- Health. There are a good many American expats who complain that Sweden provides less healthy choices than their home country. I just simply don’t believe it. While America may provide many more options and brands on their supermarket and retail shelves, Sweden is an extremely healthy culture. To not take advantage of the active and nature loving lifestyle is to miss out on many benefits of healthy living. The air is clean. The drinking water is magnificent. And the foods are not filled with pink slim and chemical processing. This year, I will be pursuing a more healthy attitude. More outdoor time. More exercise. Better eating. Good living.
Happy New Year Everyone!
I’m happy to share with you my latest article, at Göteborg Daily, on freelance writer and blogger Afrah Nasser. Afrah’s blog has been featured by international news media outlets such as CNN, BBC, Open Democracy and many more. So how did a girl from Yemen, in Gothenburg to study communications, become one the top voices reporting on the Middle East today? Read my article “How A Gothenburg Student Became an Important Voice From the Middle East” and find out.
Freelance writer and journalist, Afrah Nasser, sits down and explains that it’s been a long day. “The end of the semester is always the hardest,” she says.
Judging from her list of accomplishments, it seems the 29-year-old Nasser thrives on long days. A self exiled, political refugee, from Yemen, she has been residing in Gothenburg, Sweden, since May 2011. She is currently a graduate student studying communications at the University of Gothenburg.
Her blog, which focuses on human rights violations and revolution in Yemen, has been featured by CNN, BBC, The Monitor, and Open Democracy as being a top Middle East blog. The International Journalist Network cites Nasser as one of the most active female journalists on Twitter. She is this year’s recipient of the 2014 Dawit Isaak Prize …
Writer/photographer Lisa Mikulski – available for print or online publications and businesses. The Nordic region, Europe, and the U.S. Check out my writing and photography services. Editorial, features, marketing copy, and public relations. Contact me here or at lisa @ 2sweden4love.com
Scandinavians are well known for their excellent design sensibilities and their more-than-awesome Nordic history. They are pretty talented at devising ways to keep the dark at bay as well. As we approach the winter season, here in Gothenburg our skies are cloud covered. It’s been raining for a week and most likely it isn’t going to stop anytime soon – November is, without a doubt, the most dismal month of the year. Soon it will be upon us.
Taking a clue from the Swedes, I learned to not only deal with the darkness and the rain, but I’ve come to embrace it. I thought I’d share a few tips that helped me chase away the winter blues – Scandinavian style.
- Get some Vitamin D: You can’t rely on getting enough Vitamin D when you only have five precious hours of daylight a day. Invest in a good Vitamin D supplement. While you’re at it, some omega-3 wouldn’t hurt either. This stuff saved my life.
- Candle light: Create a romantic atmosphere … even if it’s just for yourself. Fire light is a natural source of lighting. Its flame not only enhances your state of mind but will keep you company on many a long winter night. Even better – scented candles. There’s a reason candles are so popular in Sweden. I use them everyday.
- Decorate your place: Adding some color around your home or apartment will greatly lift your mood. Flower sellers are abundant in Gothenburg and bringing home a bouquet has always brightened my spirits. Additionally, adding some colorful objects to a coffee table or bookshelf gives your eye a new place to rest. Blankets in green, yellow, or orange will provide double duty not only keeping you warm and cozy, but they also add a splash of color to your home. If you’re feeling really motivated, try painting a room in a new shade or reorganizing some space.
Many of you already know what it is I do for living, but some new friends have asked what my story is. As it happens, I really enjoy telling stories.
When I was a kid, I interviewed my dog, Wags. I took notes in my little reporter’s notebook – it was one of those notebooks bound at the top, and I felt so very grown-up and professional using it. I conducted a in-depth interview with my dog – complete with quotes and even a Polaroid photograph of her. I can tell you, I was quite disappointed when I learned there was already a story published about Wags called, of all things – A Story About Wags. But that first failure didn’t deter me. I wrote when I was in high school. I wrote when I was in college, and I continued to write while I was a graphic designer. After a while, I started writing professionally and had several publications which I worked with in the United States. I wrote marketing and content development for my clients (who were mostly artists), and in 2004 I created my first blog called ArtLook. Things were good.Read More»
In response to SIT – Sveriges Internationella Talanger’s most recent blog post regarding the great debate in Sweden as to whether there is a VALUE to cultural diversity, I have to say – Are we really really having this conversation in 2014? Shouldn’t this be a no-brainer?
SIT seeks to be the network for international professionals who want to succeed in the Swedish business market. Yes, yes – It seems that highly educated foreign professionals need help in succeeding in the Swedish market place. I have written about my observations regarding this here and here and here. SIT has worked tirelessly at opening doors and minds to the benefits of a diverse and multicultural work force in Sweden.
On September 26, 2014, SIT launched a panel discussion between foreign academics and Swedish representatives of the business world in an attempt to understand why, despite the many highly educated foreign professionals seeking work in Sweden, that these people are being consistently being overlooked.
- What is stopping companies from hiring foreign academics who come here with both education and experience plus a drive to succeed and contribute to their new homeland?
- Why is global competence undervalued in a country where the local market measures just 9 million and which therefore must look to foreign markets for more customers?
- Why don’t the workforces in Swedish businesses reflect the composition of the Swedish society, 15% of which (conservatively) is made up of people who come from foreign lands?
Well evidently, it is a matter of semantics. On October 3, 2014, SIT reported that one of the things they learned in their panel discussion is that “there is a paradox here in Sweden and it is due to bad definitions.”
While Swedish companies say they are in need of qualified people, the definition is up for debate. According to SIT, qualified here in Sweden evidently means “one who is experienced and educated in Sweden”. From my experience, it also means one who also is fluent in the Swedish language. This, therefore, – by definition – excludes all other individuals seeking work in the Swedish work force. This, in fact, excludes all other people IN THE WORLD.
I think the thing that really trips my trigger with this is that there is an actual debate, or let us diplomatically call it – a lack of understanding – as to how anyone other than a Swede could possibly contribute to the Swedish workforce in any meaningful way. Earlier this year, The Local – Sweden, posted an invitation for it’s readers to explain Why Sweden Needs Foreign Workers. Seriously? There needs to be more explanations?
So let me get this straight: The problem here, evidently, is that while Sweden will open it’s arms to hundreds of thousands of refugees and immigrants, Sweden really doesn’t understand what it is that these people will bring – of value – to the workforce and to Swedish society? Well, isn’t that something?
Writer/photographer Lisa Mikulski. Available for print or online publications and business in the Nordic region, Europe, and the U.S. Editorial, features, marketing copy, and public relations. Contact me here or at lisa @ 2sweden4love.com