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From Texas to Sweden

Searching for some moving advice

post 18.Mar.2017, 07:01 PM
Post #1
Location: United States
Joined: 18.Mar.2017

So my husband and I have both accepted two year contracts to teach at schools in Sweden. My husband will be teaching in Lund and I will be teaching in Landskrona. We have both been putting a lot of research in to things and have started our paperwork processes. We hope to be out of the states by the end of June.

There are still so many things we do not know about. One we are trying to navigate the housing markets. We want to live somewhere in either Lund or Landskrona or as in between as we can get. We are also trying to bring our two cats with us and as we understand it that will be quite a hassle on it's own.

My husband has never been out of the country and has seldom been out of the state. I spend my first birthday in Germany but was back in the US before my second, so I am not in a better boat.

I have maybe seen snow like ten times in my life and even then it barely stuck to the grass. My winters hardly ever go below -1 c and my summers often go above 32 c. So the weather will be something I will really need to get used to.

Anyway! I am just reaching out to see if anyone has some advice for us. Please and thank you!
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 18.Mar.2017, 07:45 PM
Post #2
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

What about winter darkness???
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post 18.Mar.2017, 07:53 PM
Post #3
Joined: 23.Dec.2011

It's not very cold in Southern Sweden, and there are not that much snow. The coldest temperature in Lund and Landskrona this year was -3.

Use Hemnet to check for a house or apartment. (Buy, not rent)

It seems to take about 20 min to commute from Landskrona to Lund:

Here's a page about taking dogs and cats to and from Sweden. It's in Swedish though, but maybe you can google translate it.

In short:
The cats need have a id, a iso micro chip. They need veterinary certificates for pets on form E9.207. The cats needs to have a vaccination against rabies. You need to fill in the form E9.204 , where you ensure that it's your cats and that the reason for the trip isn't to sell them. The official veterinarian need to sign and stamp all the forms. From the date it's issued you have 10 days to travel to a EU entry point in Sweden. These are the legal entry points for live animals: Stockholm-Arlanda or Göteborg-Landvetter. Or maybe you will be entering via Denmark? The legal entry points for live animals in Denmark is Kastrup at Copenhagen Airport and Billund at Billund Airport. But then I don't know if you can take them from Denmark to Sweden...

Maybe the easiest way is to send a email to Jordbruksverket (the Department of Agriculture) and ask.

Good luck!
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post 18.Mar.2017, 07:54 PM
Post #4
Joined: 12.Dec.2013

Lund and Landskrona barely go below -1C, and barely get any snow at all. You biggest shock will be the culture shock, not the weather.

The only advice I can give is to accept that Sweden is very different from the US, for better or worse. If you can't reconcile with the differences you will end up miserable, and probably become a regular on this forum.

When it comes to the cultural differences, you will find that Swedes are reserved and conformist. Being ourspoken and expressive is not seen as a positive thing, especially if your views differ from the consensus. Swedes avoid conflict and try to have consensus for every decision.

Socially, Swedes do not generally hang out with colleagues off work. Work and life are two very different things for many Swedes, so you may find it difficult to socialize outside of work. The best way to meet new people is to join a club/society (sports, handicraft, dancing, local community bord, local history society, curch, etc).

Politically, Swedes are extremely liberal, even the "right wing" Swedes. You will find that taxes and trust in government is very high. You will find that religion is not a big part of people's lives. Religious holidays are a tradition without any religious connection nowadays.

In work life, there is very little hierarchy in the work place. Lots of meetings take place since Swedes need consensus for every decision. As teacher, you will likely have less authority than in Texas. Physical reprimands are a no-no in any context, including parenting.

In resturants and shops you will find out that the customer is not always right. The service will be less attentive than in Texas.
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post 18.Mar.2017, 10:07 PM
Post #5
Joined: 25.Jun.2009

TLSucks makes some excellent points. I would also add a few more:

The pace of life is much slower in Sweden. So, slow down and ta det lungnt as they say.

Alcohol and driving at any level is taboo in Sweden. You simply cannot do it. However, alcohol consumption can be quite high at parties and holidays. A few drinks socially is not always the norm. Many times it is all or nothing with the Swedes.

Winters are very dark. The sun sets extremely early on winter nights. This affects people differently. Some get very depressed. I found I just slept more. Obviously, the opposite is true in the summer. Best to get blackout shades for your windows if you don't want to awaken at 3 in the morning.

