Observing Sweden – Culture Shock 2 Language.


I’m sure there are many variations of the expatriate trip . . . this loss of place. There is a feeling of powerless, not oppressed, but not easy. A loss of control and understanding.

Language is such a big part of adjusting. I thought the language schools (12 weeks – free) would open for me this September. Wrong. The classes have been filled with Somalis. The Swedish government reversed its position requiring immigrants to have valid identification papers. Lots of Somalis don’t have papers. Now DNA tests are accepted – giving families the ability to import relatives. Hard to find out how many, have come so far. I think around 2000. Incomers have zero skills. We will support them, extra money for each kid (locals get credit for the first only), and hopefully teach them how to add and subtract.

Then they can go out and learn how hard it is to find jobs in Borlänge . . . this small town of (40,000). After they get tired of being unemployed they can go to Stockholm and riot, demanding jobs. Seems like I see them everywhere, or maybe they just show up, stand out in a crowd – those brightly colored, flowing outfits. What a culture shock Sweden must be for them. It gets cold here. The city has asked for 15 million dollars (100,000 kronor) to help with expenses.

There is another, private language class that will begin soon—if the teacher attracts one more student. I will have to pay, of course. A good possibility, but I’m not holding my breath. Even the finding of a class is beyond my ken. When things get complicated, you need to be able to converse in Swedish. I have most of Rosetta Stone-Sweden, but no idea what happen to the missing disks. So many things have magically disappeared with this move. They often reappear shortly after we buy replacements. Other items long forgotten, and unseen for years appear unexpectedly, like Moby Dick.

My doctor speaks adequate English, but I’m not really sure she understands what I say.


If you get seriously sick here, and or want help NOW, you go to a private doctor – expensive. You get to pay twice. Socialism is tricky. All political systems are tricky . . .  one thing in common, the working class always pays.

Socialism cost more than I thought.


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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7 Responses to Observing Sweden – Culture Shock 2 Language.

  1. lgyslaine says:

    I see that everything isn’t evident. I hope that you keep moral! 🙂

  2. Oh Bruce – Oh Gosh !
    All I can say is chin-up, and cuddle Bucks and Amber… have they handled their culture shock satisfactorily…?. keep in touch whatever happens, a propos your last comment to me…

  3. authorjim says:

    Thank your for another peek into life in Sweden. Much of it sounds so familiar. Makes me wonder if all governments are missing a few cogs from their gears and a few links from their chains.

  4. Hope you continue to have good health…

  5. catnipoflife says:

    Hang in there, Bruce. Keep Buckster and Amber close at hand…purrr-r-r-r-r!

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