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From India to Skövde - Navigating a new culture and new opportunities

Have you ever wondered what it is like to study or work in another country? Alfred took the step many only dream of. Read his story about coming to a new country with a foreign language and a new job that opened up a different culture and new habits for him.

Alfred Wilson, 26 years old from Kerala, India moved to Sweden in 2020. Alfred's first stop in Sweden was Jönköping, where he studied a two-year Master's program in Production Engineering and Management at Jönköping University.

Alfred applied to attend school in Sweden because he was curious about Scandinavia and the Nordic region.

- In my field mechanical engineering, it was either Germany or Sweden to choose between as they are among the topmost innovative countries in the world.

When he finished his studies, he attended Jönköping Technical University's business day, Karriärum, where he made contact with the consulting company Alten. Through Alten, he applied for a job at Volvo GTO PowerTrain in Skövde. In December last year, he was hired at Volvo as a production engineer, specializing in battery remanufacturing.

Why Sweden and Skövde?

Sweden is an attractive country to live and work in because of its extensive social welfare system; with universal healthcare, paid vacation, parental leave and great work-life balance.

- The work-life balance in Sweden is really, really good. Most things at work have clarity and is very structured. My colleagues at Volvo are all really nice; they want to help me succeed. The attitude and work-culture at work is relaxed, and the fika breaks are great – you sit and chat with your colleagues while drinking coffee or tea. When I worked in India as a manufacturing engineer, work was pretty stressful and not as social, and people worked more independently. I prefer the Swedish way of working.

Learning Swedish has helped Alfred enter and better understand the Swedish culture and lifestyle.

- It took me about 8-9 months to understand basic Swedish. I was really ambitious to learn the language because I wanted to get a job. So that was a really good motivator for me. I had the interview with Volvo in Swedish, and now I work fully in Swedish. Knowing the language is very helpful if you want to get into and understand the culture.

To continue practicing the language, Alfred attends weekly SFI meetings in Skövde, watches Swedish movies and speaks Swedish with his friends and colleagues. He also participated in an event organized by Skövde municipality, Välkomstkvällar för nyinflyttade till Skövde.

Close to many things

There are many different things to do and experience in Skövde.

- I really like the nature here and that everything in Skövde is close by. I live in an apartment that is close to both nature and the city, and I even got a bike so I can get around more easily!

After living in Skövde for almost 1 year, Alfred says,

- I really enjoy living here, and I would like to stay in Skövde long-term. I have a good life here. Skövde is really close to everything and has the best train connections between Gothenburg, Jönköping and Stockholm. My family is back in India and I am eagerly waiting to show them Sweden and Skövde!

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