Like TL says, Sweden is very different than the US. At first it may not seem that way, but as you scratch below the surface, you will find it to be so. Swedes, as TL says, believe in cradle to the grave care from the government. They are not terribly original or independent. Emotions are kept in check and they are not outgoing. Some find them to be robotic. I think that laid back is a more apt description. An exciting past time for a Swede may just be taking a long, quiet skate on a frozen lake for a few hours, or a hike in the woods. If you are the type that needs constant stimulation, it may be a problem.

I would most certainly advise you to learn the language. You will be able to get by in English but will miss much.

Oh, and the TV sucks.
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yet another brit
post 19.Mar.2017, 03:10 PM
Post #6
Joined: 5.Jan.2013

Lund and Landskrona are quite different places. Lund is a university / tech-orientated place and an ancient cathedral city; Landskrona is more post-industrial, it used to be a shipbuilding town but not so much now. Lund is where you'll find other Americans... there's even an American food store (or there used to be when I lived there).

It takes about 30 minutes to drive between the two. By US standards, no traffic whatsoever.

If it was up to me, I'd live (again) in Lund. But there are plenty of small towns / large villages. The region around Bjärred/Lomma is considered the "desirable" area to live.

There are also some villages round there (inland) that are notoriously full of rednecks (which Lund isn't), the countryside around there is the heartland of the Sweden Democrat support. But if you're from Texas you might not notice...

And you are close to the continent, with Copenhagen visible across the sound.

The weather is very mild compared to the US, of course, and the colour "grey" features prominently. But the summers can be really great. There are some fantastic beaches on the east side of Skåne.
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post 21.Apr.2017, 07:02 PM
Post #7
Joined: 21.Apr.2017

I actually just relocated from Florida to Linkoping and was in a similar situation, had never been out of the USA in the past and even did very little traveling within the states. I also brought my two cats and when my boyfriend moved back from America in August he brought our dog as well. The dog was a different situation but the cats were pretty simple actually, once you can find an airline that is willing to fly them. We personally found Lufthansa to be the most animal friendly. Many airlines such as Delta will fly animals, but the sticky situation is if you have more than one. Multiple cats can be on a Delta flight, but KLM, the sister company, only allows one pet per flight. I was unable to find any flights from the USA to Sweden that were flown through Delta (or anyone else other than Lufthansa) that didn't change to a European sister airline (British airlines was another one I remember getting hung up on a lot) who would fly both of the cats. Luckily there were several Lufthansa flights that stopped in Frankfurt and the Copenhagen, which was an easy train ride then into Sweden from Denmark. We got our health certificate (it looks much scarier than it is in reality - make sure your cats have an ISO microchip and were given a rabies vaccine at the same time or after the chip is implanted 31 days before travel minimally and find a veterinarian who has filled out the international health certificate before and it's only about an hour long process, both cats can be on the same health certificate). Everything I read said to get the health certificate for your point of entry country, however when we arrived in Germany and went to pick up our cat we were informed that our cat was being put on the next airplane and we couldn't get her until Copenhagen. So, we boarded our plane and hoped for the best. Luckily most of the European health certificates are exactly the same other than the language (it is in English/whatever country you're entering's language) so the man in Denmark was still happy to stamp ours. So either give yourself a hefty layover (which is a careful balancing act since you have the cats) to allow yourself time to get them in your first point of entry country and deal with some push back from the airline, or go ahead and just get the certificate for your final country. This only applies to countries within the EU, of course. I can't give advice for any outside of the EU as I have no experienced that. It all sounds much more complicated than it is, I promise it is not as stressful as it sounds and it is certainly not worth the $2k-$3k pet travel agencies want to charge you to bring your pets.

Other than that, I've only been here for two weeks so I can't speak too much for Sweden, probably the biggest shock you'll deal with is the language. Most Swedes swap to English effortlessly, but for me personally I still feel a bit awkward asking them to as many of them aren't comfortable with it and we after all are in their country. But learning the language will come with time! It's also much colder and windier here, but I think your reaction to that depends on what attitude you choose to have towards it. Of course that's coming from someone who hasn't braved a dark Swedish winter yet, so what do I know! People may seem rude, as I am also from the deep South of America where we wave at strangers when we drive by, luckily my boyfriend prepared me for how reserved Swedes are. It's very different here, people don't talk to you while you are waiting in line to check out at the grocery stores, the person checking you out doesn't even say a whole lot. There isn't as much friendly conversation between strangers, but everyone who I have met and spoken to has been nothing but kind and welcoming to me, so don't be too turned off by the initial aloofness.

