Friday, December 29, 2006

Sweden is not a dream land

Sweden is not a country you should have a big expectation about making money and having a good job.
When i came to Sweden i thought as usual like others from Africa that it was going to be a wonderful land with so much to explore and acquire.I came here to further my education with help from my country and i knew that i will have a constant flow of income from home. I also knew i will get a job the next day i get up from bed in Sweden if i just looked around.

However things did not turn out the way i thought. In Sweden it was difficult to get a job the next day as i had earlier thought. I got lucky one day to get a job as an advertisement newspaper distributor on weekends known in Swedish as Direktreklam in Swedish. This is a job for kids in Sweden to have pocket money.

I worked my ass in the cold winters on week ends and pushed my trolley for very long distances in the cold winters. I almost thought of going back to Cameroon someday when i had distributed the papers in the wrong district. I had to start all over.

I thought of the sun down there at home , hot spicy food and my family said to myself i have to get my degree and see what life hold for me. I am in Sweden pushing a trolley in winter for more that six hours in a day to be paid 120kr about 12 euro. You cannot imagine that is in Europe but it is even worse in other countries in Europe.

However there are many positive sides of Sweden as well, you need to stay positive about life and know what you want to be in future but do not expect to much when you are in Sweden.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How to obtain a Swedish Driving Licence.

To make things easy for you, here are the answers of some of your major questions on driving in Sweden.

Do I need an International Licence?
No. Anyone driving a motor vehicle in Sweden must hold a valid national (e.g. Cameroonian) driving licence. In other words, an international driving permit is not enough on its own. You can drive 12 months here on your Cameroonian licence.

Can I swap my Cameroonianor any other country's driving licence for a Swedish one?
No. Only those who hold a valid licence from an EEA country (=Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Germany, France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Austria etc) can directly swap their licence.

What if I just drive more than a year on the Cameroonian licence?
I will advice you not try it. It will cost you if you are caught and you may end up paying a huge fine or going to jail. And the phrase “I didn’t know that is was like that here” “i have been here for just a few months” won’t work with the police! Note that it will also annul the car insurance if you are driving and if you have an accident. It’s not worth a try!!

How do I get a Swedish licence?
Well, it’s fairly straightforward, if somewhat expensive. There are three tests that you must pass to obtain a Swedish driving license:

(1) the slippery road test (halkbana),

(2) the written theory test, and

(3) the driving test.

These tests must be taken in the order that they appear and, contrary to what you may have heard, it is possible to pass each test the first time around--even if you don’t speak Swedish!

Details of the forms needed are available here. Visit Vägverkets webpage in English. Forms for application

Körkörtstillstånd (driving permit)
The first step before getting your license is to apply for permission to practice driving. Call Vägverket and ask them to send you an application that will allow you to practice driving with your spouse, partner, or friend. Once you have written permission to practice, you must buy a green “övningskörning” (practice driving) sticker from a petrol station and place it on the back of your car whenever you are driving. In the back of the pamphlet you receive from Vägverket is a card that must be signed by your instructor and stamped by the slippery road test facility. Road test

Do I need a driving school?
You don’t have to attend a driving school, but doing so is highly recommended since getting a Swedish driving license is a very complicated procedure. You are not required to take any courses at a driving school as long as you have someone who can be your "private instructor" (handledare) who has had a Swedish license for more than 5 years, but it is recommended. Why? Well, many driving schools offer theory courses (mostly in Swedish) and textbooks, pre-tests, and driving lessons (in English). Call around to compare costs and to see what they have to offer in English. For a list of all driving schools approved by the National Association of Swedish Driving Schools, see the website at Sveriges Trafikskolors Riksförbund. The school will also prepare you for the slippery road, theory, and driving tests. Here is some information about each test:

Halkbana: (slippery road testing)

This course takes about 4 hours for driving school students and 4½ hours for private students. The training consists of both theory and practical exercises in driving in slippery or hazardous road conditions. You'll receive a booklet in the mail after you've received an appointment, detailing the different exercises. Your task will be to show the driving inspector that you know how to handle your car on an icy road. You will be asked, for example, to step on your brakes going 80-100 kilometres per hour and then regain control of your car. Active participation, following the given instructions, completing the exercises at the required speeds and not abusing the vehicles is basically all that's required to pass the training. Your successfully-completed training will remain valid for two years. You will not receive any certificate or other paperwork; rather, they inform Vägverket that you have completed the training and it is noted in their computers. If you don't understand Swedish well, you'll need to arrange to bring your own interpreter with you.

