The truth is… living in Sweden can become dramatically difficult if you don´t adapt to the culture and adapt quickly before the winter slowly creeps up on you! Sweden is a whole new eye opener for an international individual and it could be a shocking yet wonderful experience depending on the way that you look at it. Many people have a similar view on Sweden and its summer while moving here, assuming that living in Sweden would be similar to for example being in The Shire from Lord of The Rings.

People have a preconceived notion that Sweden is an environment surrounded by nature, music, and festivals; that the Swedish population is filled with blonde haired, blue eyed, and tanned people. And that the Summer is filled with the Midsummer aura of magic and romance with a language like a lullaby that is soft, sweet, and intoxicating. Its like the heavens have opened up with a whole new beautiful understanding of culture. This fairy-tale may be true in some shape or form but once reality sets in and seasons change, adaptation can be quite difficult for some people.  As a newcomer here try to keep your mind open to a culture that may be drastically different than your own and be patient with the differences that you may not be accustomed too!

Fun things to learn about the Swedish –

1. The Swedish are usually very loyal in their characteristics and actions but are not the warmest and the most communicative of people within their culture.

2. The Swedish culture are very concentrated on equal rights and therefore alot of traditions have changed in relation to men and women traditions.

3. Exclusivity amongst the Swedish culture has become a norm in many instances.

4. Splitting the tab equally and always being punctual is a major and important act to follow within the Swedish culture.

To survive in Gothenburg also means that you need to get a grasp on getting around the city, understanding the area and knowing how to control your finances i.e. bank account. Another thing that might be important is language. Although the Swedish culture is really educated in the English language, knowing a little Swedish goes along way!


As they say…being able to communicate or try to communicate with a few words can be important when trying to get around and adapt to the Swedish society. Swedish people absolutely love when international people attempt to learn the language because it also shows an attempt to learn the culture. It is great when living in Sweden to try to learn some cool phrases every once in a while!


  • Take it easy-Tag det lugnt
  • I will take a break-Jag ska ta en fika
  • There is no such thing as cold weather only bad clothing-Det finns inget sådant som kallt väder bara dåliga kläder
  • I love you-Jag älskar dig
  • How are you? Hur mår du?
  • Otherwise-Annars
  • Very nice weather we have-Mycket fint väder vi har
  • Where can I buy beer-Var kan jag köpa öl

When surviving in Gothenburg, arriving here one big thing to focus on is transportation. The transportation system that is used here in Gothenburg is called Vasttrafik. Vasstrafik centers can be found all around Gothenburg i.e. Central Station and Brunnesparken. Most people decide to get monthly pass vasttrafik cards and they can also be bought at the Vasttrafik centers, grocery stores and Pressbyron stores. When searching to go from point A to point B on the map, the best strategy is to go to on your mobile or on your computer to find destination times. You can also send an SMS to pay for your ticket on the tram. In order to do this you type GV (stands for Göteborg vuxen) and send it to 72450.

Another big important factor when Surviving in Gothenburg is the bank system. Many of the international people are very confused about whether or not they should open up a Swedish bank account. The truth is having access to a Swedish bank account while living in Sweden can help and be more convenient for paying bills, and not having to deal with currency exchange.  It is important to look at the difference in fees with money exchange vs. costs of a bank account, bank cards, and payment fees.

Opening up a Swedish bank account can be difficult because of customer identity reasons.  Certain banks are more willing to accept international students as customers. There are many student bank accounts that you may be able to choose from. Sweden has SEB, Forex, Handels Banken, and many others.
SEB, is one of the only major Swedish banks that allow international students for example to open up a bank account after a period of 3 months of staying in Sweden. Students staying longer than one year can apply for a Swedish personal identity number, which helps your possibilities of opening an account at any Swedish bank.

Written by: Claire Hultin