Table of Contents:
1.1 Research aim and purpose
2. Method & Materials
3. Results & Analysis
3.1 Immigration motives
3.3 Difficulties facing in Sweden
3.4 View of China & View of Sweden
3.5 Future plan
4. Conclusion & discussion
The research paper is to investigate adaptation process and current living condition of Chinese immigrants in south part of Sweden. The aim of this paper to see how they live their lives now and to review how they adapt to Swedish environment at the beginning. What’s more, it is interesting to explore whether there is any significant difference between the immigrants who come to Sweden before 18 and immigrants who come after 18. The difference would be focus on adaptation process and view of both countries. What kind of difficulties did these two groups of immigrants suffer? What was the positive dimension they went through in Sweden? How did they see China and Sweden? Whether the younger generation have different experiences of adapting to new environment in Sweden and whether they have the same or significant different understanding of these two countries would be essential questions in this research.
There are a lot of literatures which are related to immigration adaptation but a few mentions about Chinese immigrants. We have reviewed some articles about adaptation process and adaptation models. For example, according to Yakhnic, L (2008), potential stressful event would increase risk of psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and psychosomatic complaints. Absorption of a difference culture is to cope with multiple stressors. A stressor may influence an individual’s adjustment directly or indirectly by increasing his or her exposure to secondary stressors. According to Kim, S. S (2004), language difficulties is highest of importance among all the problems immigrants face while employment is the issue least controllable by them. The strategy of avoidance is highest used to cope with employment difficulties. What’s more, Kim, Y. Y. & Gudykunst, W. B. (1988) suggested that when people immigrant to the other country, they have to find a new residence and try to accept new living pattern. Later on they would face biological challenges from food category even to marry with people from different ethnical groups. Then immigrants encounter with cultural difference, like politics, economic, technology, language, religious and social composition. At the same time, there would be psychological changes when immigrants face unfamiliar culture and environment which refers to stockiness. All these changes can be seen as process of adaptation.
There are some literatures refer to comparison between the first and second generation immigrants. The first generation immigrants consume less alcohol than normal while the second generation immigrants consume the similar amount of alcohol as local normal people (Svensson, M. & Hagquist, C 2010).
Personally, I have some friends who are immigrants in America. Some of them suffered a lot when they first came to America but they insisted to struggle for their lives. They gave up the chance to live with their families and fight for better earning and better life alone. This was the portrayal of Chinese immigrants who went abroad at 70s. I am curious about the back stories of each Chinese immigrant who seem have good life here.
There are four original immigrant countries, including America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. However the fact is that they are not the countries which people can migrate easily anymore recently. Following Sweden as the biggest country nby size and population in Nordic, more and more people into this country, especially refugees and family immigration. According to history recorded, most immigration happened in the 1950s and 1960s was from neighboring Nordic countries, most are from Finland. ”Since the early 1970s, immigration has consisted mainly of refugee migration and family reunification from non-European countries in the Middle East and Latin America. In the 1990s, Sweden received thousands of refugees from the former Yugoslavia” Western, C. (2006).
Sweden has a flexible policy when many European countries tightening immigrants policy. Sweden support help to refugees and gives them equal right to live better. Swedish can open mind to accept immigrant and less discrimination. It is so multicultural country that immigrants can more easily to enter this society. On the other hand, China is at the stage of development recently and more and more people go abroad to immigrant in order to get better life. Immigration is becoming a hot issue in the world especially in Chinese society. According to data from NationalMaster.com, there are 3,852,000 Chinese immigrants currently which is the 12th out of 195 in the world. There are 11,900 Chinese immigrants in Sweden which is not a big group but the number is increasing. Since then we want to do the research to see how the life is for Chinese immigrants in Sweden and find out reasons that influence immigrants to join local society. We hope our research will in favor of new immigrants that they can do some preparation before they want to adjust themselves to this new environment. Besides, it would give more suggestion to local immgration board to help them review immigration procedures and make it more flexible and humanized.
