Hacking a social life in Europe — but I stay in Sweden

Simeon Fadahunsi
4 min readJul 14


Sweden was recently tagged as one of the hardest places to make a local friend by InterNations again in 2023 (*side eye*).

My friend mentioned this while we spoke last week and then goes ahead to ask me the same questions she always brings up most times when we talk on Sweden: What are you even doing in Sweden?

Honestly I can understand why the stats are like that but it is what it is.

It’s almost three years in Sweden and I must say I know and have really amazing people in my corner and I am still learning to be better as the days go. However I have some tips that made it easier for me.

Redefining what you know

I have come to understand that environments are different and you cannot expect social cues to be the same everywhere. Sweden has a lot of statistics on things like loneliness, people distancing from each other, individualism and many more and they might be true but they are always abnormalities in surveys.

Few months in Sweden, I had to redefine what exciting and fun could become and I think that made me more happy and reducing expectations from what I was used to from Nigeria also.

Joining in on activities or groups

You get to experience a better life by being more involved anywhere. If you decide to sit on the sidelines then you are not part of the inside jokes that happen on the field. While in School, I joined an association called HINT that organised events for International students and supported them during their first weeks in school. Volunteering also in church and other events or programs makes it easy.

I think the system rewards you for helping the system. If you decide it’s not your business then that’s on you

Go outside

This might sound easy but it is not.

I remember my first weeks here, I went out to as many events I could find because I need I had to know more people and the only way I thought then was by attending events.

With schooling, they are always different kinds of these events being organised for different causes or reason.

If you come to think of it, most of the people you know will be as a result of family, leveraged network (like friends of family, friends of friends), school or environment (neighbours, classmates), activities (including hobbies and shared interests) and work.

But then you have almost none of these when you move countries and that in itself is already a difficult situation.

Doing as many things as possible is one easy fix. Then you can think of it as a funnel with different kinds of people at the top that you can now weed out thereby having the high quality ones stay at the bottom of the funnel.

Move prepared

These thing take time and if you don’t spend time on something nothing happens.

I don’t believe in things just happening without you putting some effort or work into it.

I attend Hillsong now and I found the church before I moved here. I saw the association I joined weeks after starting school first months before resumption.

I read a lot of students experiences from study in Sweden’s website just to get ready.

Before I moved to my new city, I went on to facebook to check on what they do, the region’s website to read and checked out local businesses and activities, the transportation lines e.t.c

It doesn’t always work out sometimes like you imagined it but at least you don’t sit there waiting on magic happening.

Making the first move

Yeah you are the ones that is trying to increase your network so prepare to make the first move all the time.

Yes, it is very awkward sometimes but sometimes it works out fine.

I remember one of the first parties I went to where I met a couple of people and then few days after waved at one of them and got a empty face reaction that literally said “Why are you waving”.

Ouff, that actually did hurt.

In summary, don’t leave meeting people and growing your networks to chance and it would likely not happen here. You have to work for it.

If you have more tips, be sure to leave a comment.

If you would like to connect, you can do so via Linkedin, Instagram or Twitter on @ allofsimeon.



Simeon Fadahunsi

Experience Designer | Writing to see if there are people out there thinking in the same manner.