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Amerikanska Forum Index -> Q&A - Living in or Moving to Sweden

Moving to Sweden
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Chelseaface45
swedish meatball
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

quote:
Originally posted by Thomas78:
They will still charge you $25 just to send you off to a specialist, but you don't have to pay for insurance since that is covered by taxes (which you do pay if you make money) You never pay more then about 700kr per year though, regardless of how many times you go to the doctor.

Pros and Cons about Sweden from a Swedes perspective...
Pro:
Good social safety net, with benefits for unemployment, sick leave, parental leave etc (extremely good parental leave)
No real poverty (compared to the U.S)
Free (Tax funded) Universities. (You actually get about $300/month as a student that you do no have to pay back)
Cheap day care.
Minimum of five weeks vacation time (I have six weeks vacation and a 39 hour work week)
Good public transportation/cities built for walking and biking.
Fika
The summer isn't super hot and humid. (My wife doesn't like it, it is too hot indoors since we have no AC in homes and much of public transportation)
We have four seasons (If you like that). I you will settle in the far south you might not get much of snow though.

Cons:
High taxes (25% sales tax)
High prices
Smaller houses and apartments (more then one one bathroom is rare)
Expensive housing (I put roughly $220000 into my Uppsala apartment)
Isolation, try to get Swedish friends and speak as much Swedish as possible
Hard to get new Swedish friends. (People appear less friendly until you get to know them.)
Hard to get a job (as a non Swede more so)
Climate (I guess I haven't spent a hole year in Florida yet so I guess I can't make a fair comparison, but I have spent time there in each "season").
Shops closes early. (Usually between 5 and 7 on a weekday)


Wow thats a lot of money to put into an apartment. Yes I am going to try to make more friends and speak the language mainly because I want to know the language but having friends is always nice. Would you say that there are more cons than pros?

In your opinion, would you still live in Sweden for the rest of your life or do you think you would eventually move somewhere's else if it weren't for the states and your wife?

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:32 pm 
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Thomas78
riktig Svensson
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Joined: Dec 01, 2008
Posts: 160
Location: Orlando

If it wasn't for the fact that my wife is American I would definitely have stayed here for the rest of my life and been quite happy doing so. I believe that Sweden is one of the best countries in the world to live in. On average I would say people are better off living in Sweden then in the U.S. On the other hand, if you are highly educated and have a good job (and don't lose it) you will probably enjoy a higher standard of living i the U.S. I will reserve judgement until I have lived in the U.S for a while. Until then I can only speak to what I have seen and experienced when I have been there and what my wife tells me.

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:01 pm 
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Chelseaface45
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

quote:
Originally posted by Thomas78:
If it wasn't for the fact that my wife is American I would definitely have stayed here for the rest of my life and been quite happy doing so. I believe that Sweden is one of the best countries in the world to live in. On average I would say people are better off living in Sweden then in the U.S. On the other hand, if you are highly educated and have a good job (and don't lose it) you will probably enjoy a higher standard of living i the U.S. I will reserve judgement until I have lived in the U.S for a while. Until then I can only speak to what I have seen and experienced when I have been there and what my wife tells me.


Oh okay. That is good to know. I haven't finished college here yet. Its so expensive. So I plan on moving to Sweden to marry my boyfriend and then try to get into a school there. I think I would get more of an education in Sweden anyways. But that is just from what I have heard. Plus I like the fact that I get paid to go to school instead of paying thousands of dollars every 4 months. The schooling system is kind of confusing to me since I am in college but I don't know what kind of school to get into once I am there. I am sure I will figure it out though.

I don't think I have any more questions but is there anything else I should take into consideration?

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:15 pm 
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smile_cc
lagom
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Joined: May 15, 2003
Posts: 42
Location: Boston, MA

Some additional thoughts/feedback.

1) In Sweden you don't have to be married to be allowed to live in Sweden with your partner. Unlike the USA, Sweden grants visas to both married and unmarried couples. You may want to apply for your visa now, get it granted, move to Sweden, live there a while and then marry. Once married - since you will already have your visa you won't have to do anything. You may find that option to be faster than waiting to go to Sweden to marry, returning to the USA to apply for your visa and then returning to Sweden.

2) If you plan to study I would encourage you to research now what your options will be and what the entrance requirements are. Most universities will offer classes in Swedish - so the assumption is that you will know the language. You may need to take an entrance exam (but I could be wrong).

When I was living in Stockholm - I was accepted to a Masters in Business program at Stockholm University (the classes are in english), but because they considered me a "foreign" student - I would have had to pay tuition. Different schools will accept transfer credits/classes so it is best to figure out what options you will have.

