Tag Archives: cultural awareness

Forget about the past – or?

Is the future more important to Swedes than the past? We make plans and dream about what we will do in the future. Travel, new house … The past however is … in the past. What do we know about precedent generations for example? How much can the general Swede tell about the great grandparents – their maiden names, where they were born, which schools they attended; what a day in their young lives looked like? In other cultures this might be unthinkable. It´s not that we don´t care about family; we do; but we might not necessarily spend a lot of time together. It could be the distance, but also I think full time working mothers and fathers leave less time to share with extended family. Another possible reason is that many families have lived in Sweden for numerous generations – it´s not a big deal; no need to search for the roots.

I can only hope that we are all also taking time to enjoy the present. Are you?

Swedish small talk – or big. #14

Want to adopt Swedish culture? Talk about the weather.
Want to adopt Swedish culture? Talk about the weather.

What about it?  – read on here!

Cultural parenting – of course! But which cultures?

Parenting styles can vary from family to family. But there are also differences between countries, or should I say cultures. We appreciate different values, which are likely to impact our upbringing of the children. Sometimes they are easily spotted, sometimes they are not. Concept of time for instance is a good example. Coming from a culture where being on time is considered important and a courtesy, I found it annoying at times as a foreign student working in groups with others that were happily an hour late for study meetings. No surprise that we soon found out that Germans and Swedes worked well together!

As always, awareness of the values and set of rules can lead to a better understanding, and less annoyance; tolerance. In the case of time, I simply learnt to agree on another time with the students I knew would be – in my world – an hour late.

Being a parent or not; moving into a new culture you will be exposed to the impact of cultural differences. As a parent a playground is a perfect location for observation and “study”. It´s fascinating that you often can tell from the parents’ responses to their children’s behavior from which country they are. I have encountered societies where one believes that adults should not interfere when children are “playing”. In the beginning I just assumed they did not care; now I hope they care but still want the kids to solve problems on their own. I have also experienced children being constantly corrected and taught. Swedes are normally somewhere in between these two parenting styles; of course, I would like to add with a touch of irony– after all we are the land of “lagom” (just enough) and “mellan” (in the middle).

There are also differences when it comes to physical punishment (illegal in Sweden) and scolding in public. Some people want other parents to know they are dealing with the matter, and some don´t.

Another, always hot, topic is whether it is considered acceptable for a parent to deal with someone else’s child.

I do believe that the culture you are currently living in influences your parenting. It is a way of fitting in, of accepting the hosting society but also grabbing the good stuff!

It is interesting once you start thinking in terms of cultural parenting. What are the cornerstones of your culture/-s when it comes to raising children? Which are the strengths? Have you added anything from your host culture?

Perhaps you are even a slightly different parent in another location! And by that I am not referring to the newly relocated, stressed and culture shocked parent …

Cultural awareness even for the young

Presenting some photos from the playgroup activity a few weeks back! The children made a gingerbread creation for the annual exhibition/competition at Kulturhuset Fyren in Kungsbacka. Concentration and creativity, colors and craft! Multiculture and everyone being different was decided on to be the theme – as you can surely see! Teaching children about different cultures is key to tolerance and understanding. We all need to be aware of that people are different, and that that is ok! We do not have to accept their point of views, but understand that there are different views. And look at the picture below – amazing result!

different people, different nationalities, different cultures
we´re all different!

 more pictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/32989978@N03/8232259036/in/set-72157632137461576/

Moving/returning to Sweden? Flytta till Sverige?

Cultural awareness – a great way to start improving our perception of different cultures is to actually be aware of our own culture. We think we are, but posing that question might not give instant replies. Think about it – what is typical in your culture?

Here is a link to an article on Swedish culture – 20 Swedish things you are bound to encounter in Sweden! Good to know if you are planning to move here, if you already live here as a foreigner/expat/new immigrant, or if you are planning to repatriate to Sweden. Or if you are Swedish, living abroad and want a good laugh or reminder, or even just Swedish in Sweden (if you are – make a test: before you open the article; list 20). Feel free to leave a comment if you want to add to the list!

http://www.thelocal.se/followsweden/article/20-things-to-know-before-moving-to-Sweden/#typical Swedish things!)

Att vara medveten om olika kulturer är värdefullt; både för oss själva som för andra. Är man kulturellt kompetent besitter man förmågan att interagera med människor från olika kulturer. Ett bra sätt att öka sin kompetens är att fundera över sin egen kultur. Vad är det som är svenskt egentligen? Frågan är inte alltid lätt; ofta är det så självklart att vi inte ens reflekterar över det. Det finns några givna som alltid dyker upp men försök komma på fler. Nedan följer en länk till en artikel, på engelska, som listar 20 typiskt svenska företeelser. Hur många prickade du in på din egen lista? Har du några fler förslag så kommentera gärna!


Om du ska flytta utomlands kan det vara kul att ha en liknande lista dels att jämföra med den nya kulturen, dels att dela med sig av då folk undrar hur det är i Sverige!