My Swedish Career

‘Snowboarding drew me to work in chilly Sweden’

'Snowboarding drew me to work in chilly Sweden'
Vasja Petkovska loves Sweden's snowboarding scene. Photo: Private
Vasja Petkovska left sunny Skopje in Macedonia to work in Stockholm a year ago. For this week's My Swedish Career, the snow-loving IT consultant tells The Local how she's warming up to the idea of living here for good.
Part-Mediterranean, part-Balkan, Macedonia packs in sunshine, Ottoman architecture, buzzing bars, three national parks, one of the largest bazaars north of Istanbul and plenty of feta cheese, cabbage and kebab dishes.
But for Vasja Petkovska, the small country, which used to be part of Yugoslavia, is missing two important ingredients: regular snow and an efficient working culture.
So, the 27-year-old decided to relocate to Sweden in 2013.

Vasja Petkovska works for an IT firm. Photo: Private
"I used to work for a Swedish company back in Macedonia and I was travelling back and forth to Stockholm to visit a client here," she tells The Local.
"I soon realised it was a better place to work and live. Everything is so much more organised and I loved how Stockholm looked in the snow. I am a winter person," she says.
Realising that she could also indulge her snowboarding passion on a regular basis by heading north of the capital at weekends, she jumped at the chance to relocate to the Swedish capital just over a year ago, to work as a consultant for a Swedish IT operations firm, Further AB.
"I am a snowboarder and so that was part of the motivation…also Stockholm is a good base from which I can travel to other parts of the world. From Macedonia it is expensive and you always have to connect somewhere."

Vasja Petkovska snowboarding in Sweden. Photo: Private
Vasja admits she does miss the "famous sunshine" in her home city, Skopje, as well as the "friendly and warm people", and says she keeps her spirits up and "battles the winter blues" by going home once a month.
"While Swedes are more professional and good to work with, socially it is quite different here. I am trying to meet as many people as I can but acquiantances only rarely turn into friendships. I will keep trying but this is another reason why it is good for me to return to my friends and family from time to time."
Currently setting up a branch of Further AB in Macedonia, she is set to return more regularly than usual this year, but insists that her heart will remain in Sweden.
"Another thing I love is that the working environment is more relaxed when it comes to working hours and location. You have to get the job done and do it well, but you don't have to be in the office between nine and five like you do in Macedonia, you can be more flexible here. People trust you," she says.
Although Vasja says she enjoys sharing an apartment in Sollentuna, just outside the Swedish capital, she says her "next dream" is to save up to buy her own apartment in a year or two.
"I see myself living here for quite a long time – maybe even permanently. It's a great country."