a longer period of time I would recommend to open a bank account in Sweden and have a bank card linked to it.

I'm currently facing this 'culture shock' but reversed. I have to get used to pay things like my rent in the US by either cash or check instead of using auto-pay, which I'm using for most my bills in Sweden. I have never had a check account before.

Best of luck to you!

/joox
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
13,293 posts, read 13,009,039 times
Reputation: 6639
Quote:
Originally Posted by hawthorne23 View Post
Anybody currently living in Sweden, I'd appreciate any first-hand advice you can offer.

I'm 30, currently living in Texas, USA. I'm single, no children, and am looking for an interesting new place to live. I can travel light and live cheaply in a small apartment. I'm selling off almost all of my possessions because I want to see more of the world, and have been thinking about leaving the USA entirely.

I've worked a lot of different jobs over the past decade, locksmithing, security work, data entry, bank operations, bookstore clerk, I can turn my hand to pretty much anything. I currently get by on about $24K a year, (I make more, that's just for my basic bills), and don't have a college degree.

I'd like to know, please:

- What are the chances I could get an entry level job in Sweden as an American expatriate (or if I just stayed for a year or something)? What are typical salaries for a low level job like that?

- How much can I expect to pay for rent, food, utilities, etc?

- Would I need a car to get around? Would it be possible to live by bike or on foot? Say, for example, in Stockholm?

- What's the culture like for Americans? Will I be regarded as an outsider, even though I'm really polite and friendly?

- A small point, but is internet readily available in Sweden?

I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice, ignorant American that I am. Thanks in advance!
As a mid thirties American male who just got back from 2 years around Stockholm and Uppsala...I don't have much to add besides what's been said in this thread.

Immigration is pretty hard. So is becoming legal to work. I was able to get a work permit easily because I was cohabitating with an EU member. But, it's not so easy to just pack up and move to Sweden. And I was never able to find any kind of real job

Things are expensive in Sweden. Apartments are hard to come by as well
Sök efter bostäder, lägenheter, rum & fritidshus - AndraHand.se
Blocket.se - Sveriges största Köp & Sälj marknad
A couple of craigslisty type websites for Sweden. You'll need to speak Swedish or have something to translate the website. Google Chrome will do it.

We paid 5500 kronor for our 1 bedroom apartment in Solna. It was a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room. And that was a really good deal we got through some fortuitous circumstances.

Food? Luckily I keep copious notes (but you can do the conversions)

Bread was around 40KR / KG
Chicken 100 KR / KG
Beef 60 KR / KG
Eggs 24 KR / Dozen
Apples 15 KR / KG
Lettuce 13 KR / KG
Tomato 25 KR / KG
Tomato 7 KR / KG
Milk 7 KR / Liter
Cheese (for the cheap Hushallsost) 60 KR / KG

One thing that took some getting used to for me was the grocery stores. Very small compared to US stores. I wondered why my Danish girlfriend always wanted to spend hours looking around in Safeway when we went in the US. It's because the European stores just don't have the variety of things. You can still find what you need, just not 15 different brands. And finding the best fruit stand in your neighborhood is important.

And European apples are great, but the oranges suck.

Absolutely no car. The public transportation is outstanding; busses, metro, pendletag It's also pretty flat there with ample bike trails.

I didn't find the Swedish people very friendly. In two years I made very few Swedish friends. Most of my friends were other immigrants. People from very diverse places like Ghana, Pakistan, Kurdistan, Turkey, Finland, Brazil and the Philippines. Now, in NO WAY were the Swedes rude. If you approach someone on the street they are almost always friendly and polite, I just didn't make any Swedish friends more than acquaintances.

It is definitely true that the Swedes will try to speak English to you. It was very frustrating. I was always trying to show off my Swedish and they were always trying to show off their English. If you do get into Sweden. Each commune offers free Svenska For Invandrare (swedish for immigrants) classes. Head down to the vuxenutbildning and get yourself registered.

Good luck. I had an amazing time in Sweden. I'm sorry that it ended. I hope you get a chance to experience it.

if you have any questions, ask away or shoot me a DM
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:34 AM
 
Location: Sweden
23,883 posts, read 66,372,186 times
Reputation: 18438
You can also buy some american food if you get some cravings:
Gray's American Stores
Strangely enough the site is in swedish only.
They seem to have closed their own stores,but you can find their products at 7 Eleven or at the ICA stores.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:48 AM
 
9 posts, read 19,749 times
Reputation: 13
Wow! Thanks for all the enlightenment, folks! I'm really torn now...I think my personal tastes would fit the culture well, but I'm worried about finding work. I can really rough it, I've got a spartan personality when necessary and am happy living without lots of material possessions. Especially when it means I get to see a beautiful country I've never been to before!

Personality-wise, I'm obsessively polite, especially when I know there's a culture gap there and I'm the newcomer that needs to open his mind. I really hope I wouldn't come across like a stereotype American.

I'm also a bit of a techno-hermit, so I almost never carry cash if I can use a card, and I'm a computer nut. I didn't know that about Sweden being so far ahead technologically...and that is *awesome* about the internet being a right and not a privilege!

I'm pretty good with languages...I already started puzzling out some basic words from reading a travel guide. I'm hoping I can start studying the language soon just in case. I used to live in Keflavik, Iceland for a couple years as a kid (folks were Navy) and the language reminds me vaguely of that.

I admit, I'm harboring a "best case fantasy scenario" about the job, where some Swedish newspaper hires me as an English proofreader or something. This is another place I hit my American wall...I have no idea what the working culture is like in Sweden. If, for example, I was a native of Sweden, would I have a lot of trouble walking into a store and filling out an application? Is the job market really tight even for locals?

I was also amazed to discover that round trip airfare to Sweden costs just as much or less than flying to some cities on the other coast in America from me. I found a one-way fare for $430 total. I wonder why that is?

The cost of food is surprising to me...are you saying one loaf of bread costs the equivalent of $5.62 US? And chicken is about $13 per kilogram? That's amazing. Are salaries proportionately higher so people can afford the extra expense?

Anyways, I appreciate all of your help, this is really eye-opening! I'm not sure I would be able to afford it even if I could get through the tight immigration and work-visa problems, but I'd still like to explore the option. Thanks everyone!
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