Monthly archives: September 2013

(Mis)Adventures in Swedish Laundry

“I’ve found that Americans are the best in the world when it comes to making messes, so we’ve been forced to invent ways to adequately clean them up.” This theory was recently presented to me by one of my American friends here in Gothenburg, and I find myself generally agreeing with this statement. Americans are spoiled with hundreds of different viable options for cleaning products, whereas Swedes tend to have a smaller selection for its population of 9.5 million people. The demand for some of the more extraneous consumer products is typically minimal. This normally doesn’t bother me at all, but occasionally I find myself feeling petulant and realize that I’m missing something sort of stupid, like a certain type of deodorant or dryer sheets, which don’t even exist in Sweden as far as I can tell.

Do these exist in Sweden? I couldn’t find them, so I brought back my own after Christmas. Photo: B. Seward.


Laundry and dryer sheets aren’t even things that I ever considered to stop and think about when I made the decision to move here. However, “cleanliness is next to godliness”, and there’s a decent chance that the Swedish system is different than what you’re accustomed to if you’re coming from a non-Scandinavian country. I know that the laundry system here has certainly been a significant – yet easily manageable – change for me.

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Student Housing Tips

I’m convinced that it takes two years to figure out and begin to enjoy the manner in which Swedish society operates. After a trial year of discovering the intricacies of Swedish banks, immigration offices, personal numbers, housing queues, etc., I’m finally ready to act upon some of the lessons learned. But just because I understand how the system works now doesn’t mean that I acted soon enough to reap the benefits. Yes, I’m going to be talking about housing again.

My stubbornness and (false?) sense of independence were my greatest weaknesses in procuring a place to live for this fall. I tend to sometimes think that I’m capable of figuring things out on my own, even when multiple people advise me otherwise. Thankfully I ended up getting lucky and finding a nice, affordable place after an intense two week search, but things could have very easily gone the other way. Hopefully I’ll be able to help other incoming students avoid a few of the missteps that I made with regards to student housing (or lack thereof) here in Sweden.

The view from my new apartment. Photo by Brett Seward.

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