Hey guys, welcome to my blog!
It was a bit challenging for me to choose the right topic for my introductory post. Since the main purpose of the blog is to share my experiences living in Sweden, I decided to write what I like most about the cool (in every sense of the word) country:))
So here come the top 5 things I like about Sweden:
1. Family friendly
When it comes to family policy, Sweden beats other countries. For instance, expectant mothers in Sweden can take labor preparation courses for free. I remember attending a class in my 9th month of pregnancy. The big lecture hall was full of parents-to-be of different nationalities. The course leader explained the delivery process using a baby doll, and what an expectant mom and her partner should do to relieve pain. After a baby is born, parents are entitled to a long paid parental leave that makes it possible for new parents to enjoy their new status and have more time with their newborn. The paid parental leave is 480 days and are equally split between the parents which means that men can take their 240 days of paid paternity leave (80% of their usual salary). Moreover, the Swedish government provides families with monthly child allowance until a kid turns 16. It helps parents with some of childcare costs. If a child gets sick, parents can vabba. It’s a Swedish verb for care for the child. A parent can stay home with the sick child, but still get 80% of salary paid. Additionally, primary, secondary and upper secondary schools are free with free lunches, so parents in Sweden don’t have to worry about saving for their children’s education. Even university tuition fees are free of charge for EU residents.
Regarding a healthy lifestyle, Sweden is amongst the top healthiest countries in Europe where more than half of its population exercise. In the evenings, gyms are especially crowded with people of different ages who prefer working out after work. Alternatively, nature lovers often challenge themselves by an early morning or evening jogging around the town. So it seems people in Sweden are seriously interested in their wellbeing, which is pleasing to the eye!
Besides, Sweden has the best healthcare system and most quality life in the world, which, on the other hand, results in higher amount of taxes. However, people seem to be happy paying them, because the money going to the state is used for social welfare. For example, children in Sweden get free quality health and dental care until they turn 18.
3. World’s greenest country
People in Sweden love nature, so their contribution to preserve the environment is huge. For example, they recycle beverage bottles in special bottle recycling machines that can be found in local supermarkets. The process of inserting bottles into a recycling machine is called panta in Swedish which means to recycle and get reward. Moreover, some Swedish clothing companies like H&M and andotherstories offer discount on their garments when you bring your old clothes for recycling.
Besides, sorting out your household waste into separate containers is a must in Sweden. Recycling houses have separate bins for metal, paper, plastic, newspaper/magazines, glass, batteries and leftovers. Yes, it takes some time for you ”to take out the trash on your way to work” since you need to make sure you have separated it correctly. Further, the waste is burnt to produce energy that is used to heat homes across the country.
4. Swedish lagom lifestyle
Swedish people are known for being peaceful. They try to remain calm in any situation. Is it because they adhere to the lagom philosophy? Applying swedish lagom in life can help reach balance between work and life. Lagom is a Swedish word which is translated as just right amount, not too much and not too little, in moderation, in balance. Swedes very often put lagom philosophy into every aspect of their lives from clothing style, eating habits to work routines. You will rarely see an overdressed Swede in daily life: minimalism, simplicity and comfort are key for looking lagom.
Sometimes standing in a long queue at the checkout of a clothing store you will probably witness a cashier taking his time to give the best service for every customer. Isn’t it irritating for a person like me who is used to bustling? Yes, you will have to wait a little longer before it’s your turn to pay. But it pays off. You will also get a good service with your items beautifully packed.
Moreover, don’t expect a Swede to overstate your looks or abilities. You will probably hear something like ”good” rather than ”amazing” or ”wonderful”. That’s what lagom is, just the right amount.
5. Swedish fika
There is nothing more enjoyable during a workday than having a coffee break with your colleagues that helps you improve productivity and get back to work fresh and motivated. Fika is an essential part of Swedish daily life which means to have a coffee break. It’s a 15-30 minute hangout with your friends, family or colleagues with coffee paired with sweets. If you are not a coffee lover, you can have a tea or a soda alternatively. Otherwise, Swedish cafes offer a wide range of drinks, and I’m sure you can find your favourite! When it comes to pastries, popular ones that people have for fika are chocolate ball or cinnamon bun. Fika ritual, which brings people together, is practiced daily, mostly by Swedes who are known for being reserved. So if you are a newbie in Sweden, fika is among the top things you will like.
No doubt, there are so much more positive things that I like about Sweden, and I will write more about them later on. I hope you guys have a little overview of Sweden now, and if you liked my very first post, come back for more!