The aim and propose is to conduct an in-depth qualitative research through interview with Chinese immigrants in south part of Sweden in order to know the diverse lives immigrants have and also common problems they face as immigrants. We hope our research will in favor of new immigrants. They can do some preparation before they want to adjust themselves to this new environment. What’s more, it can be a reference for Sweden migration board that they can see whether they can make any improvement or adjustment for immigrants to have better life. Research questions:
Based on research aim and purpose, the research questions are as below:
1. How are lives of Chinese immigrants recently?
2. How and why did Chinese immigrants immigrant here and what difficulties did they face? How did they overcome it and how long did it take?
3. What is view of China and view of Sweden in the eyes of Chinese immigrants?
4. What is future plan for Chinese immigrants in Sweden?
There is a comparative study of Chinese immigrants in USA, Australia and Canada. It is not easy to find the survey about Chinese immigrants in Vaxjo, Sweden so that we will learn from Chinese immigrant’s survey from other countries.
The most difficulties of Chinese immigrants who immigrate to USA, Australia and Canada are different in many dimensions. The number of immigrants in USA are more than that in other countries, difficulties also found in English and lower unemployment rate.
The commonalities is that Chinese immigrants in different country will regard China as a model to compare with local country in culture, economic and politic, for example people still compare local money with original country. They all meet language problem, older immigrants have more problem on it than younger ones. Unfortunately, they find they can't get used to home region when they go abroad so many years.
According to Yakhnic, L (2008), there are five kinds of stressors immigrants have when we try to adapt to the new environment. Immigrants face cultural or normative stressor which refers to cultural differences with difficulties in language acquisition. They may also have instrumental stressor which means material quality of life such as housing or reduced professional status. What’s more, they may face difficulties with relationship with one’s social environment such as discrimination or intolerance. The fourth stressor is family stressor which refers to relationship with current family members as well as relatives in home countries. The last one is emotional stressor towards anxiety and uncertainty about future which is also a big problem immigrants normally have.
According to Castles.S, there are three basic typical contradiction is relative to our interview consist of acceptance & exclusion, country & local policy and discrimination. All countries face the acceptance and exclusion about economic, political and culture. For example, in last year, there are a conflict between Hong Kong people and Philippine nanny. Honking covers more than one hundred thousand Philippine and one nanny ask for long living permit in Honking, which will share the educational resource and many other welfare from government if nanny bring their family here. It is obvious that some people think immigrants will against interest of local people and we want to know whether happen in Vaxjo,Sweden. In the other hand, we know Sweden is famous for advocating equal right for everybody even write it down in law. It is not only original citizenship but also immigrants. However the fact is that the country policy won't implement by local city. For example, even Australia advocate multiculturalism but local people still want immigrant to assimilate with them from research of Lee (1992). Another Inevitable thing is about assimilation. It is according to different educational situation. Obviously employer want to hire people can speak local language but not all immigrants can deal with language problem at the beginning. Apart from language, there are other things such as special smell, behavior, the way of thinking and talking will influence the impression and feeling about immigrants.
According to Kajsa Hinggins(2004). There are many obstacles immigrants need to face in reality, the youth immigrants are sensitive when they come to Sweden followed by their parents. However when they understand the expectation from parents and know that they can change their life through education, they work harder than any others in their classes. Apart from the biggest obstacles we want to investigate, we should focus more on how they fix up and what help them to adapt to new environment.
Data collection would be conducted as qualitative interviews towards Chinese immigrants at the south part of Sweden. The number of subjects we have interviewed is seven, four females and three males. The age scales of the interviewees vary from 18 to 44. Four of them come from Perstorp and three of them are from Vaxjo, so all interviewees are from south Sweden. The interviews are conducted in Chinese since we both can understand it and it is better to record. Each interview lasts for more than 45 minutes and less than one hour. Most of interviewees are introduced by friends.
Greeting emails were sent to introduce the research we are investigating and followed consent form to see whether they were interested in this research. If they were interested in it, we followed up and visited them to let us interview. All the interviews were conducted in an open and semi-structured manner with a thematic approach according to ethnographic methodology.According to Lofland,
J.2006, interviewer should avoaid any negative judgement towards interviewees during the interview in order not to influence their thinkings and feelings. Basic question patterns were the same and each interview varietied based on openness of interviewee and stories of them. Here were basic questions which were basically used in each interview:
-Why did you choose and how to immigrate to Sweden?
