Last week Gary and I spent two lively days at SABO (the umbrella organisation for municipal housing companies) leading a course in Housing English. The participants were letting agents and other municipal housing staff from all over Sweden. Two full days training and an evening out speaking English at the Dubliners pub. It’s a very successful model.
We got to talking about how there are some things that, if you live in a certain country, you know instinctively. They are so obvious that they don’t even need to be mentioned. One of the most important of these is: always pay the rent on time. If you don’t landlords will come down on you like a ton of bricks and there can be all kinds of unpleasant consequences.
We asked the group if they had any more pieces of advice for a new arrival in Sweden. Here are some of their suggestions.
Punctuality is important. Always come on time to meetings, doctor’s appointments, and laundry sessions etcAlways take your shoes off when visiting someone’s home.
Don’t jump queues. You will be very unpopular.
Bring a gift for your host when going to a dinner party.
Clean the laundry properly after use and remove fluff from the dryer.
Respect Swedes’ personal space. Don’t stand too close to them.
Don’t forget the law of public access (Allemansrätt). You can pick mushrooms ad berries in the forest and even camp for one night
Cash is no longer king. Most transactions are done by card.
The environment is important. Remember to recycle and to sort your garbage.
Show consideration for your neighbours. Be quiet after 10.00 pm.
Don’t sit next to someone on an empty bus and start a conversation. Swedes will think you are a little strange. Or drunk!
If you have the contract for a flat in one of the big cities, don’t ever give it up!
A very varied and rather useful list!