My First Week in Sweden

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A week in Sweden made me realize how lucky I am to be here. Being on my own in a country that’s far from home scares me the most. So far I didn’t have any problems yet. But, I’m hoping that everything will go as smoothly as it is now. My flight to Sweden was rushed after I finally completed my documents. I had two days to pack everything; I didn’t even have the time to see my friends. Not a big deal, though, since I’ve been waiting for this moment since 2018 started. On April 25, I received my flight details for the next day. Yes, my flight is the day after. I messaged some of my friends about it, and everyone asked me the same question:

Are you ready? Do you really want it?

Honestly, I’ve been waiting for this for so long that I don’t even know how I feel the day I left the Philippines. I told Miguel that maybe it hasn’t sunk in yet; I would probably cry my heart out a few days after my arrival.

Surprisingly, I am feeling okay! A lot better, actually. 

A week in Sweden, and I am still settling in.


I couldn’t move into my apartment until 5 PM

Since everything is short-noticed, my travel coordinator and landlord is unavailable in the morning. I had to wait until 5 PM before I can move to my apartment.

Where was I and where did I leave my luggage? 

The company booked me a taxi from the airport to the office. As early as 8-something, I went to the office with 2 large items of luggage and 1 small luggage. Everyone was kind enough to see me at the office despite their busy day. I met everyone on the team, and I couldn’t believe how happy they were that I finally arrived! I’m embarrassed at the same time because of the brilliant ideas of the Philippine government that delay my arrival.

While waiting, I went to Kungsträdgården to see the cherry blossoms. My coworkers just suggested it to me.

I had no money to pay for the public toilet

One thing that you should know about Sweden is the public toilets are not free. I didn’t have coins, because I know that even public toilets accept credit card as payment. But, it’s good to know that there are some that only accept coins (10c, 5c or 2c).

One funny story: I didn’t know that the door in the public toilet that I paid will automatically open or close. I exerted so much effort just trying to close it. Somebody even had to help me! Haha. It was embarrassing, but at least now I know.

Settling in my new apartment

I have been warned that it’s normal for you to pay 30% – 50% of your salary for rent. One adjustment that I have to get used to! Fortunately, I am so lucky and happy with my apartment.

There are two groceries nearby: ICA Nära and ICA Kvantum. The bus station is only less than a 5-minute walk from my apartment, the train station is only 10-15 minutes walk. On my way to work, I usually ride the bus then alight at the nearest tunnelbana (subway).

Unlimited ride in trains, buses, and boats

For 860kr, you could travel to Stockholm for 30 days. If you travel a lot (like commuting to work every day), it is recommended that you buy an SL card with 30 days of validity. It is much cheaper than buying single journey tickets as it costs around 30-40kr.

Everyone I know knows how much I hate commuting. But, I love the transportation system here. Trains and buses are always on time and clean. There’s no traffic! I think that the definition of traffic here is a lot different from my definition of traffic. Anyway, you know what I mean.

Language barrier

Almost everyone in Sweden knows how to speak English. In fact, English is their second language. It’s not that difficult to communicate with them. I just have to get myself familiarized with the sounds of their letters. For example, ‘J’ is pronounced as ‘Y’.

Another problem that I have encountered regarding the language barrier is when I’m grocery shopping. Almost everything is in Swedish. I’m currently learning Swedish now, so I am hoping that I could understand some words in a few months.

The Swedish Laundry

Every blog I have read before coming here said that the laundry system is hard to understand. I haven’t tried doing my laundry yet, though, so I couldn’t say anything. That’s the reason why I hoped for a washing machine in my apartment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have one. I can do my laundry in the basement of the apartment building.

The first week of work

The main reason why I came here! I am lucky I found this job and it gave me a lot of opportunities. For the first time in my career, I’ve experienced the proper onboarding. Although I am not yet done with the onboarding program, I still can’t believe how organized everything is in the company: everything that you need to know is documented. I like the standing desks, massage room, free coffee and fruits, and the list goes on! PLUS, I got a new iPhone! Another freebie at work, yay!

Registration in the Swedish Population Register

Since I’ve moved to Sweden and I plan to stay here for a long time, I need to have myself registered to the Swedish population. A travel coordinator helped me submit the documents needed at the Tax Agency. To be honest, I didn’t expect the process to be fast – it took me around 40 minutes only to submit the documents. I did it during office hours.

It was kinda funny because my mindset every time I have to do some government stuff was I need a day or half-day to finish it. That’s why I even asked my coworker if I should go to work early or get a half-day off to finish it. Never did I imagine that it would take less than an hour! Well, it took me 20 minutes to arrive at the Tax Agency because I walked and my travel coordinator and I talked as well about the processes that I will do next.

I can’t wait to get my ID card!

That’s it for this post! My first week in Sweden was amazing. I’m so glad I didn’t feel homesick at all, I feel like Sweden is really my home now. I’ll definitely keep you updated about my life here in Sweden, and share more pictures once I start exploring Stockholm. It’s just that I want to stay home for now, and enjoy my time alone. I visited a few places already, but we’ll see where I’ll go next.

  1. Congratulations on the move, Ate Karen! Better late than never. I am so happy for you. It’s also a dream of mine to move in another country and have a place to call my home. For now, Philippines isn’t one despite being my home country. You know what I mean.

    Augustin Ra |

    1. Philippines will always be my home, but I don’t feel safe there. 🙁 I love Sweden, and hopefully I’ll stay here for good. It is so much different. I hope you’ll move to another country soon.

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