-Could you describe your current life, like your profession, family and social activities? Give a mark to your life in Sweden.
-Could you describe your previous life in China? Give a mark to your life in China.
-Have your family been immigrant in another country? How are they?
-How did you feel when you first came to Sweden? What is the first impression of this country?
-How do you see Swedish people? How do they different from Chinese people you encounter with? Give five key words.
-Are you at the stage of residence or waiting for residence card? What is your plan afterward?
-What was the biggest difficulty you faced when you first came here? Could you give a ranking?
-Economic (housing, daily use)
-Professional status, work
-Social relationship, discrimination
-Family relationship, contact with pervious family members
-Anxiety about future
-How did you overcome them and how long did it take?
-Do you want to be part of Sweden and make efforts to contribute to this country? Are you Swede or Chinese in your eyes?
-What do you think is the benefit you can get only from here but not in China?
-Have you found any new behaviors or different thinking between you and your children?
-Would you like to teach your children Chinese and go back to China? What is your plan afterwards?
Compared with quantative study, qualitative study is more suitable for this topic.
Since the experiences and feelings are difficult to be measured by numbers, in-depth interview is chosen as method of data collection. Most of questions are open-ended questions which requires interviewees to talk more and in a story. It is good to express emotion by telling a story instead of giving marks to each option. From the answers, attitude and opinion would be drew out and they can be analyzed. However, there are also some problems by using qualitative study. First of all, qualitative study is more difficult to analysis than quantative study that it is not pure numbers that can be calculated and compared. All the content of interviews should be recorded and categried before analyzed. After categoring, main ideas can be summarized and make the analysis. What’s more, since interview is a kind of interaction between interviewer and interviewee, it is inevitable to have deviation between what interviewee want to express and what interviewer understand. Lastly, it is difficult for interviewer not to add any personal emotion into the content of interview and any small emotion may have influence on the direction of interview. For example, during the interview, there were some time that interviewer showed agreement to the content interviewee said and it could be an encouragement of keeping going. However, interview should be processed without any subjective judgement. That might be a confounding factor of the reseach result. What’s more, there were several times that interviewer spoke out the word when interviewee had some difficulties to find a right word. Actually it was also a way of leading interviewee’s thinking unconsciously. Interviewees might not think in that way or that word was not that accurate but just felt it was more or less to fit when they heard of it. These are what researchers should notice in the future when they do qualitative research.
Results and analysis:
The research result would be anaylzed by several sepreate parts, including immigration motives, professions, difficulties faced when Chinese immigrants first came, view of China and Sweden as well as their future plans. All the interview contents were recorded and categorized in order to make a summary. All subjects live in south part of Sweden. Four of them immigranted to Sweden when they were under 18 and the other three immigranted here after 18.
1. Immigration motives
For the immigrants who came to Sweden before 18, they stated that there was no immigration motivation at that time. The decision was made by their parents and they did not have much to make a difference.
”When I was 9 years old, my parents asked me whether I would like to live in Sweden. I have no concept of it, I just understood it as living in another country but still with my family. I thought it was ok as long as living with my families. My parents had asked for my opnion, but actually that doesn’t matter since I was so young” (Chinese boy, 20 years old).
So, for most of immigrants who migranted before adult year, they don’t really have concept of immigration. They just treated it as changing the living condition, sounded simple. They came to Sweden with their families so it was somehow easier to adapt to the new environment with family support compared with people who came alone. What’s more, it was much more easier to accept a new culture and a new environment when people was younger.
”I don’t know why my family immigranted here and I have no power to change this fact. I just think maybe it is good to live in Sweden. I have the chance to go back to China as well” (Chinese boy, 25 years old).
However, for the immigrants who came to Sweden after 18, the motive behind immigration actions is diversity. Some came here because of their spouses, some came here because of job and some pursued better life for their children. ”I finished my Master Degree in Sweden and went back to China. My husband stayed here to finished his PhD Degree. It was difficult to even find a good job if my husband went back to China directly after graduation, he had to accumulate some working experience. So I came to Sweden again to be with him and hopefully both of us had better life now” (Chinese lady, about 30 years old). The turth in China is that so many students have the chance to study aborad, oversea students are no longer treasurable as 10 years ago. However, the talented person who are treasurable are top overseas students with plenty of working experiences. If they can be the top in other countries, they would be top in China. Students come to Sweden for further study and some of them wish to stay to accumulate life experience, to colorful their lives. As the lady said above, she came back for better career development for her husband and better future for the whole family.
