“En öl tack” (a beer please) and counting to 10 was the sum total of my Swedish vocabulary when I moved from France to Sweden at the age of 26.
Learning Swedish as well as possible was my first goal: language is the key to opening doors. In addition to my native French, I could speak English, German and Spanish. This got me off to a flying start when I started studying Swedish at SFI. It still took time, however, to learn a new language, which had a considerable impact on the sort of jobs I could apply for, despite my education.
My other goal was to start working as soon as possible. It’s the only real way to learn a culture and to adapt to a new society: understanding the importance of being around for 9am and 3pm fika, instead of just hanging at the coffee machine as we do in France; getting used to saying “du” (the informal version of “you”) to the boss; arriving bang on time instead of a relaxed French 15 minutes late. My motto became “there’s no such thing as a bad job”. Photocopying, archiving, data entry, child minding, distributing advertising flyers, teaching French – these were my first steps into the Swedish labour market for a number of years.
Language aside, there’s a couple of things you will always need: good humour, enthusiasm, passion, loyalty, flexibility. These were the ingredients that paved the way for my further development. I was hired by a large employment agency, which in turn led to my first proper job. Today I work as Sales Channel Manager for Scandinavia for a multinational company.
A little about me
I moved to Sweden in 1992 with my then-fiancé. The plan was to be in Sweden for two years but life took a different turn and we ended up staying. I really like living in Sweden and have made a lot of great friends. I live in West Stockholm and have two children. Running, swimming, cycling, golf, skiing, cooking and spending time with family and friends is how I like to spend my free time.
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