Category Archives: Uncategorized

Join The Fat Tuesday Celebration Tomorrow

On the 4th of march is Fat Tuesday (called ”Fettisdagen” in Swedish) we eat the pastry Semla. People will go crazy to eat this special bun on its own day. There are a lot of reviews in the Swedish newspapers which bakery that makes the most tasty Semla!

We will also join the celebration, but from Chengdu, we found a Swedish Cafe here that serves Swedish food and pastries. Actually, we are really looking forward for tomorrow and will even Skype our families during that special time:)

Take the opportunity and treat yourself and with a Semla! During Fat Tuesday you can find the Semla in most supermarkets and bakery shops.

PS. If you want more information about Swedish culture and celebrations sign up for the newsletter, you also receive the free Swedish calender for you phone with all the Swedish holidays days and other famous celebration so you don’t miss it!

Whats more, you can also check out the brand new Resource Page and learn lots about Sweden.

Until next time!
/Elin & Chris

6. Christmas, Mulled Wine and Donald Duck


Christmas Countdown

– This year TV Christmas calendar is called “Barna Hedenhös uppfinner julen” and you can watch it here here online. (Swedish only)

– This year’s radio Christmas calendar can be found here. (Swedish only)

– All four Sundays before Christmas eve are known as Advent.


– On every advent we light a candle:

– Advent fika means eating ginger cookie/ gingerbread, drink coffee and mulled wine. (glögg)

Gingerbread used to be seen as medicine for getting kind


Christmas pastries and candy

– Aladdin and Paradis traditional chocolate boxes:






– Building your own gingerbread houses.

Knäck (Be careful with your teeths)

– Nuts and fruits


Mulled Wine (Glögg)


– We celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day 13/12 and make sure you aren’t missing it!

– We have plenty of Christmas dinners and all during december with colleagues, friends and so on. See what things we eat here! (Scroll down)

– Remember we celebrate mostly on Christmas Eve (24th dec) and not on Christmas Day.(25the dec)

– Christmas goat in Gävle burns down every year. See the full terrible story here 😛.

– Christmas gifts are of great importance

– Please be aware about supermarket, banks and other store’s opening hours on Christmas eve and Christmas day!

– Mellandagsrea! The BIG discount days, it’s between Christmas and New Years eve, often cheap electronics but you can find all kind of stuff much cheaper. Don’t miss this!

– Christmas tree plastic or real always a big debate

– Santa Claus is important

– Donald Duck: Every year on Christmas Eve 15.00 o’clock on channel 1 SVT. Important! Read more about this tradition and see clips here.

Julmust: Coca Cola christmas edition!

– We made a calendar and newsletter. Sign up to the left or just click here!

God jul! – Merry Christmas!

We wish you a warm and truly happy Christmas time!

//Elin and Chris

Final Notes:

WeChat ID: “Welcome_Sweden”
QQzone: 中国留学生在瑞典

5. How I got a Husband and Work in Sweden: Interview with Zhou Quan


Zhou Quan:
– From Jiangxi province, China
– Lived in Sweden for four years
– Studied two years at Karlstad University, has a master degree in business administration
– Worked in Trollhättan for 1,5 year
– Has a Swedish husband

Being married with a Swedish guy
– Don’t focus on culture difference, focus on culture respect
– Treat each other with love, understanding and respect most important of all

Chinese weddings:
– Long preparation
– Short dinner
– Short ceremony
– The bride changes her dress after the opening ceremony
– Opening ceremony with speeches and questions before dinner
– Give the couple red envelopes
– Often paid by the parents, especially the guy’s parents

Swedish weddings:
– Often in church with a priest, also often includes family or friends that sings and bless you
– After ceremony there is a long meal
– Mostly payed by the couple themselves

Swedish guys:
– Respect
– Simple
– Honest
– Independent and more individual
– Treat each other equal
– Go dutch

Chinese guys:
– More complex because society is complex and it is hard to show feelings
– Takes more care of their girlfriends like a gentlemen
– Always walks their girlfriends home
– Mostly pay when out for dinner

Work advice
1. Have nice grades in your graduation certificate. It is more important to show you are serious and good at what you do.

2. Don’t stay home and apply for job online. Go out and visit companies, reach out to them and try to connect.

3. Study Swedish. If you want to stay here it is much easier and you’ll have greater chance of success with both life and work if you can speak Swedish. It shows the boss that you plan to stay in Sweden.

Zhou Quan also has a blog, click here to learn Swedish!

Thanks so much once again Zhou Quan for all your advice!