Some other immigrants come to Sweden because of marrige. The marriage policy in Sweden is very free. Lesbian and gay are legally married and cohabitation has the same protection and social welfare as marriage. Some immigrants came to Sweden and met the one in their lives and married to stay here, some met their spouses first and moved to Sweden with their spouses.
”When I worked in Beijing I met my current husband in our company. We fell in love with each other and we lived together in Beijing for three years. Then he asked me to come to Sweden but I hesitated. Actually I had no idea about this country at all. That time my families suggested me to give each other a chance, to try and to experience. That was why I went to Sweden. Now we were married and had a baby here” (Chinese lady, about 30 years old).
It is a kind of immigration that immigrants are not intented to come but it naturally happened. To meet someone that you think it is worth spending the rest of life to be with him or her, and come to this country to adapt to this new environment is such a romantic thing. It is also highly protected in Swedish culture.
What’s more, there are some immigrants come here for their children. They pursue better education and better growth environment for children in Swedish society. Compared with Sweden, Chinese students face high pressure when they are still young. China has a very large population so competition is very intense as well. Students need to study hard from primary school to be top students in order to enter good senior high school. They have to continue to study hard to enter better high school and finally get in a good university to prove their excellence. For Chinese students, the most important thing is study. However, the culture in Sweden is very different. Swedish education system give students enough freedom and encourage them to develop their interests, no matter what they are. Study is not that important here.
”I lived in New York, America with my husband who was a Swede before. We married for 20 more years. Then we had a daughter and we decided to move to Sweden. New York was great but it was full of competation like in China. I don’t want my children to have a suffering childhood and to spend the whole day to study only. She needs to experience life. However, Sweden is a very natural country that it pays attention to the green environment and it gives children freedom to grow up. Children should play and learn what they like when they are young, it is life of children should be” (Chinese lady, 44 years old). From parents perspective, they hope their children have good and natural development. The most important thing is to have good conduct instead of good academic performance. Sweden is a perfect choice for these parents to send their children.
All in all, for immigrants who came under 18 years old, they followed their parents decision and did not really have motivation for immigration. For immigrants who came after adulthood, even though they had quite diversed reasons to come to Sweden but they all tried to prusue better life in this well-developed country.
Among all the subjects, four of them are students and the other three have their own jobs. Here I would like just briefly give a overview of their professions. One of the lady who immigranted from New York, America is doing cultrual project there. As she experienced a lot of discrimination and misunderstanding when she went to America at young age, she noticed the importance of idea exchange and how communication can eliminate ethnic differences. She established a project named Embrace to show different kinds of culture in the world and made Swedish locals know more about outside world and be more open. The project was very successful and she began to work in the local museum afterwards.
Another lady is working in the regional committee as well as regional govenment. She is responsible for connection between local industries and Chinese companies to improve business partnership. What’s more, she conducts some training programs for Chinese companies to provide platform for inational trending communication.
The lady who married to a Swedish guy is currently working in an international company. She got a short-term job in her perious company of Sweden branch, working as senior manager. Actually it was not that much difference to work in the same company and in the same position.
3. Difficulties Chinese immigrants faced when they came to Sweden
There is a question that asks subjects to rank for all the difficulties they faced when they came to Sweden, from the most suffered to the least suffered. By given a rank, we can anaylze all the rankings to see propotion of each option in the eyes of Chinese immigrants. On the survey, there are six options which includes language, economic, professional status, social relationship, family relationship and anxiety about future. According to the ranking, three out of seven subjects put social relationship as the biggest challenge they met when they came to Sweden. The social atomosphere in Sweden was quite different as in China that they felt it was difficult to adapt to it.
a. Social relationship
”I feel very boring in Sweden. They don’t have a lot of social activities and they prefer self space. Even though I speak good Swedish and I have some good Swedish friends, my best friends are still Chinese” (Chinese boy, 22 years old). This Chinese boy went here at 16 years old that he already had his own friend-zone in China. He learnt to make friends in Chinese ways and he loved all Chinese style social activities. However, in Sweden, life was somehow bored here and it was difficult to eastablish really intimate social relationship with local friends. ”I think it is quite easy to make friends here and people in Sweden are really nice. Most of my friends are Swedish and we always hang out with each other and have sports together. I came to Sweden at 9 years old and I adapted to this new society quite easily. People treated me very well and they did not see me as an exception. I have a lot of good friends now” (Chinese boy, 20 years old).
