“We thought to ourselves, so this is what an apocalypse looks like,” Anish Tamrakar recalls.
That was his reaction to the calm and quiet on his first outing in Stockholm after he and his wife moved to Sweden for work.
“In Nepal, there are 30 million people in a small country and it's very crowded. We were shocked by how much space there was in Stockholm with almost no people,” he explains.
Before the big move to an “empty” Sweden, Anish owned a consulting agency in Nepal where he specialized in web development and product solutions. This is where he would eventually come to meet his current boss, Bonnie Roupé, who was a client of his at the time.
“Bonnie and I formed a really great relationship and got to know each other really well,” he says. “I was really inspired by her story.”
Bonnie suffered from various medical complications during her pregnancies, and the lack of information available inspired her to undertake the mission to inform those who also struggled with the same issues. Thus Bonzun was born; software that acts as a “personal pregnancy coach”, detecting symptoms and providing digital check-ups.
The Bonzun team in Nepal. Photo: Private
At first, Anish had no intention of moving to Sweden to help Bonnie with her project, having a steady business of his own. However, in 2015 everything changed. A devastating earthquake that killed 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000 made it impossible for Anish to continue his life in his home country.
“I spoke to my friends, the ones that also ran the business with me and we kind of agreed that it was going to be too hard to rebuild, that we should look for other options,” he tells The Local.
Luckily, he didn't have to look for too long. Bonnie offered him a position in her company designing and developing the software for Bonzun.
Although securing the job was easy, moving to Europe had its hardships.
“The immigration process was a huge bummer!” says the developer. “The amount of stuff that they need and the lack of information provided about it online was frustrating.”
The major problem was that he was not allowed to move to Sweden without having proper medical insurance, but this proved impossible to obtain without having a Swedish personal number — which could only be received after moving.
“Do you see the kind of paradox I was in?” Anish jokes. “Eventually we were able to work things out because a colleague was able to convince them to give me the insurance, which allowed me to get my work visa.”
Once he arrived however, he was instantly impressed by Sweden's quality of life.
“Nepal is developing, you have to work really hard to get basic stuff, and it's not like that here in Sweden,” he describes. “For instance, I can get drinking water straight from the tap here and healthcare is centralized. That's so different to what I'm used to.”
“In Nepal you are really made to believe that if you don't work hard and spend all your time working, there's no way to succeed,” he adds. “Whereas here, it's more relaxed in a way. It's encouraged more to spend time with your friends and family and not just work all the time.”
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Another major perk of living in Sweden was the ease of finding jobs as an English-speaker working in a sector like IT.
“You can get by without speaking Swedish so much,” says Anish. “Also, IT is in such high demand here, Sweden is really a great place to find work in IT.”
Even without fluency in Swedish (and that's something Anish is working on), he says Sweden is an easy place to meet others in the same field.
“Business-wise it's easier, meet-ups and conferences help you meet a lot of people and build a network,” he says. “But there's a challenge socially making friends in Sweden. My wife and I joke around that, Swedes have their own protected bubbles.”