Roxanna Olteanu, was fresh from University when she came to Sweden two years ago.
Next week she is going back to Romania for holidays and she will share her experiences with the Bucharest Lounge.
” Summer of 2012 I was just a fresh graduate from Business Administration at University of Economic Studies in Bucharest. I never lived on my own before, or apart from my parents and though I liked to think of myself as a quite mature person for my age.
Now, when I look back, I realize that just like all other graduates in their 20’s and I had little life experience comparing to nowadays. But I was full of hopes, dreams and excited to move abroad to Sweden in order to study a master in Entrepreneurship at Jönköping University.
At that moment I did not know whether I will live my whole life in Sweden or not. My plan was to experience living and studying abroad. I did not know much about Sweden either, except which is the capital, that they talk a hard and impossible language to be learned, that it is very cold but they have long days during the summer and of course that it is the country of IKEA.
When I first got to Jönköping, almost every foreign student was experiencing a cultural shock. Foreigners first impressions about Sweden were that Swedes are cold and hard to get to know, that everything is over-organized and you need to stand in queues for almost everything and that the prices for alcohol are exaggerated.
During my time in Sweden, many people never really adapted to the new country, as a result almost everyone moved back to their home countries after studies. I, on the other hand, I felt how everyday I was becoming more and more Swedish, until the point that I felt always so natural and like I was finally being home. The feeling I have experienced is hard to be described but I could associate it maybe with the feeling of being free. I feel like around Swedish people, I can truly be myself and they get me. I never laughed in my whole life as much as I did here. I was told once by my father that I do not posses the sense of humor, but the truth is that I never understood the sense of humor in Latin cultures. Whereas when I joke with a Swede, I find so many things to laugh about.
The truth is that Swedes are not cold at all. They are amazing and intelligent people, well organized and very efficient. They do not let you in easily but once you get to know them you have a true friendship. I made more friends in Sweden that I had ever made anywhere else.
And so I decided to stay in Sweden. But it was the moment I first came to visit Stockholm for the first time in April 2013 that I realized I will be living here my whole life. I was fascinated by it and I fell in love with Stockholm. I was looking over the city up from Slussen and told to myself that this was the one for me. The place I want to spend my whole life until the very last moment.
Now, exactly one year later, and almost two years since I have been away, I decided to finally visit my home country. But the truth is that I am scared. I know that I will experience a reverse cultural shock. I might not feel at home or that I fit in the culture from any point of view. I might continue to be as I am Sweden. Many things that seemed normal before might appear strange to me now. But for sure this would make an interesting experience to write about. “
By : Roxanna Olteanu, Stockholm