For the immigrants who came to Sweden at early age, they had no idea of how to be socialized and how to build connection in Chinese way. They directly learnt the Swedish way which is more simple than that in China. Boys play together and share things equally and they become friends. That’s the reason why this Chinese boy feels that he has a lot of good friends in Sweden. He makes friends in Swedish way and he is successful.
”The first impression I came to Sweden was boring. I went to work every day and everybody went back home after work. Nobody suggested to have any entertainment after work which made me shocked. It was not the case in China. We had activities almost every day and it really helped to closer the relations between working colleagues. Even though you could not know everybody well, at least you could know the one who sat besides you. It was enough” (Chinese lady, about 30 years old). It is very common in China to have intercourse after work with working mates or partners. There are something which are not suitble to speak out in working place can be public in entertainment places. It is a way to bond the team and increase productivities for the staff. The lady was quite used to this way of life every day and she had nothing to do here. There was no karaoke and no many cinemas where to spent our leisure time. More seriously, she found it was difficult to find ways to really make friends with her colleagues.
”I tried to find some common topics with my colleagues to open a conversation. I asked them: Which singer or what kind of songs do you like? They said: Oh, we don’t like to listen to music. We love quietness. Sometimes I recommended some songs on Spotify to them, they said it was something their children listened. I could hardly find any common topics with them and I didn’t like to pick mushrooms in the forests like them. Life was really boring at the beginning since I did have many friends here(Chinese lady, about 30 years old).
What Chinese people concern about and be interested in seem different with what Swedish people have interests. At first, Chinese immigrants tried to find commons with local Swedish people. Some of them found that and they also made some friends to share interests. However, there were also some people like this lady that she failed to find real commons between she and her colleagues. She lived in her own space then and spent time on chatting with friends in China and watching DVDs. Swedish people prefer having self space which requires some freedom as well as own time and place. They prefer to do a lot of things alone. However, Chinese immigrants here prefer doing a lot of thing together and share with each friend to show their friendliness. ”The biggest problem was social relationship here. People here are so independent that they do not really care about others. They are just doing their things and they have no intersts about others. However, no matter in China or in New York, we felt we belong to each other and everyone is needed. We care about everyone. In Sweden, if I want to visit a friend I even have to reserve. It is incredible”
Just because of self space, Swedish people do not have very intimate relationship with friends. In universities in China, students lived in shared dormitories where four to six students shared one room and one bathroom. Even though compared with Sweden, Chinese students lack of some personal space and personal time to spend, they built very deep and intimate relationship with each other.
”At the first week I came to Sweden, I held a big party at my home. There were no chairs or tables in my home yet that time but I just invited a lot of people to come. That sounded rediculous in the eyes of Swedish people since they had to decorate delicate if they invited anyone home. We were in different style and sharing meant more than decoration for me” (Chinese lady, 44 years old).
The concept of what is important is different between Chinese immigrants and local Swedes. Swedish people think they should have their own good life and do not disturb others. However, Chinese people think they should build good connection with people around in order to be helpful as well as be eaily to get help.
In conclusion, most of Chinese immigrants faced problem of social relationship as their biggest problem in Sweden. The ways to be social is different and concept of what is important is different between Chinese and Swedes. Chinese immigrants have difficulties to build good enough social relationship here and they think just have some play friends is not enough. I hope they will find a balance to invent their own way to deal with relationship here without losing own styles.
b. Anxiety about future
For immigrants who came to Sweden at adult age, two out of three chose anxiety about future as the biggest concern when they came to Sweden. As they came here alone, they need to find a place to stay first and tried to find a job to earn their livings. Compared with China, the competition in Sweden was not that intensive but it did not mean it was easy to find a job. Since the life style was so different from that in China, Chinese immigrants worried about their future and they were full of uncertainty especially at the beginning.
