Sweden Culture Shocks TikTok

Must be nice to get paid extra for taking vacation days!!!

Madeline Robson is a 30-year-old Canadian who has been living in Malmö, Sweden, for over two years.

As she shared in the video above, some of the culture shocks she has experienced living in Sweden include only eating candy on Saturday, parental leave being eight months long, having to book the laundry machine weeks in advance, and needing a permit to dance in public.

@madelineraeaway / tiktok.com

Madeline said, “I reflected on the fact that before I moved to Sweden, I really didn’t know much at all about Swedish culture. I had heard that Scandinavians are some of the happiest people in the world, about their equality beliefs, and their work-life balance, but I had no idea what that meant in actuality day to day. When I moved here, I found so many quirks and nuances of Swedish culture to be so interesting and endearing, so I thought others would find them interesting too. And turns out they did!”

Madeline said she has been most surprised by all the parental benefits that Swedes have. “Childcare is incredibly cheap, parents enjoy 480 days of paid parental leave (that is shared between both parents), you get paid to stay home from work when your kids are sick, and parents are often encouraged to take four to six weeks off every summer to spend time with their families,” she said.

In addition, Madeline’s work-life balance has improved immensely. “I have 30 days of vacation, and my personal time is respected. Culturally, Swedes seem to have a perspective that every job is considered important to a functioning society. And, as a result, people aren’t as defined by their jobs,” she explained.


Reply to @molly_nap_queen back my popular request… some more #cultureshocks 🤍 #cultureshock #sverigetiktok #cultureshockchallenge #livingabroad

♬ Wiggin’ out – Orchestra Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

“In Canada, one of the first questions you would ask someone is, ‘What do you do for work?’ … And I’m rarely asked that here. As someone who has traditionally been very defined by my career, this has allowed me more time to focus on my hobbies and interests…and my TikTok account!”

If you’re moving to a new city or country, Madeline’s advice is to just be patient, and things will start to feel normal with time. “Don’t put too much pressure to fit in right away, and lean on the immigrant community because there’s a pretty good chance you’re not the only one feeling overwhelmed or homesick for what you’re most familiar with.”

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