How I tackled life in Sweden as an Indian woman


 How I tackled life in Sweden as an Indian woman

 Vanitha Durai explains how she managed to get Indian women in Gothenburg to form a strong online community.

MY SWEDISH CAREER: The Local speaks with Vanitha Durai, an Indian Volvo Cars worker in Gothenburg who started a popular community for Indian women in Gothenburg.

From: The Local Sweden

So what do you do when you arrive in a foreign city and find yourself convinced that you’re not the only Indian housewife struggling to find something to do?

Well, if you’re Vanitha Durai, you simply create the group that you want to join.

And so the Indian Women in Gothenburg community was born, an online group that has flourished and now  hosts all kinds of events for its community of hundreds.

“I felt the need for a small group to discuss the difficulties of moving here, things like not having a job, or what it’s like to follow a spouse to Sweden,” she tells The Local.

“At first it was a kind of recreational thing, but then we started thinking how to expand it, and soon it became a place for people to find job-finding help, to have discussions, and to find things for their children.”

The group has since hosted events for Diwali Day, which marks the culmination of the week-long Hindu festival of lights, and summer camps for children.

Most recently, the group has hosted a flashmob event in a Gothenburg mall.

“The point of the flashmob was to celebrate the beauty of womanhood. Half of the women aren’t trained dancers, it was more a matter of accepting who we all are and sharing positive vibes,” she says.

Finding work for herself was another challenge that the 34-year-old tackled, eventually landing a job in business management with Volvo Cars.

Now in her fifth year in Sweden, Durai admits that it’s rarely an easy path when you’re looking for a career in Sweden.

“Of course you have a barrier with the language, that’s the main thing, and that isn’t helped that there aren’t many job opportunities,” she says.

“I think the main thing is you need to know a little bit of Swedish, enough to understand what’s going on, then also enough to express yourself in a way that people can understand.”

But her main tip, she says, is to really make the most of any interview opportunities.

“The interview is the place where you can really prove yourself. You have to use that opportunity to the fullest to prove that you can really do even more than what’s shown on your CV,” she says.

Of course, you have to adapt to life in Sweden too – which was an easy step for Durai, who originally hails form Chennai in southern India – some 7,500 kilometres from Gothenburg.

“The job culture is very welcoming here, but you have to get in – the entry part is the toughest step,” she says.

“But Sweden is a very good place to live and to bring up kids. The benefits are excellent and it’s a safe environment for the family.”

Indeed, the value placed on family life in Sweden is one of the things Durai highlights about Sweden in general.

“I feel the quality of life is good, you get a lot of time with the family, evenings, weekends, there is no pressure – you have your vacation,” she says.

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Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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