Here was the lady who went to Sweden to find her PhD husband here. She gave up her job in China which was already in a senior level and just decided to come here. ”It was so difficult to start here! I had three-year working experience and quite satisfied salary but now I had to start from zero. I was thinking about what I had done. Every day when I woke up in the morning, I felt anxiety and uncertain every day and night, I didn’t know what I could do here and I didn’t know how I could earn my lives” (Chinese lady, about 30 years old).
It was normal to have this kind of emotion at the beginning and it happened everywhere. However, the acceptance level for foreign employees varied from places to places. In Sweden, the society is very equal and people here are more democratic and nonjudgemental. In general, discrimination is not obvious in Sweden but still you may face some people who are unfriendly.
”When I pragnanted I began to learn Swedish. I began to search for jobs after giving birth to my baby. Swedish was quite important in finding a job. During the period of job searching, I met an old Swedish man who was doing Estate Business. He said to me ’ You are a Chinese. Even though you have a good job in China, you can only be a cleaner in Sweden.’ I was mad about what he said to me! I felt my dignity had been trampled and I was so angry about that! I determined to prove myself to him and to all the people who had doubt on me. Now I made it! ” (Chinese lady, about 30 years old). Most of Chinese immigrants came here were doing lower level job. Some of them were housewivies, some were cleaners or document copiers and seemed the best were openning a restaurant. That lady did not want to have this kind of life and it was much worse than that in China. It was not easy to get into top in Sweden and discrimination existed even though it might be better than other countries. What’s more, Swedish language was really important in Sweden even though most of people can speak English. It was still enssential to know Sweden to communicate and integrate into their life zones.
”I was in high pressure every day since I did not know what was the next step to take. Should I go back to China? Should I get married here? Should I continue to work in that company? Everything was uncertained. I felt stressful and I was thinking about this all the days. That was so tired to live like this” (Chinese lady, around 30 years old).
This lady had a shot-term job when she came to Sweden so she did not have high pressure of job searching. However, there were a lot of crossroads she had to face and a lot of decisions she need to make. Even though for immigrants who did not have job problem, how to live their lives was still a big deal. Life was full of uncertainty. ”I worked in a factory now and got so-so salary. It was a simple job and it was not difficult to find a job like this. However, I did not want to spend my life like this. I felt anxiety and I lose my life direction here since it was too comfortable here. I lost my energy and my dream. I did not need to work that hard and I could get good salary which was impossible in China” (Chinese boy, 25 years old).
Social pressure is a major different between China and Sweden. Chinese people or we can say Chinese immigrants have leanrt that everybody need to work hard in order to earn more. However, in Sweden, the tax policy makes rich people pay more and poor people pay less. There is not big gap between rich and poor and most of people are quite equal. It is a good policy to stablize a country but it makes people become lazy as well. Most Chinese immigrants cannot adapt to this kind of life and they have been used to competition. They complain about losing of competitivity and become lazy. In this point, maybe it is better to live in a country where still have some competition but not in high pressure. People would have dreams and stuggle to make it come true. Life will be more meaningful and directional in this way.
For the rest of options, subjects did not have intent choices on them. Most of Chinese immigrants did not face economic problem but they all thought the price level in Sweden was high without reason. Even though family relationship was not the biggest thing to concern, some subjects still showed that they had ever concerned about it. For immigrants who came alone or with husband, they lived there in a totally new life. At the same time, their families and friends in China still live in previous way. It was inevitable to have some gap when they were thinking about the same question. The distance between they and their families became farther and farther. They stated that they missed their families but it was not that easy to maintain this relationship. Even though Swedish is very important to learn if someone want to settle down in Sweden. Language is the first window you can open in a culture. However, most of immigrants stated that it was not that important than other options. Treating others well and being friendly don’t need language to express and people will get it. If you know Swedish, you just try your best to speak, local people would be happy to communicate with you no matter how good you speak.
