Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Småland, Sweden (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

March 6, 2022


Traveling Around: Småland, Sweden

Can you relate?

  • getting a private tour of a crazy Swedish man’s small moose park. The moose were so big and cute!
  • staying at two different Swedish hotels (here’s one in Kalmar) that offered not only breakfast but also dinner as included in the price of the room.
  • taking the trains to get around from city to city, and splurging by buying the First Class ticket for some more comfort.
  • going to a local restaurant and being the only guests in it. It is hard to do, but you can be surprised by some tasty food!
  • finding a unique Italian restaurant run by actual Italians (in a Swedish city of around 50000 people) and being treated to such a wonderfully authentic Italian meal.
  • stepping into a small butcher’s shop and buying unique locally-made products like jams and crackers.
  • driving around to find a castle that is also a hotel and realizing we should’ve stayed there instead!
  • traveling to a water tower that also doubled as an echo chamber. I wouldn’t have believed it until we got there. It was super amazing!
  • driving by a huge outlet area and agreeing to stop and check it out. We bought some discounted clothes!
  • driving off the beaten path a number of times on very dirt, bumpy roads. Super exciting and fun!
  • taking in the view of the beautiful nature. Even though it was winter and very cold, the sunny days still made the views so wonderful.
  • getting a bit of a snowstorm one night and waking up to everything covered in snow.
  • stopping by the local mall for some shopping. We bought a pot of a Swedish knockoff of le Creuset.
  • having the easiest pick up of a rental car….EVER!
  • wondering why we went traveling for a week in small-town Sweden only to realize that it was super relaxed and cozy…just want needed.
  • taking the free pass from the hotel to the local “spa/pool” and then seeing that it was overrun by small children!
  • stopping by the IKEA museum and learning about the amazing history of this iconic store.

Currently, we have 14 international schools listed in Sweden on International School Community. 7 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

Bladins International School of Malmo33 Comments
International School of Almhult141 Comments
International School of Helsingborg28 Comments
International School of the Gothenburg Region6 Comments
Stockholm International School11 Comments

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us here with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give you 6 free months of premium membership!

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Discussion Topics

Teaching and living in “The World’s Happiest (And Saddest) Countries” – According to Forbes

January 4, 2012


According to this Forbes article, the top 10 happiest countries are: “Joining Norway and Australia in the top 10 are their neighbors Denmark, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. Equally small and civilized Switzerland and the Netherlands are also up there. Rounding out the top 10 is the United States at 10th and Canada (sixth).” There are many international schools in most of these countries, offering many opportunities for international school teachers to live very “happy” lives, or so it would appear…

Imagine a beach, warm white sand, water blue and transparent, a nice cabin right by the water’s edge, maybe a nice cabana boy or girl, serving you cool drinks and then some… It’s like a picture perfect postcard, and it just might exist out there in the international school teaching world, all included, semi-secluded, your own private paradise. Happiness among happy people. Perhaps the happiest people of the world, living daily life happily.

Maybe you should scratch that, because according to the Legatum Prosperity Index of 2011 that place is so far from the description above, because that place is Norway; yes the place of cow bells, handball, snowy hills and cheese, the recipe for happiness. Or perhaps more accurate, Norway scored big in the combined ingredients that are: economy, entrepreneurship, governance, education, health, safety, personal freedom and social capital.

So the people of Norway have a good economy (this of course is thanks to a Danish minister who gladly gave away the Danish oil, but then again according to rumor he was drunk so…). They have good ideas and know how to transform them to reality, and of course cash in. They have a government freed from scandal and corruption. They’re highly educated, have good health, feel safe and feel free. They’re social and solidarity. All combined a happy people.  Who wouldn’t want to live there and work at an international school there? There are currently 9 international schools listed in Norway on International School Community.

You really can’t disagree that those ingredients listed might make you happy, if you can cross check all of them, you’re successful, rich, and smart and have enough surplus to care about other people. But defining happiness is more than just looking at the bank account or how healthy you are. How about values that can’t exactly be calculated or an international community somewhere that is very warm and supportive to you living there?  What defines personal freedom and social capital? What’s the percentage of divorces? How often do you go to church? What about culture?  And for international school teachers, what about the amazing professional community at an international school somewhere (anywhere) that is very rewarding for you? Having an amazing professional community at your work can definitely make most teachers extremely happy no matter where you at living…you do spend most of your time at work (most of the time).

Besides the international school itself, if you have to move to another country would you look at the economy of that specific country or is it the more soft values? Are the happiest people really happy people, and does that guarantee happily ever after? Of course things aren’t that black and white, which of course makes list like the one mentioned above quite redundant. So what’s really point?

Is there anything to learn from a list like this Forbes’ article


It’s maybe just following that gut feeling, and try experiencing it yourself. Otherwise it’s like wanting to read a book and then watching the movie adaptation instead, it’s not your vision.

There are different definitions of happiness, from happiness being a sweet little puppy, delicious chocolate, so maybe it’s all in between, it’s education, it’s economy, it’s Ferris Wheels and ice cream on a Sunday, it’s love and freedom, it’s good ideas and sleeping late after New Year’s eve. Maybe it’s a cabin or the beach or a small wooden house in the Norwegian Alps? Maybe it’s the people you meet and the chances you take, experiencing life yourself, instead of being blindsided by some list.

These are the things we look for as international school teachers, and we are definitely looking for happiness in our lives, especially when we can be quite far away from old friends and family.

If you want to know what life is like working at an international school in the “Top 10″ become a member of International School Community.  International School Community members represent the following international schools: The International School of Helsingborg, TASIS The American School in Switzerland, International School of Stavanger, Copenhagen International School, American School of the Hague and The British School of the Netherlands.

As a member you are able to send these members a private message and get the answers to the questions you may have about life as an international school teacher there. Networking made easy!

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