3) My advice to any American moving to Sweden is to make sure to keep some "emergency" savings just in case things do not work out and you need to return to the USA. When I lived there with my boyfriend (now husband) - I met a number of American women who had picked up their lives to move to be with boyfriends and once living together the relationship did not work out. They returned to the USA and had to get re-established back in the USA (eg. housing, car, job, etc). One friend had no money saved - so though she wanted to return home - she couldn't afford to and she felt stuck in a country she wanted to leave (living with a boyfriend she wanted to get away from).

4) I would encourage you to have realistic expectations on life in Sweden. There are pros and cons to both the USA and Sweden. What Swedish/American couples are so lucky to have is the choice to decide where they want to live. When I moved to Stockholm I thought i would love it and I was surprised to find that I felt very isolated and "held back". Fortunately I was engaged to a man that ultimately wanted to live in the USA so we moved to the USA shortly after we married.

My Swedish husband and I just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. I wish you the best of luck.

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:16 pm 
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Chelseaface45
swedish meatball
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

quote:
Originally posted by smile_cc:
Some additional thoughts/feedback.

1) In Sweden you don't have to be married to be allowed to live in Sweden with your partner. Unlike the USA, Sweden grants visas to both married and unmarried couples. You may want to apply for your visa now, get it granted, move to Sweden, live there a while and then marry. Once married - since you will already have your visa you won't have to do anything. You may find that option to be faster than waiting to go to Sweden to marry, returning to the USA to apply for your visa and then returning to Sweden.

2) If you plan to study I would encourage you to research now what your options will be and what the entrance requirements are. Most universities will offer classes in Swedish - so the assumption is that you will know the language. You may need to take an entrance exam (but I could be wrong).

When I was living in Stockholm - I was accepted to a Masters in Business program at Stockholm University (the classes are in english), but because they considered me a "foreign" student - I would have had to pay tuition. Different schools will accept transfer credits/classes so it is best to figure out what options you will have.

3) My advice to any American moving to Sweden is to make sure to keep some "emergency" savings just in case things do not work out and you need to return to the USA. When I lived there with my boyfriend (now husband) - I met a number of American women who had picked up their lives to move to be with boyfriends and once living together the relationship did not work out. They returned to the USA and had to get re-established back in the USA (eg. housing, car, job, etc). One friend had no money saved - so though she wanted to return home - she couldn't afford to and she felt stuck in a country she wanted to leave (living with a boyfriend she wanted to get away from).

4) I would encourage you to have realistic expectations on life in Sweden. There are pros and cons to both the USA and Sweden. What Swedish/American couples are so lucky to have is the choice to decide where they want to live. When I moved to Stockholm I thought i would love it and I was surprised to find that I felt very isolated and "held back". Fortunately I was engaged to a man that ultimately wanted to live in the USA so we moved to the USA shortly after we married.

My Swedish husband and I just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. I wish you the best of luck.


Thank you for the advice. I will really take it into consideration as I know this is a very big transition and I want things to go as easy as they can.

Do most universities offer English courses? Or does it depend on the university? I am trying to learn the language now on my own since none of the universities around me or even in the state I am in offers Swedish language courses. So its kind of difficult learning on my own. And yes I have already started putting some money away for an emergency. I will give it a year or so and see how things go and if I were happier in the U.S. and things were easier here then I would come back.

You said that when you lived in Stockholm you felt like you were "held back"? What do you mean?

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:30 pm 
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Thomas78
riktig Svensson
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Joined: Dec 01, 2008
Posts: 160
Location: Orlando

One more important thing. The getting paid to study thing only applies to people who have a permanent residence permit. When you first get here you get a temporary one that is usually turned into a permanent one after two years (You can apply for citizenship after three). You can travel outside of Sweden for 40 days per year, after that you have to add any extra days to the time it takes to get permanent residence and citizenship.
To take classes in Swedish you will probably have to pass the Swedish for immigrants classes and then take the Swedish as a second language classes first. Assume that you will spend at least a year or two just learning the language before being able to resume your college classes unless you find classes offered in English that would count towards your degree (usually just masters level classes though, check with the local Universities). Since you would be in Sweden as the girlfriend of a Swede you would not have to pay tuition (You would if you were here on a student visa).

