You are probably sitting at home and watching things unfold in The States with wide-eyed disbelief and wondering at the extent of racism being displayed in public spaces. Let me disabuse you. Institutionalized and systemic racism exists everywhere. Systematic discrimination has become normalized to varying degrees everywhere. In many countries, especially those in Western Europe and Scandinavia, it is not visible to the naked eye, hence it is harder to identify and crack down upon. It is best understood as an invisible wall coupled with a reinforced glass ceiling that you cannot pin down. But it is there, everpresent and we have run into it more times than we care to admit.
I came to Sweden around five years ago. This country has given me immense opportunities to build myself into what I have become and I am immensely grateful to the country, its people and most importantly to God. One thing that I am disappointed about myself a lot is that by now, I really should have learned the language and be fluent in it but I haven’t. I am an intermediate level speaker of the language for now. From my short experience here, I have few thoughts to share to those thinking of studying and working abroad specifically in Scandinavia.
I am learning a new skill this summer aka driving (don’t ask me why it has taken me so long to learn driving) and I have never felt more of a fool at something like I have these days. It reminded me of this quote by Mortimer Adler in How to Read a Book on how learning a new skill (driving for me and skiing in his example) can make you feel like a fool: