Thought of the Week: The Job Hunt Begins

2010-10-31. Published in Life in Gothenburg
by Nina

Perhaps from all my recent social adventures—going out with new friends or the amazing concept of fika or hitting the major tourist spots—I experienced a major reality check as an exchange student in this country the other day: I checked my bank account.

Like many international graduate students, I am set to stay in Sweden for a maximum total of two years. Between the costs of renting my flat, buying books, feeding myself, and feeding my morale (drinking), I also must have enough in the bank to renew my visa again around April. Hence, after a nail-biting experience at my computer screen, I came to the startling conclusion that I needed to focus on finding a job now.

Easier said than done. In the archives of my little laptop just last week, I had several pre-made versions of CVs that I was planning to send out to different companies and laboratories in Gothenburg when my roommate’s boyfriend walked by. Imagine my surprise when he told me that Swedish CVs are different than American ones. That sometimes they include pictures, different rearrangement, and might require Swedish copies. And it was then I realized why all my classmates were stressing out about the job front…

Once assured that I would receive his help with converting my CV (and, of course, vise versa, because what Swede couldn’t use a English-perfect CV of their own?), I asked my classmates how they were planning to cope with money problems. Here are a couple of their answers:

  • Coffee. Alcohol. Apply to cafes and bars and pray.

  • Buy bulk food and eat/drink in. After doing my own finances just yesterday, I can attest to how valid this option really is.

  • Learn how to read on a computer screen and use the electronic copies for schoolbooks. No printing, no shipping fees—just a nice, long-term stigmatism.

  • Sell blood.

  • Au Pair. Babysit. Find someone who has kids, dogs, cats, fish, old parents, whatever, and care for them.

  • Teach English/Spanish/French/insert native language here.

  • Forgo getting a cell phone (!!!)

  • Bake sale.

  • Selling All Stars bought in Canada on

I can tell, this is going to be a long march. (Anyone need some O+?)