Living Abroad: My First Week Living in Sweden

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One week later after relocating to Sweden, I still couldn’t believe that I am actually living in Sweden! Being on my own in a country far from home, it felt like I don’t have a choice but to be strong and rely on myself only.

Living in Sweden for one week doesn’t make that big of a difference in my life yet. I still feel like I am on vacation in Stockholm and it didn’t feel so real. Although I started coming to work 3 days after I arrived.

Everything is exciting during my first week living in Sweden. I didn’t feel homesick at all and I am just excited to wake up every day and explore Stockholm.

I am surprised that I am feeling okay about living abroad alone and having no friends at all in a new country. I am quite disappointed though because I was not able to meet my friends before migrating to Sweden from the Philippines.

Anyway, on the day of my flight, I shared a blog post that I am moving to Stockholm. Because of the delay with my relocation to Sweden, I was able to skip winter and arrived in spring instead.

My arrival in Stockholm, Sweden

I left the Philippines on April 26, 2018. That was a special day too because it was my parents’ anniversary! Obviously, the flight from Manila to Stockholm takes almost a day, so I arrived in Sweden the next day at 8 AM.

Ideally, I would go straight to the apartment, but unfortunately, no one can give the keys to me until 5 PM.

So, I had to go to the office and leave my luggage. Imagine how tired I was! I had to roam around in Stockholm to kill time. I wanted to take a shower and sleep, but I couldn’t!

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 overseas exit clearance in the Philippines that delayed my arrival for more than 3 months.

The first thing on my to-do list as soon as I arrived in Sweden is to visit Kungsträdgården and see the cherry blossoms for the first time. I came at a perfect time because the cherry blossoms were blooming!

I am so in love with Stockholm already and I am just thinking that I am now living in Stockholm. It was just a dream before! I was just thinking that I want to move abroad and here I am.

Of course, one thing I need to do while living in Sweden is to familiarize myself with its cost of living.

I lived in the Philippines before relocating to Sweden, so for me, everything here is way more expensive! Here’s a breakdown of some of my expenses during my first day in Sweden:

Taxi tip70 SEK
Sim card45 SEK
1 GB data55 SEK
Avocado sandwich67 SEK
Iced latte42 SEK
Protein bar50 SEK
Coffee45 SEK
Drink32 SEK

That amount of money can last me a few days in the Philippines. I am expecting it already, but I am a bit worried too because it’s one month until I get my first salary so I need to be frugal.

If you are curious about the cost of living in Stockholm, then you might also like my post about what I love about living in Sweden.

Sweden is a cashless society, but you need coins to pay for the toilet

I know that Sweden is a cashless society, so I was expecting that you can pay with your card anywhere. I was wrong.

Not all public toilets in Stockholm accept the card as payment. Some only accept coins! Good thing I had some cash left.

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

One of the first things I learned after relocating to Sweden!

Moving into my first apartment in Stockholm

My first apartment in Stockholm is in the inner city. I can either take the bus or train to the city. But, every morning on a workweek, I like to walk to the train station which is a 10 to 15 minutes walk.

Public transportation in Stockholm

For 860 SEK, 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.

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.

My first week of work in Stockholm

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!

I cannot register as a resident in Sweden

Despite having a job in Sweden, I still cannot register as a resident. When you are relocating to Sweden, you need to go to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) to register in the Swedish Population Register.

Unfortunately, my work permit is not valid for more than a year because of my passport’s validity. This means I cannot get a personal identification number (personnummer). That number is used everywhere in Sweden including opening a bank account!

You can still open an account without a personnummer. I have shared in my Work and Life in Sweden as a Foreigner post the steps on how to open a bank account without it.

My first week living in Sweden went well. I arrived in spring, so I have a lot of time to prepare for the winter.

I’m sure there are a lot of things I needed to get used to, but one step at a time!

Follow my Instagram to have a peek at what it’s like to live abroad. In the meantime, here are my updates after moving to Stockholm:

  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.

  2. Congratulations on your big move to Sweden! Looking forward to hearing more stories from you.
    I remember nung nagbakasyon din kami ni hubby sa Europe, may bayad mag toilet so nagtotoilet lang ako kapag wiwing wiwi na ako! Haha

  3. Karen!! OMG you did it!! After all the stress and hassle from the PH gov’t, you’re finally in Sweden!!! Idk why but I’m so happy you did. HAHA. Can’t wait to hear more about your stories in Sweden (aka more reasons to convince us to start looking for a job there).

    1. Thank youuuuu! Grabe talaga ung experience ko while processing my documents in Manila. Take note: I wasted all those time and money para lang makapag exit! I don’t really understand how they were able to come up with that process. Sobrang waste of time. But still!! Hahaha. You’ll like it here! <3

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