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Swedish language course as a ticket for doctors to the Swedish market?
04. November 2020.
Although finding a specialization in Scandinavia is an extremely time-consuming and complicated process, some doctors have courageously decided on this adventure. Among them, we decided to single out the experiences of Iris Đipalo Juretić and Lucia Španjol Pandelo, who successfully overcame all obstacles, passed the Swedish language course and finally moved to Sweden, where they are both currently attending specialization.
In addition to the Swedish course, which Iris and Lucia took at INCOR, with our help you can also take English, German, Russian and Spanish, so contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org where we will be happy to provide you with the necessary information about language courses.
Experience of Iris:
I decided to inquire about the possibilities of going to Sweden when my godparents found employment through the agency and after they moved to Sweden. As no agency offers employment opportunities in Scandinavia for doctors who do not have a specialization, I talked to Zrinka Stanić from INCOR and decided to take a language course on my own to compete in the Swedish market. Before that, of course, we talked within the family because it was important for us to all be for moving away, which was especially interesting for our child given that the education system is different than the one in Croatia. Here in Sweden a lot is adjusted and optimized according to children’s needs.
With the Swedish language course I attended from Zrinka, I managed to work and live normally all the time. The whole course lasted approximately 1.5 years and we passed everything necessary from A1 to C1 level of language proficiency. We were adjusting a lot around the appointments, Zrinka is flexible in that regard at your service. When I passed the C1 level the team from INCOR helped me and instructed me how I can get a work license in Sweden, she helped me in organising my CV, what documentation is needed and how everything needs to be prepared.
When I got my license I visited Sweden where I have family members. My aunt helped me and gave me an insight into what to expect from their health care system, which meant a lot to me and additionally motivated me to organize everything as soon as possible to leave. Hospitals in Sweden are very flexible and easy to negotiate with them about employment. I reached out to my employer online. It is important to emphasize that one should point out one’s knowledge and experience in the CV because if you show that you are eager to adapt to the Swedish healthcare system, hospitals have no problem investing in you. Larger hospitals also help with accommodation and obtaining the necessary documentation on arrival, such as personnummer (Swedish national personal number).
At the very beginning, you can expect weekly courses aimed at introducing you to the legal system in Sweden from a legal point of view, and for those who have not mastered the medical vocabulary enough, hospitals also pay additional classes for every 2 weeks until you reach the required level, at least in my western region of Sweden.
Although it is quite strenuous at certain moments, I am glad that I decided to go on this process. When you have a goal and when you make a decision, everything is much easier to do. A language course is definitely a great investment in yourself, and to further improve it, it is always good to find a way to use it in your free time.
Experience of Lucia:
The Swedish course went very smoothly and it was not hard for me to learn a new language, it was easy to click on everything with Zrinka. We had lectures twice a week for 1.5 hours at the initial levels of the course, and later more often, so in a total of 1 year and 3 months I managed to learn and pass the Swedish language at the C1 level required to apply to the medical chamber.
One month before taking C1 level, I sent the application documentation (EU certificates, certificate of a professional exam, diploma – all officially translated into English), and when I passed the language and sent the certificate of knowledge, I was asked for certificates of all previous degrees, meaning from A1 to C1. I would emphasize that the chamber needs 2 to 3 months to process all the data, so it is necessary to have patience in the process of obtaining a license.
When I gained a solid level of language proficiency, I was able to arrange a visit to Linköping Hospital for a week. Since I didn’t have a license at the time, I could only stand by and watch everything being done in the hospital, similar to my student days in Croatia. In the meantime, I stayed in touch with people at the hospital and contacted them after obtaining a license and forwarded my CV and recommendations. Good referrals play a big role to employers in Sweden, and if possible it is always good to send a recommendation letter of a colleague who is already in Sweden. Larger hospitals, which are mostly affiliated with universities, value research work a lot, so it’s also always a good thing to emphasize if you’re aiming for a position at a university hospital.
I would also advise the candidates who can afford it to visit Sweden before employment and relocation. When you are here and you are still learning the language in some way, you force yourself to improve it. Regularly practising it helps a lot. Zrinka prepared us really good, the courses via Skype were ideal for me and I managed to study and work at the same time. When I was nearing the end she additionally assisted with information about sending the documentation and advice regarding CV and applications to job openings.
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