Theory test
The theory test is computerised and consists of 70 questions. Of these, 65 are 'counted' and you must get 52 right. You don’t need to be computer literate to take this test, and you can request it in English. The test focuses on the practical points of driving. In preparing for the theory test, you must purchase a textbook and take about 14 pre-tests. Textbooks in English are available. Most schools are currently translating the new pre-tests into English. After you have passed all the pre-tests, the school will then schedule a time for you to take the theory test at Vägverket. You can obtain "Passing Your Driving Test" from Sveriges Trafikskolors Riksförbund or from your driving school. You can also study online and even take practice tests (which are very similar to the real thing!) at

Driving test
The driving test takes around 45 minutes. Even if you have many years of driving experience, it is still a good idea to drive with an instructor from a driving school before taking the final driving test. Why? Because Vägverket’s inspectors have high standards, and they will expect you to follow certain rules. The driving instructors know exactly what the inspectors will be looking for during the test and can thus prepare you in advance. The instructors will also teach you how to perform three additional mini-tests relating to your car: an engine check, an inside car check, and a light check (you will be asked to perform one of these three tests before your final driving test begins). After you have driven once or maybe several times with an instructor and have demonstrated that you are ready to take the final driving test, the school will then schedule a test time at Vägverket. Ask your instructor to go with you during the final test to translate if necessary.

What does it cost?
What can I say, it’s EXPENSIVE! There are fees along every step of this process. There are separate costs for your driving permit, the eye examination required for the driving permit, your theory study materials, the theory test, the driving test, the manufacturing of your driver's license, the slippery road training, hire of car for the halkbana test, driving lessons, use of a double-control car for the driving test and the photos for your license. Expect to pay at least 5000 Sek and more (and even more depending on if and how many driving lessons you take) for the whole process.

Where can I find schools etc?
The telephone books list plenty of driving schools under the heading "Trafikskolor". Slippery Road Test locations: Look for "Halkbanor" or "trafikövningsplatser" in the yellow pagesGula sidornaor for a slippery road test range nearest you. For a complete list of all of Vägverkets testing locations, see Vägverkets homepage.

Cars are annually tested for roadworthy at Bilprovning. These tests are compulsory. You can book a time on the internet, but allow plenty of time ahead to make an appointment for the test, which takes around 20 minutes or so to complete. It covers the exhaust system, the braking system, the front and rear suspension, tyres and steering system, and wheel housings to check, headlights, indicators, front and rear lights, wipers, horn and rear view mirrors. The inspection fee for a car is currently 300 SEK. If the car is failed, the re-inspection fee is 200 SEK.

How to care for your car in winter
Be certain to wash your car regularly, including an underneath wash in winter, to minimise rust development. The rust increases in proportion to the amount of salt sprayed on snow/ice covered roads.

When you have washed your car in winter, beware of locking it when the temperature goes down, i.e. do NOT lock it the same night as washed if it is outside. The locks will be sure to freeze!

Carry and use lock oil in winter. If the locks have frozen due to weather changes (wet and warm and suddenly icy cold the same day) you can unfreeze them by using a cigarette lighter to warm the key and/or a plastic bag of hot water on the door lock.

Cars are commonly 'plugged in', during winter to keep the motor warm to start in the morning!

It’s common to change the car tyres over to studded winter ones on Alla helgons(public holiday) weekend and back to summer tyres over Easter weekend. They have to be changed by December 1st and May 1st.

Speed Limits are posted everywhere. They are medium size red circles with a yellow background and black numbers. 50 kph (30 mph) in built-up areas, 70 kph (44 mph) or 90 kph (56 mph) outside built-up areas, and 110 kph (68 mph) on highways (though this is reduced to 90 kph near major towns). Cars towing a trailer are limited to 80 kph (50 mph).
If you speed in Sweden, you risk a heavy fine and maybe even losing your driving license. To see a current scale of fines, check out Trafikjuristen. For serious speed offences, as well as having your licence withdrawn, you will face the prospect of a jail term and/or be subject to a fine that equals 40-60 “dagsböter”. Dagsböter is dependent on your income, with one dagsbot equalling anything from 30 to 100 SEK.
Moose, deer etc Sweden is 54% forest, so there are a lot of "Animal" warning signs posted. These signs must be taken seriously. You should be extra careful when driving around sunset and dawn. Samples of some common road signs can be seen here.

You can see these at the AWC website Important road signs. These road signs are scanned in from the pamphlet "Swedish road signs, signals, road marking and signals by policemen" published by Vägverket. You can also obtain the pamphlet from them or from your nearest driving school or you can view the pdf file at their website.

Vägverket has a great animation page in English that clearly demonstrates rules for things like cyclists, pedestrian traffic, roundabouts, stopping and parking and vehicle lighting. Check it out here.