4. View of China & View of Sweden
All subjects expressed their impressions of both China and Sweden and they made some comparisons. How is China in their eyes? How is Sweden then? ”There is a point I don’t like in China or you can say what I cannot accept. The political policy is too strict that people don’t have freedom to express their feelings and opinions. They should have right to do so! People in China even cannot use Facebook and Youtube, and it is rediculous for me” (Chinese girl, about 20 years old).
It is the political ideology influence how the Chinese Party control people and how to lead the whole country. One-party dictatorship is the way China has to experience and get through in this generation. Different countries are in different stages of development and they have different policy to adapt to recent develop rhythm. ”Chinese students study really hard and the famous entrance examination of collage is a equal way to distribute resource. Since China has large population and the gap between rich and poor is really large, there is no better way for normal students to have good life if we don’t have this horrible examination” (Chinese lady, about 30 years old).
This is what I mentioned before, Chinese people are used to compete with each other to be top. Study is the only way for poor people to change their lives since the social welfare is not that good as in Sweden.
”I love traditional culture in China and it is really valuable. For example, Chinese respect elders that they call their grandma grandma instead of directly calling their names. Youngers do a lot for elders. However, in Sweden, people no matter in which age are more independent. Relationship between people even relatives is not that intimate. Because of 5000 years history, China has a lot of good poetries and Chinese movies which are really good. The traditions are good and I treasure them a lot” (Chinese boy, 20 years old).
With 5000 years history, Chinese people are deeply influence by confucianism. To respect elders and to take care of youngers are virtue in China. However, Swedish people pay more attention on freedom and personal space that taking care of self seems more important. China is big that it has diverse culture in different geographical places. It is very interesting that people in South and North have different personalities and different life habits.
”China is interesting and it is worthing traveling. The food in different provances in China are amazing! So many delicious food in China and Sweden can never catch it up in this point” (Chinese boy, 25 years old).
However, Chinese people face high working stress and they always worry about something. Compared with Sweden, Swedish people are more peaceful and they don’t want a lot. Living in China is to live in a high pace society but the good thing is that you also have a lot of place for entertainment to release your pressure. ”Chinese people have low self-control ability that they still have a lot of place to improve. Higher education is needed for normal people to improve their qualities. What’s more, the environment in China is really bad especially compared with Sweden. I can feel sore throat every time when I back to China. The water is not clean” (Chinese boy, 25 years old).
As we can see, Chinese immigrants have some good impression on China like the traditonal cultures and they also have bad impressions like environment, politics and pressure. During the interview I asked each subject to give a mark to both life in Sweden and China to show their satisfication level. The average of satisfication level of living in China was 62.5 according to marks they gave out. It was only pass level for Chinese immigrants when they evaluate their lives in China.
Compared with view of China, view of Sweden in the eyes of Chinese immigrants are more positive. Sweden is the most democratic, most non-judgmental and most equal country in the world and we can feel it all the time in Sweden.
”People here are friendly and nice. They prefer to be middle and peaceful that they try to avoid any conflicts. They are very simple and well ordered that they seldomly break any rules” (Chinese lady, about 30 years old).
Almost all the subjects had mentioned about this aspect of Swedes and they felt respect to them. Since Sweden is already developed well, it is very stable now. All the systems are already completed and people are in good order.
”It is quite safe to be here and I feel secure. Everything is structured and rigid there that it is difficult if you want to make any change. Once one of my friend reserved in hospital to see her injuried foot but she was late. She asked the nurse whether it was ok to let her see doctor later since she was really painful that time. The nurse refused and asked her to reserve it again which delayed to 2 months later. That was rediculous! Two months later she did not need the doctor again! It was Swedes that you must in order and you have to do it again if you miss it ” (Chinese lady, around 30 years old).
As above, Swedes people also make them frustrated sometimes since they are too structured that they don’t know how to be flexible. People here are straight and simple, and it is very difficult to presuade them to make any changes. They will respect you but insist on their owns.
”I feel equal everywhere in Sweden. Gender is equal and everything is more equal than in China. Like in working place, all the employees and bosses are equal that you don’t feel hierarchy in your company. They cannot be rude to you and you talk with them in an open platform. The only difference between you and your boss would be he or she earns more than you, but that would not be a big difference ”(Chinese lady, about 30 years old).
