Almost 6 months into my year abroad and placement at the Centre for Health and Performance at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden I have more than fully settled into living in a new country, adapting to a different culture and acclimatising to the environment. I was lucky enough to find accommodation through an online housing website with a Swedish host family living in a large home about a 10-minute tram ride from the city centre. They were very friendly, helpful and welcoming which made the transition to living abroad much easier.
I have been very fortunate with the opportunities I have had so far in both my work life and downtime. From completing physical capacity and strength tests on Swedish international track and field athletes and the Swedish women’s national football team to exploring the many archipelago stretched along the Gothenburg coast, watching Gothenburg ladies football team qualify for the Champions league, signing for a football team and more recently spending New Year watching the northern lights, snowmobiling and husky sledging in Lapland. An experience that won’t be forgotten.
Life in Sweden
The opportunity to live in a new country has enhanced my knowledge of new cultures and different ways of life. Sweden is a country which is frequently ranked highly on worldwide rankings regarding quality of life, well being, population happiness, healthcare, equality and a reduced environmental impact.
The city which I am living in is called Gothenburg and is Sweden’s second biggest city, with a population of around 580,000. It offers so many opportunities to interact and meet new people. The city is a very friendly city and is home to over 140,000 foreign residents (nearly ¼ of the city’s population). The integration of foreign communities and foreign individuals like me into the Swedish culture creates a warm and welcoming buzz and mixture of cultures, making the city an exciting place to be and a home away from home.
Adapting to work life was also a very smooth transition and one which I have thoroughly enjoyed. The first week was spent familiarising myself with the physiology, biomechanics and strength testing equipment in the labs and meeting all the many staff members forming the interdisciplinary Sports Science team. The staff are predominantly Swedish with a few Germans and Austrians. Therefore, the main language used in the office is English, making it easy for me to communicate with everyone. One aspect of the centres work life that has really helped me integrate with the team is the lunch hour, where everyone will sit down together. This has been a great way to get to know others in a relaxed environment and find out the best things to do in Gothenburg.
Having lived abroad it has also made me want to travel even more in 2019 and explore new places as I believe I can learn so much from travelling that will be useful both now and in the future in my degree and career. Equally my work so far has given me the opportunity to think about my future career decisions and where I would like my work to go, particularly regarding my dissertation and employability post-graduation.
I can definitely encourage anyone who has the opportunity to live and work abroad to take it as it will open you up to so many new experiences, opportunities and opinions.