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:03 pm 
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Chelseaface45
swedish meatball
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

quote:
Originally posted by Thomas78:
One more important thing. The getting paid to study thing only applies to people who have a permanent residence permit. When you first get here you get a temporary one that is usually turned into a permanent one after two years (You can apply for citizenship after three). You can travel outside of Sweden for 40 days per year, after that you have to add any extra days to the time it takes to get permanent residence and citizenship.
To take classes in Swedish you will probably have to pass the Swedish for immigrants classes and then take the Swedish as a second language classes first. Assume that you will spend at least a year or two just learning the language before being able to resume your college classes unless you find classes offered in English that would count towards your degree (usually just masters level classes though, check with the local Universities). Since you would be in Sweden as the girlfriend of a Swede you would not have to pay tuition (You would if you were here on a student visa).


Okay so what happens if I dont pass the Swedish for immigrants test? Can I still take classes? So I cant take any other classes but Swedish? Until I know the language? And only english classes are offered at master levels?

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Joanne
stor stark
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Joined: Jul 19, 2007
Posts: 471

You don't have to take the Swedish for Immigrants courses or pass that test. These classes are free but can be a slow and frustrating way to learn the language. You can study Swedish on better paid courses or even with private tuition and then take the required language profficiency (sp?) tests when you apply to college. You will need to do this before you can be accepted to any courses that are in Swedish.

It is worth saving money now so that when you arrive in Sweden you can enroll in better Swedish classes then the free one to make learning the language a less painful process.

http://www.folkuniversitetet.se/Om-Folkuniversitetet/In-English/Swedish-courses/

http://www.medborgarskolan.se/Sok/?id=7&epslanguage=sv&sgid=11&sid=116&p=swedish

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:37 pm 
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Chelseaface45
swedish meatball
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

quote:
Originally posted by Joanne:
You don't have to take the Swedish for Immigrants courses or pass that test. These classes are free but can be a slow and frustrating way to learn the language. You can study Swedish on better paid courses or even with private tuition and then take the required language profficiency (sp?) tests when you apply to college. You will need to do this before you can be accepted to any courses that are in Swedish.

It is worth saving money now so that when you arrive in Sweden you can enroll in better Swedish classes then the free one to make learning the language a less painful process.

http://www.folkuniversitetet.se/Om-Folkuniversitetet/In-English/Swedish-courses/

http://www.medborgarskolan.se/Sok/?id=7&epslanguage=sv&sgid=11&sid=116&p=swedish


Okay thank you for the information!!! Smile I will most definitely look into it.

Post Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:20 pm 
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Linda
stor stark
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Joined: Apr 28, 2003
Posts: 279
Location: California

Malmö högskola offers 2 (3 year undergraduate BA programs) in English. International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies.

I am not sure what other Programs are offered.

Cool Linda

Post Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:11 am 
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Chelseaface45
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

Am I allowed to leave the US while I am waiting to get my residency in Sweden? Just not go to Sweden?

Post Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:40 pm 
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Beverly
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Yes, of course. Smile
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Post Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:08 pm 
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Chelseaface45
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

Thank you! You wouldn't happen to know how long someone must wait to enter the U.S. again? Like if someone were to come to the US and spend 3 months then leave...how long would they have to wait before coming back? I didnt think there was a waiting period.

Post Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:10 pm 
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Becky
riktig Svensson
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Joined: Jan 13, 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Washington State


quote:
You wouldn't happen to know how long someone must wait to enter the U.S. again? Like if someone were to come to the US and spend 3 months then leave...how long would they have to wait before coming back? I didnt think there was a waiting period.


Hi there. Do you mean a non-citizen and a non-visa holder? Like a visitor?
I believe it's 3 months out of every 6 month period. If I have it right and it's still as it was before my husband lived in the US then he could come and stay for 3 months but would not be able to come back again for another 3 months. I'm sure someone will be able to tell you for sure though.

I also wanted to touch base on your earlier posts. I don't know how long you and your boyfriend have been together and if you have ever lived together, or if you have spent much time in Sweden but I would very very strongly suggest you aim for the sambo/relationship visa rather than a marriage visa. Too many relationships have come undone when an international move is involved. And while I'm not saying this will happen to you or that you should worry about this I do think it's important you don't rush this.

Again, I know nothing about your particular situation but I do know those feelings of being in love and feeling on top of the world and believing nothing can go wrong and you will last forever and I know how strong those feelings are- and it's important you try to not let those feelings control your actions. As hard as that is.
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Post Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:17 am 
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Peggy
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Joined: Apr 27, 2003
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quote:
Originally posted by Becky:

I also wanted to touch base on your earlier posts. I don't know how long you and your boyfriend have been together and if you have ever lived together, or if you have spent much time in Sweden but I would very very strongly suggest you aim for the sambo/relationship visa rather than a marriage visa. Too many relationships have come undone when an international move is involved. And while I'm not saying this will happen to you or that you should worry about this I do think it's important you don't rush this.



