Why you should move to Sweden at least once in your life!

Moving to a new place is a really big (mental) step. Most people find it really scary (which it kinda is), and even if they have the opportunity to go, some eventually won’t do it for exactly that reason.

BUT, so much of that fear is just a mind game that you have to overcome. Once you do that, the party has only just begun!

So of course, you don’t have to move to Sweden necessarily, it can be anywhere in the world. But that’s what it was for me, and doing field work in South Africa at the moment has made me relive that experience completely. So I would like to propose a toast to why I’m thankful that I’ve silenced the chicken deep inside (and that coming from a vegetarian..) of me and taken that leap of faith two years ago.

Here’s a toast …

To reinventing yourself!


Get this, so you arrive in a new country with all your luggage in your bag and in your brain. You know what you stand for, the things you like to do, the kind of people you hang out with. On Friday you probably go to that one bar where you get 2 if you buy one with Sammy, your favourite ice cream (peppermint) is right next door and the chances of encountering your best friend Lisa at the market square sipping some Apero are pretty high when the sun is out. But think again, no one else in your new place knows this about you! There you go, a new shot for just about anything. And this can be quite nice, if not even liberating! If you’ve always wanted to try pole dancing, or bread baking, or you want to be a better listener than you were that last time you had an argument. You can truly re-examine who you want to be, and how you want to spend your time.
So make a list now, before you go, of hobbies you’ve always wanted to try, foods you wanted to taste, habits you wanted to break, anything you can come up with. I wanted to become a vegetarian, so I did! For the first time ever I have lived by myself, and I finally dedicated time to learn salsa, properly. There are endless opportunities really, and being in a new environment is incredibly stimulating to take all these steps.

To becoming an instant-adventurer! Just add *yes*.


At least when you have just arrived, you probably have nothing going on other than building up a life in a new place. So all you need to do is say yes to whatever is thrown at you, because having those new experiences is what makes you stop missing what you left behind a lot more easily. Just remember to keep your loved ones close, but do get out and have all the crazy experiences your new friends come up with. Not knowing where you’ll end up is the best part of it anyway! This is how I’ve started jumping in ice cold lakes, running in the rain, going on trips (o well, those are usually my idea :p), staying out for the Northern lights and making snow angels in bikini.

To learning by doing!


Completely emerging yourself in all the quirks and twists of a new society adds so many layers to your understanding of the world. It’s an experience you can’t get by reading a newspaper or watching a movie, not even by travelling through. It’s something you need to see, taste & touch and realising that what has been ‘normal’ to you all your life is not quite the normal somewhere else. It can be as stupid as me learning that people don’t usually eat bread twice a day, like all Belgians do, or that good chocolate really can not be taken for granted. Or for you it may be as profound as experiencing that you have arrived somewhere where you can walk freely out in the street at night, as a girl, without feeling unsafe. Or moving from a big city where you are a number on the street, to knowing 80% of your town personally (or just the opposite).
In Sweden I’ve felt my general mood change with the seasons, I’ve grown a larger personal bubble, and I’ve munched on all the different bullar of the year. It’s kind of weird to think about, but all that life in Sweden is all going on right now, as we speak, just waiting for you to be discovered if you wanted to find it.

To routines and bad habits! 


And then you get to that point where you came from, this complete comfort zone of pyjama parties with your new close friends, eating cake while talking boys/girls. You have grown new bad habbits, you are settled in a routine, … And then, a new challenge comes along. And again, you’ll be a little bit scared.

But the difference is that now you just think about that exact moment you were freaking out about moving abroad and how comfortable you are right now. That was all built up from scratch, and you did that! This sense of comfort is exactly what you need to take that next leap of faith to get a little out of your comfort zone once more. Whether or not that means you will get out to do field work or go to that event where you know no one, you know you’ll be fine.

So here’s my advice, if you are thinking about going abroad but you’re a little bit scared, just do it (LaBeouf, 2015)! If you are so lucky in life that you have this opportunity, then just go and let it happen!
And know that Sweden is waiting with wide open arms!

Love from Cape Town,
(“just a little” outside of my comfort zone)




Elke avatar


  • Mellissa • 31 Oct 2016 at 3.02 pm Reply

    Hi Elke ☺ I’m from Cape Town😃 Working hard though in my bachelor’s to obtain a scholarship to study in Sweden…it is pretty pricey compared to South Africa but soo worth it😊 It would be a dream come true♡♡ All the best with your studies and such a great and inspiring post Elke 🌼 xx

  • fayyaz • 26 Oct 2016 at 8.40 pm Reply

    Is It easy to get visa of Sweden ?

