Writing for Expats, in Sweden
By Sarah Brown
Hayu Hamemayu, a journalist who has worked in countries around the world, writes as a blogger for The Newbie Guide to Sweden. Having lived in Sweden for nearly four years she said, “I try to focus on the topics that matter most for the expats in Sweden, so they will find the stories relatable.”
Expats are people who live outside their native country. Sweden is often ranked as one of the most attractive countries in the world for these long-term travellers, in part due to its international companies and natural beauty, according to Savage. Hamemayu’s work reflects what makes Sweden so popular to expats, having published stories called Autumn Best Spots in Lund, which features places around her Swedish homebase that she finds enchanting.
Sweden is a country made up of twenty one counties, and most of the 10, 202,491 people live in the warmer southern region. As of 2018, 57.7% of Swedes belonged to the Church of Sweden, 88% of the population live in urban areas, and 80.9% of its inhabitants are Swedish, according to the CIA World Factbook. This is a country now facing the natural conflicts created by mixing cultures and beliefs. Immigration in Sweden has been a hot topic in digital media, with opinions growing more polarizing over the years, according to Rooseval and Widholm.
The Newbie Guide to Sweden projects a positive relationship between Swedes and immigrants. Socializing in Sweden, a story by blog contributor Neha Sharma, said that “People in Sweden warmly welcome everyone coming to their country, regardless of their cultural and religious backgrounds…” Sharma noted that this is the mindset Swedes share, leading to “many social and vocational training programs… where they encourage cultural diversity and act as platforms for binding immigrants to Swedish culture and society.”
Hamemayu commented on her relationship with this topic while addressing the impact she wants her writing to have. “I don’t have a certain agenda when writing, to be honest. I write because it defines who I am. But, in the time of hatred and ignorance like we have today, we can all use a good story. A story that breaks stereotypes and offers alternative voices. So if people can learn about ‘the other’ from my writings, at least from how they view my self as the author (Asian-Muslim-woman) that would be a milestone,” Hamemayu said.