What three words best describe how you feel when you leave home on a Saturday morning after a lazy lie in and head into your local city or town for a spot of breakfast, some impulse shopping or a leisurely lunch? Excited, energetic, inspired, agitated, apathetic?
What goes through your mind as you step into your favourite bar, restaurant or shop? How do the locals make you feel? How do they change your mood? What is it about where you live that brings you alive and what is it that saps your soul?
Now take a fantasy moment out – and be as imaginative as you like.
If you could do your current job anywhere in the world, where would you pick and why? Or maybe you’re drawn to start afresh – change path, get away, get inspired.
If you fall into the latter category, what’s the most ridiculous job alternative you’ve fantasised about and what would your dream place look like? What kind of climates, people, food and visuals set you alight?
With so many places to choose from whether Europe, Indonesia or America, considering a move abroad can feel as scary as it can exciting. From assessing the size of a place, the possibility of finding a job or the likelihood of finding good friends far from home, upping sticks can seem an idyllic idea laden with risk. But it doesn’t have to be.
That’s where Gazing Girl comes in.
In a series of short interviews with guys and girls who have moved abroad to Sweden, Spain, New Zealand and beyond, we hope to give you the confidence to travel where your heart takes you.
Next stop, Sweden! Over to you, Jennifer…
Can You Tell Us A Bit About You?
My name is Jennifer. I am 32 years old and I have lived abroad for over 7 years with a pit stop back in England for a year in between. I now live in Sweden and I’m married to an Iranian who has lived here since he was 7 years old. We met in Dubai whilst we were both working for a real estate company and we have a son called Arthur who is 3 years old. He is learning to speak 3 languages – not bad for a tot!
What Inspired You To Move Abroad?
I graduated from university with a degree in dance/theatre studies and knew for sure that I didn’t want to go down either of these as career paths – so I was left wondering what I wanted to do. I worked in London for a various PR agencies but despite being a people person, I wasn’t truly happy.
It was around this time that I went on holiday to Dubai and fell in love with the destination. It was time for a change from living in south west London and I needed to something different so I made up my mind and left for Dubai! A lot happened over three years and now we are living in Stockholm, Sweden. It was a big change!
How Would You Describe Sweden To Someone Who Knows Nothing About It?
Sweden is a Scandinavian country in northern Europe bordering Norway and Finland – and a bridge-tunnel connects it to Denmark! At 173,860 square miles, Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union with a total population of 9.7 million but a surprisingly low population density (maybe this goes some way in explaining the quality of life here!)
Famed for its blonde beauties, 20 hours of summer sunlight, pricey beer, some of the best fishing in the world and of course, Pippi Longstocking and Vikings, it’s as diverse as they come! Swedish benefits are also the best in the world, with parents getting 480 days of paid parental leave, cheap daycare, unlimited sick days and free healthcare! It’s not hard to see why it’s regarded as one of the most attractive cities to live in for its quality of life!
How Did You Manage The Change?
Having a husband that spoke the language and knew the system helped. And although the Swedes are fantastic at English, the spoken language is Swedish so it was a struggle to adapt in that respect. It also didn’t help that when I arrived in January it was -16 degrees!!! Coooooooold and dark.
Had I gone to Sweden straight from only living in the UK the change may had not been so drastic but it couldn’t have been more different to living in Dubai.
What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?
I think that I am very fortunate to have experienced both the Middle Eastern and Scandinavian cultures. It opens yours eyes to different ways of life and has increased my open mindedness even more. My biggest highlight has to be meeting my husband Pejang, having Arthur and experiencing both the highs and lows which have made us who we are today.
What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?
Learning the language and finding a job!
What Advice Would You Give Someone Thinking Of Moving Abroad?
Trust your gut instinct, throw yourself in and embrace the new experiences that come your way. They’ll open your heart and mind in ways you won’t expect.
And Just Because This Is Too Cute Not To Include..