Sweden's drinking and driving laws are quite strict and the police are able to stop you at any time and give a driver a breathalyser test. Driving with a blood alcohol limit over 0.02% can mean a gaol sentence. So the limit is effectively zero. The bottom line is Do Not Drink and Drive.

Whenever you are sitting in a car, you must use a seat belt. Children under the age of seven must sit in a child safety seat. All other children must use a seatbelt. It is forbidden to use a back facing child safety seat in the front seat of a car that has a passenger side airbag.

It is the law in Sweden that you have to be seen when you are driving. All vehicles must drive with at least dimmed headlights, always day and night.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dating a Swedish Girl

I know many guys who are always complaining that having a date or even contact with a Swedish girl is difficult. As a matter of fact I think it is wrong. Swedish girls are just like any other girls or women in the world who want to meet interesting and charming men. It is the feeling and respect for the girl that really counts and not how much money you got nor how expensive clothes you wear.

A few things though are necessary to consider. As a matter of fact the tips I give below are based on my expereinces here, interviews and vibes from friends. I am going to be straight to the point. If you really want to meet someone here then you have to consider these things.

In short:
Never patronise the girl or put her down. If you do, you are probably sure not see her around again. Why would she put up with that?
Sweden is probably the most clean country in the world, also the people. Basic hygiene is a must .

Be real. Be proud of where you come from and who you are. If that is not good enough for a girl - is she really good enough for you?
There is equality between men and women in Sweden: When you want to meet a girl then always keep that in mind. Men are not superior in Sweden as they might mistakenly be in the social structures of other parts of the world. I personally think women are the most amazing and beautiful creatures in the universe.

Basic hygiene: Hey guys, this is common sense and my mum always told me to smell good when you wanna meet a girl. Smell good, wear clean clothes and good shoes. You should have some fresh clothes and some deodorant. To avoid an embarrasment (and to secure a second date) buy one today and they cost nothing.

Tell no lies: I have had friends who think pretending they are from USA, UK, Jamiaca, France etc will attract a girl to them. Sometimes guys ridicule themselves because they say they are from USA and they cannot even speak basic English or speak with a real accent. It does not work. If you are from China, Cameroon, Nigeria, Indonesia, India just say it and stop constructing stories that will not help you. It does not really matter to a lot of girls here -all they care about is you and what you really stand for. And that you are not a liar. "Good liars should have good memories". Watch out guys and girls.

Be yourself also means relax and do not try to play a comedy of being somone else. Ask your self for how long you can play your comedy. There comes a day that you have to account for all that. Just relax and be yourself. Anybody who loves you should love who you for who you are. One thing you can keep in mind though is that in Sweden people do not really talk loudly to each other in conversations and they usually talk one at the time. Listen as much or more than you talk!

As you respect your own country and culture you should also show respect for hers. If she is Swedish - do not critisize Sweden a lot as a lot of foreigners here do. Maybe you think people are more sociable in your country and so forth, but keep the negative thoughts of Sweden to yourself for a while. What would you think if she would start talking badly about Africa or wherever you come from?

Be a man and be confident. It is normal to have sweaty palms, though. During my first date with my wife I was lucky it was in winter so my hands where cold and the sweat was inside but brothers, was I nervous and took some deep breaths to relax. Remember - women are also nervous when they meet someone for the first time.
Where does one meet a girl in Sweden? Well, where do you meet a girl in your country?
The most usual places here are through friends, at your workplace, in the club or through the internet.
I hope my dating guide helps you to double your dating in Sweden.

Good luck and happy dating!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Must know if you want to study Sweden

Before i came to Sweden , I knew little about the educational system and standards. The only thing i knew about education in Sweden was that it was free for all immigrant students. That really boasted my willingness to further my studies in Sweden .I started asking myself who pays for our education? The answer was simple and it is the tax payers money. Sweden has one of the highest income tax in the world and that is why you as a foreign student can study in Sweden and only buy your books and pay you student association fee.

It is very interesting to see that in many universities in Sweden the programs are professionally oriented and on graduation you know where and what kind of job to look for.
I am saying this because i do not see why one should study a subject like history, geography, literature etc. in a university. Back in my country the single subject programs a very many in the universities and students graduate and cannot answer a simple question of what is your profession?

