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They Call Me Sweden

21 year old Swede living and studying (BA Journalism, Media and Sociology) in Cardiff, UK. Originally from Stockholm. Loves food, to travel and my dear friends.

‘Are there many foreigners in Sweden?’

I’m all alone in the house for the weekend as both of my housemates have left Cardiff. One is celebrating her friend’s birthday and the other is going on a volleyball tournament in Warwick. But it’s not too bad to be alone. I’m one of those who can actually enjoy being alone sometimes. Then it’s possible to do whatever I’d like. I have so many things to do at the moment, so I really need to focus. I need to apply for work experience and for postgraduate diplomas as well as do uni work. It’s hard to be a third year student…

Anyway, when I went to my local Co-operative shop tonight the cashier said something which I didn’t know how to react to. First he asked me if I was healthy because of the things I bought (soup, veggies, milk, eggs etc.), I replied ‘Well, I’m trying ‘at least. Then he asked me where I was from and after the regular questions (I’m from Sweden… Are you from Stockholm or Gothenburg?), he asked me whether there are many foreigners in Sweden. I didn’t how I would respond. It’s quite hard to give the ‘right’ answer, I feel that I can neither say yes or no. It comes out wrong, especially as he seemed to think negatively of foreigners as he mumbled something. I get so uncomfortable when someone asks me that kind of question. Well, there are not only ‘ethnic Swedes’ who live in Sweden. Not everyone is blonde. And why would you even ask someone that question?  I guess it is also a question of how he formulated himself, I don’t think I would have reacted the same way if he had said ‘are there many immigrants in Sweden?’. That is another word which opens up another discussion. The discussion about foreigners and immigrants are much harsher here in the UK. Compared to Sweden, the theme ‘I’m not racist, but…’ is much more common among people here.

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