Overall I've enjoyed my time here so far, I think your attitude really plays a huge part in it so come with an open mind and a warm jacket and you'll probably get along just fine. Best of luck! smile.gif
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 22.Apr.2017, 12:52 AM
Post #8
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

Are you teaching in English???
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post 2.May.2017, 09:35 AM
Post #9
Joined: 14.Mar.2016

I come from New Zealand and I agree about the language thing. I am Asian but people insist on speaking Swedish to me and it makes me feel really bad/rude that I don't understand them. I don't think people are as reserved as everyone says they are, but having said that I do come from NZ where there aren't so many people and I like my space. Not talking to random strangers and keeping my distance is just normal to me.
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post 26.May.2017, 04:31 AM
Post #10
Joined: 26.May.2017

This is great. I just got out of the Army and am deciding if my Swedish girlfriend should move here or I there. I'm leaning towards moving there despite the fact that I would lose the ability to work in my field ever again. Thank you for the information.
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post 26.May.2017, 07:06 AM
Post #11
Joined: 20.Feb.2012

I would be concerned about "two year contracts". You will make a huge effort to get here (if you think getting your pets here is a hassle, I can assure you it is only the beginning) just to stay 2 years? Is there a possibility for extension? I would say for 2 years, it is not worth the pain.

Sweden is extremely repressive; conform or be cast out! The proudest Swedes are the most repressed! People that tend to find that to be "ok", make loads of money, and so somehow it is worth it to them. If money isn't your entire world, then you will suffer since there is zero community here. If you are an extremely social person, you will definitely suffer, since for Swedes, if they didn't know you in high-school, they see no need to get to know you (there are of course exceptions, but I have heard Swedes actually say this!).

They are in general very polite, but also in general, NOT very friendly. If you are down with "militant political correctness", then you will fit right in.

Sweden is great if you happen to agree with things going on here, but soul destroying if not. If you have legitimate concerns, that happen to be outside of the stifling "opinion corridor", be prepared to be judged, harshly. To avoid the tough questions, Swedes will try to make your concerns a moral issue, rather than face a proper, rational, logical conversation. You will be "immoral" for being concerned, and they will be "morally superior" for towing the state-gospel and keeping their heads all safe and sound in the sand. To make it work you will essentially need to abandon yourself, your individuality and your values, and permit "state endorsed" replacements. Here, you don't know anything; the state knows better.

Be prepared for state enforced expectations of "grade inflation", and as teachers, you will be expected to produce a homogeneous student population, where failure is next to impossible (that is to say, failing students still win gold, and you will be expected to tell their parents that their child is performing very well), meaning that the system is designed to cater to those "who can't", at the high cost of those "who can".

While in other cultures, education and teaching is well respected, it is not in Sweden. Well, they do say "education" is important, but that is where it begins, and ends (such statements are strictly semantic). As a teacher, you (should be) are likely viewed as a pillar of the community at home, well, forget all that. Sweden has so screwed its education system, especially with terrible wages, that no one wants to teach here, which is likely why you got your contracts. And here, kids rule the roost. There are zero correction mechanisms for poor behaviour and poor performance. And remember, many of your colleagues will think that the "master/apprentice" approach in teaching is simply an abuse of power.

What I have written is not necessarily going to be your experience (there will surely be those retorting that it simply isn't so), but I am very confident that you will be putting check-marks in these boxes, before your 2 years is up.

Sweden is known in the Nordics as being the most extreme country, and they really do "explore the space" on that count. That will surely not be wasted on you, once the short honeymoon period ends.
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post 26.May.2017, 05:10 PM
Post #12
Joined: 25.Jun.2009

QUOTE (Gjeebes @ 26.May.2017, 07:06 AM) *
As a teacher, you (should be) are likely viewed as a pillar of the community at home, well, forget all that. Sweden has so screwed its education system, especially with terrib ... (show full quote)

I think that is becoming less and less true here in the US as well. I wonder if teachers are still revered in Asia?
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 26.May.2017, 05:34 PM
Post #13
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

Texas has one of the best economies in the US, why leave at all???
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post 26.May.2017, 06:39 PM
Post #14
Joined: 21.Oct.2012

QUOTE (Gjeebes @ 26.May.2017, 06:06 AM) *
I would be concerned about "two year contracts". You will make a huge effort to get here (if you think getting your pets here is a hassle, I can assure you it is on ... (show full quote)

Well said!

Also the 2 years gig is to keep you under the limit to give you permanent employment. That means they are already squeezing you out. Ask about to talk to non Swedes who got extended beyond the two years with your employer. You will be surprise!
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post 26.May.2017, 07:52 PM
Post #15
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 24.May.2011

QUOTE (wallace1837 @ 26.May.2017, 06:39 PM) *
Well said!Also the 2 years gig is to keep you under the limit to give you permanent employment. That means they are already squeezing you out. Ask about to talk to non Swe ... (show full quote)

+1 Watch the two year contract!
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