  • lynn • 26 Oct 2016 at 1.43 pm Reply

    Hey Elketje, super post!! Enjoy Cape town!! Kisses from Milano 🙂

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 2.38 pm Reply

      Ah thanks girl 🙂
      Hoop je snoet snel nog eens te zien!

  • Richard • 26 Oct 2016 at 9.43 am Reply

    Would I get a job to do while studying in Sweden?

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 11.58 am Reply

      Hej Richard,
      The good news is that as a student there are no limits to how much you can work on the side!
      The maybe not so good news is that for many jobs you need to speak Swedish, but that you can learn 🙂 Or you can also search hard and find an English-speaking job anyway!
      Best of luck!

  • Blankiholmie • 26 Oct 2016 at 7.21 am Reply

    Super post Elke!! I suscribe all your words from Mexico 🙂

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 11.59 am Reply

      Aaaah gracias Blancita! I don’t even remember us talking about this, you must be in my head all the time 😉 xxxxxxxxx Buena suerte!

  • mm • 25 Oct 2016 at 11.30 pm Reply

    Visiting Sweden in Summer is awesome but you should mention about dark cold loooong winter as well…! It’s beautiful if it snows, but sun light influence your mental health.

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.01 pm Reply

      Haha you are right, but I have so many posts about the cold and dark already! It is just another thing you have to learn how to own! By drinking hot chocolate, going for a run in the snow, getting toasty in a sauna, … It’s only as bad as you make it right 🙂

  • Nikolaos • 25 Oct 2016 at 7.15 pm Reply

    One of the greatest post about moving abroad,done it once a few years ago and doing it again this December…your post is so encouraging and right on the time I started to get a bit anxious. Thank you and enjoy your ‘outside of your comfort zone’ moments

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.03 pm Reply

      Hej Nikolaos! Aw so good to hear 🙂
      You know those nerves will turn into thrills rather sooner than later!
      Good luck,

  • Magaly • 25 Oct 2016 at 6.19 pm Reply

    I like! Your post is excellent!

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.04 pm Reply

      Hej Magali,
      so glad you enjoyed the read!
      And I hope it makes you do something you thought you never would 🙂

  • eve • 25 Oct 2016 at 5.20 pm Reply

    Ofc its a good post , but you have to have money or a job , to do everything 🙂 it is scary but we are young, nothing to lose

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.09 pm Reply

      Hej Eve,
      of course, you are absolutely right! It is a great privilege to afford studying abroad. I am just talking about the hurdles we put in our minds that make us scared to do something new.
      You are aloud to work while studying in Sweden though, and there are many scholarships you can apply for (https://studyinsweden.se/Scholarships/)
      Best of luck if you’re thinking of coming over!
      Or any other endeavours that come your way 🙂

  • Benard kiprotich mutai • 25 Oct 2016 at 5.12 pm Reply

    Yes I would like to move to Sweden as soon as possible for my masters degree but am being held up my bachelor’s degree which am studying currently, once I am through with it I will apply to study in Sweden for a masters degree in International migration and Ethnic relations.For now I look forward to a new challenge of moving to Sweden and I am prepared mentally for it.

    • Elizabeth • 25 Oct 2016 at 6.17 pm Reply

      me too

      • Elke
        Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.11 pm Reply

        and of course Sweden is waiting for you too Elizabeth 🙂

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.10 pm Reply

      Hej Benard,
      great to hear! Sweden will be waiting for you 🙂
      And don’t get too caught up in your head, it’ll be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime-time’.
      Elke 🙂

  • Rasool khan • 25 Oct 2016 at 5.12 pm Reply

    Would that i afford to study there but it’s my wish and it will be remain i can’t afford my study there .

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.12 pm Reply

      Hej Rasool,
      Cool you want to come study in Sweden! Just so you know, you are aloud to work while studying in Sweden, and there are many scholarships you can apply for (https://studyinsweden.se/Scholarships/)!
      Best of luck hey 🙂

  • Dimphina Pereira • 25 Oct 2016 at 4.54 pm Reply

    Love Sweden love it anytime..best post ever

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.13 pm Reply

      Thanks a lot Dimphina 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed your read!

  • Fran • 25 Oct 2016 at 4.04 pm Reply


    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.13 pm Reply

      Thanks so much Fran 🙂

  • Justine
    Justine • 25 Oct 2016 at 12.43 pm Reply

    Greatttt post Elke! <3

    • Elke
      Elke • 26 Oct 2016 at 12.14 pm Reply

      EEEEEEEY THANKS 😀 And I was doubting to post it for going too deep, always good to have a good first response haha ^^ xx See you soon!

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