Final Notes:

WeChat ID: “Welcome_Sweden”
QQzone: 中国留学生在瑞典

4. Study at University: Interview with International Coordinator Holly Xiao

The first interview in our podcast! In the future there will be many more interviews to come.

Holly Xiao, 肖书媛 came to Sweden 2009 and studied as a exchange student for two years. She has a master degree in intentional business and now works at University West as a International Coordinator. Her main job is to take care of Chinese exchange students.

What kind of help international can Office do for newly arrived students?
– Pickup service upon arrival day
– International helpdesk
– 3 Introduction days
– Accommodation
– General information
– Show around town

How is it like to study in Sweden in comparison to China?
– Sweden has group assignment
– Few hours study but many books to read
– More self study
– More about using information and giving your own idea.
– Cooperate not compete

– Exams after course is finished compared to China where all exams are at the same time in the end if the term
– Too long time at examination days, 4-5 hours, normally it just takes 2 hours. (Can also bring food, drink and go to toilet)
– Questions is to see you get the general idea and can use your knowledge.

English level
– Many Chinese people are shy and afraid to speak
– Can improve if you just keep on trying
– Can understand and follow just difficult during the first weeks

Hollys personal opinions about Sweden after living here during 4 years:
-People are really enjoying their life’s here.
– Job is not everything
– Don’t live in a frame, take things more as they comes (Compare this to China where some people already plans what they will do when they are 20, 30, or even 40 and so on)
– Enjoy your spare time a lot
– Good working conditions with long vacation of 5 weeks

How to make more friends here:
-Take the initiative
– Be brave
– Invite people over for dinner
– Swedish people are also shy

How to survive winter in Sweden:
– Not that cold compared to China
– Darkness is the worst part
– Have a strong heart, make a lot of friends and have lots of activities

The biggest problems for exchange students during their studies:
– To integrate in the Swedish society even though is has been some positive progress the last couple of years.

– Don’t forget to bring insurance paper to hospital. If you didn’t bring and paid international office help you get your money back from insurance company.

– In China people are used to take medicine when sick. In Sweden the doctor can tell you to go home and rest for some days.

– People forget to register to the exams and then they have to take next exam instead. Register at least 3 weeks before the examination day.

– Some students can’t get their deposit for their apartment back and it’s because they don’t clean well. Sweden is a very clean country.

– In general Swedish people greet friends with a hug. Once again Swedish people are also shy, in this aspect Swedes are similar to Chinese people.

Final Notes:

WeChat ID: “Welcome_Sweden”
QQzone: 中国留学生在瑞典

3. How to Find Accommodation, Solve Housing Issues and What to Bring to Sweden!

In this third episode of the Chinese Students in Sweden Podcast, we will talk about housing and what to bring to Sweden.

We are Elin and Chris, and we are here to help you increase your chances of success and happiness in Sweden. We will do our best to help you deal with the culture shock and integrate with the society, we’ll let you know about everything from unknown social rules to food traditions.

On Iphone/Ipad/Itunes click here to listen OR On Android system click here.


Here are the show notes:

Part 1: Housing

University provides housing

  • Chris tells the process when he used to help newly arrived students in Sweden.
  • Convenient to live with a roommate.
  • Easy and much well recommended.

Finding a flat yourself

  • Proof of pay or guarantee you can pay the rent.
  • Find flat through agents.
  • Problem for short time visitors.
  • To live with locals or family a good alternative.

Terms accommodation

  • Quiet after 22.00
  • Some places have entry code
  • Do not smoke indoors
  • Empty garbage bin & Recycle
  • Keep good condition


  • Kitchen, Cooker and the oven.
  • Laundry and dry machine.
  • Heating system during winter.
  • If there is a problem – Call your landlord and a caretaker can help you.


  • Shower in the evening or shower in the morning.
  • Walk around in your stockings – Seldom shoes indoor!
  • Do not want advertising-sign.
  • Swedish neighbor shy and private. (For Jante-Law see Episode 2)

Part 2: What to bring to Sweden

  • Dried food e.g 方便面,木耳.
  • Warm clothes & Western style vs Eastern style
  • Personal belongings
  • Chinese literature
  • Slippers or Flip flops
  • Bring traditional Chinese gifts – But no need to bring expensive ones!
  • Pick up what is typical gifts when you are invited at a dinner in Sweden:
    Flowers, chocolate, wine or something home made.

