46 minutes ago
Sunday, June 29
Being black in Sweden
This week I will be featuring Sweden from an african/foregner´s perspective. It´s never easy moving to a new country where everything is new. The people, the culture and most of all the unwritten rules that can make one feel accepted or out of place and these are just among the changes that one has to deal with when moving.
The biggest change when one moves to Sweden though, I would say is the SWEDISH language. For anyone to really make it and to feel as a part of the swedish society one needs to know the language. Therefore the first thing that I usually recommend to anyone moving here on a permanent basis is that they redirect their resources into learning the language. Why I recommend learning swedish despite what your background is, is that it makes everything else easier and what I primarily mean is the practical part of life.
There is a language package at the universities or other education centers designed to help newly arrived foreigners called Swedish For Foreigners (SFI). Since all education is free in Sweden one does not need to fear the costs that come with the course.
Another thing is that as much as one is proud of their background it is most helpful to know how Swedes live their lives and why they live their lives the way they do. This gives one an overall veiw of the society and makes it easier to understand a number of things happening around one. The best way to understand Swedes is to associate with them. As hard as many claim this to be since swedes are are a bit closed on an initial contact, I still think that one should try as much as they can to get to know a number of swedes, as this helps in the long run.
There is also another aspect to sweden which a swede cannot help one with and that is when it comes to things like foreign food, hair and skin products for black people, african clothing, interior designing, music and so on... In this area it helps if you know someone with an african background. However lately there has been an increase in the range of shops providing african services. What I miss though from most of these african retailers is quality and exclusiveness in the presentation and the service provided. I do understand that since the whole country is predominantly white, many of the retailers don´t regard the foreign market as lucrative, therefore they are not investing in this area. However small scale companies owned by private people with little capital are opened. Naturally these partnership company owners are not willing to spend much on the extra details that give class and quality so in that case african servives are behind the rest. I ´m happy about one thing though and that is that these shops are there... otherwise where in this country would I be able to get my products.
In the near future, I will be taking you through Sweden and I hope you will get a veiw of the country from my angle. Write in and comment on what you think of the posts as well as what you would like to read about...
Enjoy your evening