Alexia McDonald is a developer from Melbourne, Australia who moved to Sweden. She joined if-me.org because she wanted to help her sister with RGSoC. She also wanted contribute to an open source project to further develop her skills. She led the Swedish translations with the help from Olle Jonsson, Ted Johansson, Marcus Liverfalk and Daniel Eriksson.
Picture of Waterfronts in Sweden, taken from Wikimedia
Being a programmer means we use our brain as our main tool. It's super important to remain healthy in order to be a great programmer and being healthy includes looking after your mental health. Mental health is especially important when living in a country that isn't yours. This is something I've been struggling with in Sweden since it's not my "home-ground". My personal struggles around the language, gender diversity in tech and my personal relationships have all had a massive impact on my anxiety levels which have been pretty high since I decided to take the plunge out of my comfort zone.
From my personal experience of living in Sweden, most people tend to keep to themselves and anyone seen complaining is rather frowned upon. Keeping a positive facade is something I find Swedes pride themselves on and showing any negative emotions is seen as a sign of weakness to others but also themselves.
I've noticed in Sweden it's normal to shun people who are sad or negative either because you don't know what to say or you don't want to be sucked into the 'drama'. It's a thing to avoid people here. No one wants to say anything and no one wants to look at anyone.
Workplaces, although they are touted as a place for flexibility and equality can end up being a breeding grounds for burnout or as it's known here in Sweden "hitting the wall".
Honestly, I'm not sure how people here do it but it's definitely something I've really struggled with and hopefully some of the people who experience the things I mention can benefit from this site being translated into a language they are familiar with.
Originally, I wanted to translate if-me.org into Swedish for foreigners who lived here. Like me, I felt they might also struggle and whilst some of these people might not know English as a second language I find providing Swedish would be a good start since SFI (free Swedish lessons) is available in Sweden.
But later, it occurred to me that translating something into Swedish would blow the myth that you need to know fluent Swedish in order to work as a programmer here in Sweden out of the water. Translating if-me.org has given me an opportunity to learn new words and phrases in Swedish that I had not come across yet and it's done that in a less aggressive manner than doing SFI because coding is something I actually enjoy doing.
The constant stream of comments about what the correct translation of certain words were, was funny but also taxing at times. I actually had to take a few days off before getting back into it because it was a lot of work to do.
A great example of where I made a funny/tragic mistake is when I wrote “Allierade som kan se din strategi och tagga egna ögon med det.” which means “Allies who can see your strategy and take their own eyes with it.”
Let us know how your experience is going with our Swedish site. If you want to see our app in your language, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.