What a strange advice. It is very different for different people. Sometimes a marriage can be the piece that actually pulls you tru the hardships, while in a sambo-thing it might just be seen as an easy-way-out if treated as such. Personally I would not move across the world without a marriage.

Post Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:53 pm 
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shewi
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Location: Sollentuna Sweden

But, marriage is not a guarantee of anything.

Pre-Sweden, I told my then boyfriend that I would not move pre-marriage. We got married, I moved over... We're now divorced.

I now believe that marriage is an institution and I'm not sure I want to be institutionalized (although I'm sure there are some who think I should be).
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Post Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:30 pm 
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Chelseaface45
swedish meatball
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

quote:
Originally posted by Becky:

quote:
You wouldn't happen to know how long someone must wait to enter the U.S. again? Like if someone were to come to the US and spend 3 months then leave...how long would they have to wait before coming back? I didnt think there was a waiting period.


Hi there. Do you mean a non-citizen and a non-visa holder? Like a visitor?
I believe it's 3 months out of every 6 month period. If I have it right and it's still as it was before my husband lived in the US then he could come and stay for 3 months but would not be able to come back again for another 3 months. I'm sure someone will be able to tell you for sure though.

I also wanted to touch base on your earlier posts. I don't know how long you and your boyfriend have been together and if you have ever lived together, or if you have spent much time in Sweden but I would very very strongly suggest you aim for the sambo/relationship visa rather than a marriage visa. Too many relationships have come undone when an international move is involved. And while I'm not saying this will happen to you or that you should worry about this I do think it's important you don't rush this.

Again, I know nothing about your particular situation but I do know those feelings of being in love and feeling on top of the world and believing nothing can go wrong and you will last forever and I know how strong those feelings are- and it's important you try to not let those feelings control your actions. As hard as that is.


Thank you for the advice!!! But I do not want to always wonder "what-if". Besides you never truly know until you try Smile and if its a mistake then I will surely learn from it!

Post Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:52 pm 
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Becky
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Joined: Jan 13, 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Washington State


quote:
What a strange advice. It is very different for different people.


I don't think it is strange, but to each his own eh? But could you tell me what you find strange about offering someone the advice of not rushing things?


quote:
Thank you for the advice!!! But I do not want to always wonder "what-if". Besides you never truly know until you try Smile and if its a mistake then I will surely learn from it!


I totally understand that and I am certainly all for trying things out, following your dreams and heart and doing what you feel you need to. All I'm saying is maybe you might want to consider aiming for the relationship visa rather than the marriage visa right off- and as someone else stated it may be quicker to get a relationship visa anyway.
That's all, not trying to dissuade you from going at all, that's no where even close to what I was trying to say and I really hope it did not come across as that...
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Post Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:25 pm 
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Chelseaface45
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Joined: Sep 21, 2011
Posts: 59
Location: Helsingborg

quote:
Originally posted by Becky:

quote:
What a strange advice. It is very different for different people.


I don't think it is strange, but to each his own eh? But could you tell me what you find strange about offering someone the advice of not rushing things?


quote:
Thank you for the advice!!! But I do not want to always wonder "what-if". Besides you never truly know until you try Smile and if its a mistake then I will surely learn from it!


I totally understand that and I am certainly all for trying things out, following your dreams and heart and doing what you feel you need to. All I'm saying is maybe you might want to consider aiming for the relationship visa rather than the marriage visa right off- and as someone else stated it may be quicker to get a relationship visa anyway.
That's all, not trying to dissuade you from going at all, that's no where even close to what I was trying to say and I really hope it did not come across as that...


Not at all! And maybe I should consider that. There are many options on what I could consider and there is some time I have to think about. I will no doubt look into every option and everything on this site is so helpful!! Thank you again!

Post Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:33 pm 
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Peggy
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Joined: Apr 27, 2003
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Location: Ohio

quote:
Originally posted by Becky:

I don't think it is strange, but to each his own eh? But could you tell me what you find strange about offering someone the advice of not rushing things?


That was not the part I found strange, just the part about advising someone to not get married. Some (mainly Swedish) people find it to be rushing if you get married before being engaged for at least 10 years, others have totally different opinions. If a person wants to get married, I assume they have thought things thru, especially when there are other options. But if you need to think things thru for, say a few years or more, you should probably not get married....

Post Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:42 pm 
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