4 things you shouldn't miss as an au pair in Sweden
Sweden is a dynamic and beautiful country with a cool, laidback culture and a great mix of wild pristine nature and trendy cosmopolitan cities. It's a corner of Europe that definitely will make for a truly interesting au pair stay.
But in addition to these "big benefits", there are also some uniquely Swedish experiences you can have on a smaller scale. Here are some of our favourites:
1. Have a “fika”
Swedish people love their fika. A “fika” is a concept in the Swedish culture which basically means to have coffee, usually together with something sweet such as a cinnamon bun or pie. It is pronounced fee-ka, (knowing how to pronounce this word will give you major points in any Swede's outlook).
Fika offers a nice way to get to know someone new with the simple shared pleasure of enjoying good coffee and tasty sweets together. If it works out, you have a new friend, and if doesn't you can wrap things up in an hour or less. When the weather offers the opportunity, a popular choice is to take you fika outside and enjoy the fresh air.
2. Go crayfish fishing (usually followed by a crayfish party)
If you have the pleasure to be in Sweden during August, this is definitely something you should try. Crayfishing is an old Swedish tradition that has been around since the Viking era.
Since crayfishs are night animals, you usually do the crayfishing at night or right at dawn, since they are most active then. Fortunately, the summer nights in Scandinavia never get truly dark, so even deep in the night it still is quite light outside. The season premiere for crayfishing in Sweden is usually after the first Wednesday in August. Naturally, August is also the month for crayfish parties. These are usually held outside and involve gathering with friends and family and eating crayfish along with other complementary dishes, such as cheese pie.
3. Visit the ice hotel
If you like most people were completely sold on the movie “Frozen”, you are in for a treat: Sweden has a hotel made completely of ice. Every March, ice from the Torne river is taken to a production hall that holds about 10.000 tons of ice and snow. The ice is then used to build a solid foundation and the whole area of the hotel is about 5,500 square meters. There is also a snow church together with the ice hotel. About 140 couples marry there each year before the ice melts with the arrival of spring. Staying at the hotel is quite expensive, but if you happen to be close to Kiruna, Sweden's most northerly city where the hotel is located, you can take a day tour there.
4. Go to Skansen
Skansen is the world's oldest outdoor museum and shows you Sweden's history – the traditions, work and everyday life of people back before modernization. It is located in Stockholm. This outdoor museum changes according to the seasons, giving it a natural and unique feeling. Skansen also offers an opportunity to see Nordic wild animals. The animals are kept in in a large area belonging to their natural habitat, so it is not always you see them, however this makes the experience much more genuine. There is also a part of the museum which has cats and sometimes kittens. During the summer months it is tradition for small children to go there and give their pacifiers to the kittens once they are too old for them.
Working as an au pair abroad offers you a great opportunity to become a citizen of the world and gain new experiences, so why not take a chance? The world is your oyster. "Lycka till!" (Good luck)
This article was written by Malin from StudentJob Sweden. If you wish to read more about Swedish students lives and thoughts, feel free to visit our blog at studentjob.se/blog. To read more about working life in Sweden and get updates you can register at our website studentjob.se!