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'Swedes Are Quite Similar to the Chinese'
The Local ^ | Lisa Mikulski

Posted on 06/21/2014 11:20:03 AM PDT by nickcarraway

A Chinese woman in Gothenburg explains how Swedes and similar to her fellow countrymen back home, and dissects the three phases of learning a language as a translator.

Even though she admits she has packed her suitcase many times over the past few years, Xiaodi Cai is firmly rooted to Gothenburg and has been since 2011.

Armed with a media degree from London and a Swedish-born Chinese beau, she ploughed through Swedish For Immigrants (SFI), worked a stint at Volvo Cars, and then joined National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) as an Chinese Media Specialist.

The job allows her to follow her media-related interests as well as continue working as interpreter for the company - but the road hasn't been easy for the language specialist, especially when it came to the initial culture shock.

“At first I was very much myself. I was loud. I had opinions. I spoke without thinking. Then I realized I wasn’t appreciated," she explains.

"The second phase, I tried to shut down and keep myself quiet. I tried to hide myself and pretend I was someone I was not. But then I wasn’t happy either. That wasn’t the real me. You know, you can be unhappy not because you are necessarily challenged by others, but because you are challenged by yourself. Third phase, where I am now, I am confident to be myself but I also understand why people act in other ways.”

She also classified learning Swedish as a three-phase challenge.

"The first phase of my learning, I was so excited to speak and learn the language. I thought I knew everything. But then I found myself having difficulties. I couldn’t always understand what my colleagues were saying," she explains.

"I found myself having some trouble to understand important points at meetings. Then I became very shy and embarrassed. That was the second phase. Now at my third phase, I take more initiative. I can be more honest. At fika I will speak and my colleagues will ask if we should speak Swedish or change languages. I say, ‘Yes let’s keep to Swedish'."

Cai adds that there are many similarities between the Chinese and Swedish cultures. “Swedes can be very shy and quiet. They seem to be detached from strangers. Chinese people also tend to stand back a bit. They are very careful.”

The biggest challenge in moving to Gothenburg, she says, was the need to build her reputation from scratch. In London or Shanghai, she explains, her past qualifications would be enough to get her in the door.

"But in Sweden, what we have done or achieved in the past means zero. Here people have a different way of seeing things. So you have to persuade people to give you an opportunity to let you prove yourself. I think that is the most difficult part. It’s like trust. You can’t expect people to trust you in the first place."

Cai’s advice for other expats: “Be to be honest to yourself. No matter how you are not appreciated by other people you have to trust your gut feeling that this is you. You should keep your good qualities. Of course you keep yourself open for improvements, but don’t give up. Your own personality is the bright side of yourself.”

"I packed my suitcase many times. But in the end I didn’t give up.”

"Be grateful. Good things take time. It’s the challenges and adverse experiences that make you a stronger person. So no matter if you are experiencing difficulties … remember, it is a very good learning day for you. You have learned to keep your feet on the ground. Every day you are here you are learning. You are becoming a better you."


TOPICS: Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: china; sweden

1 posted on 06/21/2014 11:20:03 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
I've done a fair amount of traveling in Europe (but none in Sweden).I've also done some traveling in China.What I've learned about Chinese people as well as Europeans makes it very difficult for me to believe that the Chinese and Swedes have much in common at all.
2 posted on 06/21/2014 11:25:17 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Rat Party Policy:Lie,Deny,Refuse To Comply)
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To: nickcarraway

Bit of a slant to this story...
/s

(It’s a joke people!)


3 posted on 06/21/2014 11:28:54 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: nickcarraway
There is more female genital mutilation in Sweden than in China.

Swedish "men" import more muslims to rape the women and girls of their country.

4 posted on 06/21/2014 11:30:57 AM PDT by Dagnabitt (Amnesty is Treason. Its agents are Traitors.)
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To: Gay State Conservative; Dagnabitt

Completely different. Chinese people speak Chinese. Swedes speak English.


5 posted on 06/21/2014 11:32:01 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Swedes speak surrender in whatever language is needed.


6 posted on 06/21/2014 11:42:38 AM PDT by Dagnabitt (Amnesty is Treason. Its agents are Traitors.)
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To: nickcarraway

Read the story. This is a very intelligent woman.


7 posted on 06/21/2014 12:02:17 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie (The media must be defeated any way it can be done.)
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To: nickcarraway

I hope the Swedes are more honest than the Chinese.


8 posted on 06/21/2014 12:09:10 PM PDT by ansel12 ((Ted Cruz and Mike Lee-both of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Comm as Ginsberg's importance fades)
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To: nickcarraway

Ramen fondue???


9 posted on 06/21/2014 12:21:07 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (The new witchhunt: "Do you NOW, . . . or have you EVER , . . supported traditional marriage?")
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To: nickcarraway

I could see it.
I’ve never met two people more alike than my Chinese mother-in-law and my Irish grandmother. Honest to God.


10 posted on 06/21/2014 1:09:27 PM PDT by Ouchthatonehurt ("When you're going through hell, keep going." - Sir Winston Churchill)
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To: nickcarraway
I haven't tried to learn either language, but I think Chinese would be impossible for me because of its tones.

Swedish has the great merit of using an alphabet almost identical to the one English uses.

In 2012 I shared a train compartment in Europe for a few hours with another American (a Texan) and two young Swedish women who spoke excellent English. I think they were surprised at the intensity of our anti-Obama opinions. The Texan claimed that he was traveling around in search of a country to move to in case Obama was re-elected.

11 posted on 06/21/2014 3:50:44 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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