Every country is home to different languages, cultures, conventions, and beliefs. The contrast between countries may vary drastically to the point that things which are socially unacceptable in your native country might be highly appreciated in another. So, when you have packed up your bags for a foreign travel, make sure you have done your homework.
Scandinavian countries are among the most popular and naturally bestowed countries in the world. With a rich history and enticing Norse mythology, these countries have maintained their standards as high as they ever were. Thus, a trip to any of these countries is worth the money you spend.
Among many Scandinavian countries, Sweden is among the most popular ones for travel. This nation is composed of thousands of inland lakes and coastal islands marked by a huge expanse of glaciated mountains and boreal forests. Here you will find everything—from royal palaces to advanced infrastructure. We repeat: here you will find everything.
In case your itinerary includes Sweden, then hold your horses a bit and get on the Internet. You cannot visit this amazing nation without a background check. This will help you minimise cultural shocks and prevent awkward moments from embarrassing the hell out of you.
Here are 8 things you must not do while traveling to Sweden:
1. Not All Swedes know English
Most travellers rely too much on the ubiquity of English, but you know very well, there are places where this seemingly omnipresent language has failed to effectively permeate. One such place is Sweden.
English is not a predominant language among Swedes. While many are well-versed with English, you will most likely encounter natives who do not speak English. Since the inflow of English-speaking tourists is huge, natives have learned quite a few basic words to interact, but do not assume that they have become masters. Be slow and polite while communicating.
The best way to handle this problem appropriately is by getting a good English-Swedish language guide. Learn a few basic Swedish words before leaving for Sweden. Just do not go there and bombard the natives with all that flawless and grandiloquent English you have forced into your mouth—you will get a pale response.
2. Talk less and say what you have to say
Swedes are pretty direct in their communication, and every word they say carries meaning. You will rarely hear Swedes people exchange social pleasantries or engage in small talk; so do not go out there to fill in the void. Talk less and be more direct in what you have to say.
3. Mind the Body Language
Swedes people mind overly animated body language. We, non-Scandinavians, become too much excited at times and use way too many gestures than actually needed. This excitement causes us to become a bit loud, and this affects those around us. Swedes people hate anything of this sort. They will immediately ask you to tone down, and you will obviously be left embarrassed.
In case you do know when you are going the wrong way, you will notice Swedes looking at you weirdly or evading you at times.Take these cues and mend your body language. If you cannot, do not come to this country.
4. You dare not educate the people here
We all know Sweden to be a peace-loving country which steers clear from the political mess. However, despite its neutrality, it is a well-informed nation. Do not presume that people here are not informed of what is happening around the world because Swedes people take their education very seriously.
When we say do not educate them, we do not discourage healthy discourses that may ensure naturally but do not bring out a condescending tone boasting all about your knowledge and trying to make the locals look as if they are primitive. Do not be confrontational in your approach.
5. The Vasa Ship is the greatest!
Every country has certain symbols and objects it considers invaluable to its glory and national pride—the same applies to Sweden. The Vasa Ship is a national pride, and you would not want to demean its importance.
The Vasa Ship was built in the 17th century which was once lost in the sea and recovered later on. It became a symbol of the great power period of Sweden and it stands as a standard among Swedes to determine the historical relevance of shipwrecks. The ship is presently the most famous tourist destination in Sweden, and Swedes people take a lot of pride in that. So, please, mind what you say!
6. Personal Space
Swedes people cherish their personal space, and you should respect that. The locals are not the kind of people who like bodily contact too much; you will find ample space between two persons lined up in a queue. If you are travelling on a bus, do not sit next to anyone when there are seats available otherwise. Swedes just do not like that.
Since Swedes are quite mindful of their personal space, you must avoid being too nosy and loud. Just take care of these things, okay?
7. Support the team
In case you support the Finnish Hockey Team, do not dare mention that to a Swedes! When you are travelling in Sweden, you cheer the Swedish Hockey Team. Period. If you are stubborn, then you might end up in an altercation which will not be good for you.
The Finns and the Swedes have a long, complicated history together, and we, the outsiders are not in the position to evaluate who is better.
8. Get used to coffee
Okay, one thing is that Swedes love coffee, and if you are someone who likes to decaf, you are going to have a bit of trouble here. A decaf substitute is not easily available in Sweden considering the love coffee gets here amongst the locals. It is, therefore, advised that you start loving coffee for your own good. You cannot run away from it in Sweden—no matter how hard you try!