A Life in Sweden?

Hej alla! I’m writing this just after completing my Swedish Language oral exam presentation, and feeling very successful! So, today I’d like to talk about a topic that I’ve thought about quite a few times – becoming a full-time resident and working in Sweden. I am lucky to have many teachers here in Stockholm who have immigrated to Sweden from different countries, all with different motives and life paths but all very happy with their decision. Because of this, several of my classes have had conversations with our teachers about the possibility and benefits of moving to Sweden to pursue careers full-time in the future. In fact, it is relatively common to meet foreigners and expatriates who are studying abroad, working, or completing PhDs in Sweden’s larger cities – it’s a country with great benefits for its students and residents and a wonderful attitude toward work and its workers!

Therefore, I’ve considered more than a few times what it would be like to live in Sweden permanently. In the US, I am planning to become a physician assistant, which is unfortunately not a career that is available in Sweden. I am very happy with and confident in my career choice, but when thinking about what it would be like to live in Sweden, I admire the path that one of my teachers from Mexico chose to take: becoming fluent in Swedish and pursuing an MD in Sweden. There is just so much possibility here in Sweden as a medical doctor, and there is also a strong emphasis on research alongside clinical practice, which is something that interests me and that strengthens their healthcare system.

As for where I would live, Stockholm is a clear possibility. I love city life, and I especially love the clean, organized, respectful, and even laid-back atmosphere of Stockholm in particular. Being familiar with the city already is also a plus! Additionally, Stockholm has many opportunities for medical professionals, from innovative research groups to youth health clinics to large hospital systems like Karolinska University Hospital. However, I also have a city in mind if I would prefer a more local and mellow feel.

Near the beginning of the semester, my core course went on a study tour for a few days to Lund, a smaller city in the south of Sweden, that is renowned for their university and for being an area of strong research and medical development. We were lucky to meet a number of professionals working in fields such as cancer research, nanotechnology, and stem cell therapy in Lund. From my own experiences and their shared insights, I found the area to be charming and full of opportunities, and so this is also an area I would love to live and grow my career in.

As a full-time resident, I would be thrilled to experience the summer and Christmas-time here in Sweden and their many festivals, holidays, and celebrations. The amazing work-life balance, with plenty of mandated paid vacation time and over a year of paid maternity leave, would give me plenty of opportunities to experience Swedish culture and to travel within Sweden and beyond. I’d frequent the flea markets and farmer’s markets in town, and find more favorite restaurants and cafés to have fika. All in all, I know I would love living full-time here in Sweden.

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