I am very impressed with the Swedish program anyway that is why they are amongst the top in the world when it comes to literacy and quality of life. I think students from developing countries who do not have the means to study in USA or England should apply to Sweden universities. If you have read this article and you are interested to study in Sweden ,you should consider the following things:-
  • The truth is, it is free but it is not really cheap to live in Sweden.
  • You have to really prepare yourself financially and do not think you can get a job to support your studies. That is far-fetch in Sweden as a foreign student. You can be lucky to get some shit job that the swedes do not want to do.
  • You have the right to work in Sweden when you are a student. If your stay is more than one year you will can get a social security number at the tax office (Skatteverket). Otherwise you will get a temporal number you can use to apply for jobs.
  • Scholarships are far fetched for immigrant students and if you are studying for a doctorate program you can get financial aid for your research if you apply
  • Student loans and allowance are only for Swedish students and immigrants that have a permanent resident permit in Sweden you fall in this category then, you can have the right to about 7000 to 8000 Swedish kronor a month.
  • You will always get a place to stay if you got money . Try to contact somebody from your home country or friend who lives in that town you are to go to.
  • The University authorities will always help you and you have to ask the right questions to get the right help.
  • Take advantage of open days in the university or company presentation days and make some good contacts and learn more.
  • Take the beginners Swedish language course. It is going to be helpful for you.

Here is a follow up of this post on the .Oppptunities after studying in Sweden

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Låt oss vara! Jag älskar vinter och mörkret

Jag kan inte bra svenska men jag är bestämt att lära mig för det är ett bra språk.Jag har träffat många svenskar och dem frågar mig alltid ,
När ska du gå tillbaka till dit land?
Varför kom du till Sverige från Afrika?
Jag ska börja att svara dem som vill alltid fråga oss från andra länder när ska vi gå tillbaka till våra hemland. Jag vet inte om dem vill ge mig en ny planering för mitt liv eller resa . Man behöver inte fråga oss när ska ni gå tillbacka.

De som kommer från andra EU länder fick inte den här frågan.För de som vill veta varfor så lång till Sverige , dem kan fråga andra svenska varfor dem vill resa till Thailand som är också lång borta.

Jag kom till Sverige för jag älskade mörkret och lång vinter, Vi har inte vinter i mitt land men jag vill vara med i kallt och snö. Det är inte konstig. Det är någon som älskar mörk och lång vinter och det är någon som älskar solen. Det spelar ingen roll för det är samma värld.

Vi vill alla ha samma sak

Jag kan inte förstå varfor några personer är rasist eller nazist . Jag ha tur att någon ha aldrig varit rasist mot mig men jag vet att det kommer. Några folk tror att de är högre än andra folket från andra länder. De vill bara lägga ner andra folk för att känna sig bra och trygga.De som är rasist är rädd, omogen och vet inte vad liv betyder. Om du är frustrerad med någon ,varfor bara kolla på deras färg? Livet är vacker för att det finns färg i hela världen. Du kan inte springa från en del av livet. Om du är så rädd , kolla på dig själv och tänker vad du behöver i livet för att göra dig glad.
Jag tror att det kosta ingeting att vara snälla mot alla men det kosta mycket för att vara elak mot andra.Det finns ingen högre människor på jorden. Vi vill alla ha samma sak. vi ha karlek, kompisar, förståelse, äter mat, skratta, älskar vår fru och barn och går till jobbet på morgonen.
Alla de här är vad alla folket vill ha eller göra i hela världen. Livet är underbart att leva.
Om du ta din tid att vara rasist mot andra eller misshandla din fru och barnen sluta idag ! och försök ha färg i ditt liv som kan göra dig glad och snäll .Om du inte kan göra dig det är bättre du gå till ett sjukhus idag.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sugar and Coffee in Sweden(Fika)

Sugar is sweet and coffee is dark because it has been roasted. What is this thing of "Fika" in Sweden where one has to eat a sugary substances with coffee. Is it really necessary to eat all that sugar with coffee? Every time I fika, I feel really bad afterwards because of to much sugar and coffee in my body. Maybe you share my opinion and may be not. I think the Swedish people should start looking to replace their famous fika with something that is healthy and good. Eating sugar and dark coffee. What is the pleasure? I propose a good sandwich and a drink or juice. What everybody does is not always right. Who even started this trend?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sweet in winter and bitter in summer

I was missing the long dark nights and cold winter. Now is has come again. What a great feeling of the long nights and cold weather outside. Anyway that will not stop me from from eating meatballs with cooked potatoes. I just have to sit indoors and watch the snow fall and say to myself "wow those meatballs are really good." That is why i say Sweden is sweet in winter and bitter in summer. To know the bitter aspect of summer you just have to use your tongue.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sweden is sweet

Who say sweden is not sweet? I am a invandrare ( immigrant in swedish).Do not sit there and be complaining. Get up and enjoy the best of it.