The equality in Sweden should thank to the policies to closer gap between rich and poor. The good social welfare make people comfortable and secure even though they face some difficulties in their lives, they still have governent to support them. ”The environment here is very natural and people like nature very much. They love to pick mushrooms in autumn and plant flowers in their gardens” (Chinese lady, 44 years old).
The environment here is really nice and natural since the government spend a lot on it and promote it. Especially Vaxjo is named the greenest city in Europe by BBC London. It is quite nice to live here and the environment is suitbale to live down. ”It is the paradise of children! Children have their freedom to do whatever they want and they have very low pressure. Parents never push their children to learn this or that, but they encourage their children to develop what they like. I think there are two things children can learn in Sweden but not in China. The first one is equality that all the children here are equally treated no matter where you are from. The second thing is sharing. Children play together and they learn to share food with others as well share happiness and sorrow. However, in China it is not equal at all. Children from rich family go to high-level bilingual education school and children from poor family go to normal school. It makes children know hierarchy at such a young age. For this generation in China, there is only one child in each family and that child become the apple in the whole family. They don’t know how to share with others since they can get the best to their parents” (Chinese lady, about 30 years old). In general, it is the perfect place for childre to develop naturally. Children would get support from goverment, school and hospital and they would learn how to ask for help when they face difficulties. Some immigrants mentioned that it was much more open in sexual relations and it was the case in Europe. All immigrants complain about the lackness of food category in Sweden that China had so many delicious food. The average mark of life in Sweden is 79 and it is much more higher than that in China. Generally, Chinese immigrants enjoy their lives here and they are satisfied with what they experience in Sweden. Compared with China, they all prefer staying in Sweden to enjoy better life.
Almost all the subject showed that they had plan to go back to China no matter for long-term or short-term stay. They all stated that China was their root no matter how good or bad this country was.
” I want to go to China to work for a couple of years since China is developing nowadays and it has a lot of good opportunities there. I believe it would be a good experience to be there. What’s more, I really want to travel in China since the cultures in different places within China are interesting” (Chinese girl, 20 years old). For Chinese immigrants, they have the advantage if they go back to China for work since they have better education and language ability. They have a lot of choices for jobs and China needs high-quality employees.
” I plan to go back to China at 30 and to begin my own business there. China has a lot of opportunities if you want to to make money. I like Sweden and life here is comfortable. However, it is too boring to stay here and China is interesting. I must go back” (Chinese boy, 25 years old).
For Chinese immigrants who came to Sweden after 18 years old, most of them already had a child. They all stated that they would teach their children Chinese and it was more important than English or Swedish. They would like to bring their children back to China one day and teach them Chinese culture.
Conclusion & Discussion
As result above stated, we had a relatively subjectively understanding of current life of Chinese immigrants, difficulties they faced when they came here and how they saw China and Sweden.
For the immigrants who came to Sweden before 18, there was no immigration motivation and they just followed decision of their parents. For immigrants who came after adulthood, they had diversed reasons to come to Sweden. Some of them came because of spouse, some pursued higher life quality and some came to enjoy better environemement for children.
Three of them are students and others have a job here. All of them have no problem on economy. The most difficulty they faced is social relationship that it was difficult for Chinese immigrants to integrate into the whole society and felt belonging. What’s more, anxiety about future was also serious that it was horrible when it was full of uncertainty every day.
In the eyes of Chinese immigrants, view of China was not positive but they could accept while view of Sweden was more positive. In general, they were satisfied with life in Sweden but all of them had plan to go back to China no matter for short or long stay.
The result fulfils aim of this research and it shows currently life and opnions of both countries. The difficulties Chinese immigrants face and the adaptation process can be reference for future immigrants to perview and prepare themselves. However, since number of subjects is really small, it is difficult to represent all the Chinese immigrants in south Sweden. There would be confounds that these subjects only represent of a small group of people. What’s more, age scale of subjects is not scattered enough to represent thoughts of people in different ages. For the interview process, it should be more professional and non- judgment to give subjects more freedom to talk openly.
I am really interested in this topic and I am desired to know stories of minority group.
If there are more chances, I would like to investigate different groups of immigrants in Sweden to see how they adapt to the environment as well as remaining their original cultures.
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