It’s interesting. In my home country, Sweden, there is an ongoing debate about integration. Since I was a kid I’ve always heard that the immigrants must integrate and I always wondered why immigrants to Sweden to such an extents settle in less secure areas. Apart from the obvious economic reasons, why not move to a safer area?
Then we moved to Spain. Or moved, yeah in the beginning we just went for a month a couple of times to try it out before we moved. But let’s rewind the tape a little. Because even before we came here we started looking. Where is there a Swedish School? Where in that city does most Swedes live? One day under the sun I realised we had done exactly what immigrants to Sweden do. You look for security – your countrymen. Cause it is so much easier to form a friendship with fellow countrymen than with somebody that has been spending their whole life in the country you are moving to.
On top of that, we were just “trying it out”. We didn’t board the plane saying “Let’s become Spanish!”. We will never be Spanish, no matter how much we love Spain and the Spanish, we are and will always remain Swedes. Let’s face it, even if we tried we would never be as good Spanish as the Spanish who grew up here. Integration takes generations.
I think that is exactly how immigrants to Sweden, Germany, UK also reason.
For me this experience has been an eye-opener and I hope this short text could help people understanding each other just a little bit better.