Bonus: Informal Swedish for beginners

  • Tjena, Tja – Hi, Hello
  • Läget? – What’s up?
  • Hur mår du? – How are you feeling?
  • Jag älskar dig – I love you

Poet and composer Carl Michael Bellman, is the main character of a type of Swedish jokes, known as Bellman-jokes. Here is the joke from this episode:

“A Dane, a Norwegian and Bellman made a wager on who could remain inside a goat pen the longest. First out was the Dane, who came out after just 10 minutes yelling “Damn! The goat stinks!” After him the Norwegian went in, and after half an hour he came out yelling, “Damn! The goat stinks!” Finally Bellman went in. After 2 hours the goat came rushing out yelling “Damn! Bellman stinks!”

Final Notes:

WeChat ID: “Welcome_Sweden”
QQzone: 中国留学生在瑞典

2. Money, Money, Money

In this second episode of the Chinese Students in Sweden Podcast, we will talk about money and the big culture difference that goes with it.

We are Elin and Chris, and we are here to help you increase your chances of success and happiness in Sweden. We will do our best to help you deal with the culture shock and integrate with the society, we’ll let you know about everything from unknown social rules to food traditions.

On Iphone/Ipad/Itunes click here to listen OR On Android system click here.


Here are the show notes:

Basic Facts

Part 1: How we value money in Sweden and the Culture difference

  • From kid to grown up
  • Money VS work
  • Money and status – Read more about Jate-law.
  • The gap between rich and poor
  • Education and hospital

Part 2: The avarage salary

  • Teacher: 25 000 kr
  • Doctor: 49 000 kr
  • Engineer: 32 000 kr
  • Economist: 28 000 kr
  • Real Estate Agent: 33 000 kr
  • Worker in a Shop: 19 000 kr
  • Buss driver: 23 000 kr

Part 3: Prices on food and alcohol

Food example on prices:

  1. Milk, cheese, pasta and bread mostly less expensive than China.
  2. Fruit, vegetable and meat are expensive.
  3. Fish is lower than average price in Europe

The cheapest supermarkets:

  1. Lidl – The cheapest, a German supermarket with both foreign and Swedish brands,
  2. Willys – In almost every town, has a big range of groceries.
  3. Netto – One of the cheaper supermarket, not that big and not in every town
  4. ICA, ICA MAXI – More expensive but their own brand are pretty cheap.
  • Advice – Looking for Chinese food ingredients? You can normally find Chinese supermarkets in bigger cities.

Part 4: Quick summery and conclusions


  • Money not as culturally significant as in China.
  • No bragging with money.
  • Earn more money here, pay more tax.
  • High social security system.


  • Don’t talk about salary with people you don’t know – its rude.
  • Treat people equal no matter of social status and money.

Final notes:
WeChat ID: “Welcome_Sweden”

1. The 10 Steps to Prevent Culture Shock

In this very first session of the Chinese Students in Sweden Podcast, we will talk about the 10 steps to prevent culture shock and introduce ourselfs.

We are Elin and Chris, and we are here to help you increase your chances of success and happiness in Sweden. We will do our best to help you deal with the culture shock and integrate with the society, we’ll let you know about everything from unknown social rules to food traditions.

On Iphone/Ipad/Itunes click here to listen OR On Android system click here.


Here are some show notes:

1. Fika

  • Coffee or Tea
  • Special break
  • The secret of making friends

2. Equaliness

  • Most equal country in the world?
  • Men also get paternity leave and women earns more then the guys?!
  • Equal in relationship as well as in work.

3. Right of Public Access (or freedom to roam)

  • Moose Safari
  • You can go, camp and simply be free there.
  • Blueberries, raspberry, mushrooms and dangerous animals?

4. Few people

  • More woods then people?
  • Take time to get closer the locals.
  • Integrity and private zone.

5. Education system

  • No exams!? Well, essays, group assignments and experiments.
  • Less class more freedom = Responsibility
  • Dialogue with teacher and students are required. JIA YOU!

6. Hobbies

  • Free time important.
  • Ask yourself whats MY hobby?
  • Important to have one and why.

7. Shopping

  • Systembolaget
  • Many stores closes early (Bank, cloth stores)
  • Few markets and no bargain.

8. Language

  • Basic English is enough and Swedish is just a plus.
  • Signs in Swedish (We will help you!)
  • Swedes are quiet, haha.

9. Food

10. Family

  • Living apart in privacy.
  • Different family hierarchy and great diversity of people.
  • Size of family and the Swedish dream!

Final notes:
WeChat Elin: “mintsh1”, Chris: “fireflies001”
EMAIL CORRECTION: We said in the podcast but its actually We are so sorry for the mistake and hope you’ll resend your emails to the correct email address 🙂