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How I ended up in Stockholm

Zeynep Colpan

I get this question almost on a daily basis so I thought I'd write it out here so when future digital archeologists excavate the dark, boring, dusty corners of the internet they will be inspired by my epic story. 

 I ended up in Sweden for a six month internship on a whim, almost five years ago. I had finished my Master's in health policy and was trying to stay in London where I had been living for about three years. With recent policy making it bureaucratically very difficult for non-EU (and I guess now also EU citizens, hello fellow unwelcome friends, please, come, take a seat, may I offer you some Turkish tea and a sympathetic hug?) folks to stay in the UK unless they were earning a salary the size of the GDP of a small country, I was looking for jobs anywhere and everywhere. My master plan was to emigrate to Canada, but the process still had a few years to go. So, I was job hunting while nursing a painful dental surgery.

I made myself send out one job application every single day, which wasn't that hard since I couldn't engage in any of my two favorite activities (eating snacks while watching TV and talking). I randomly saw a job advert for a Dutch intern on a health economist organization website. I figured perhaps the same medtech consulting company needed a Turkish intern (emerging markets! a population of 80+ million! a rising middle class!) and applied. Perhaps due to the gentle high of the high-dose pain medication I was on, I am pretty sure I thought the company was in Amsterdam. It was only later I discovered the company was based on the outskirts of Stockholm. 

Stockholm. What did I know about Stockholm? Even colder, even darker, even wetter than London, three facts (which I had absolutely no control over) which I had been complaining about for the entirety of the three years I lived there. Great. 

But, it was either living in Stockholm for 6 months or parents' couch for an indeterminate period of time. I figured I could always leave if I was unhappy and figure something out. So, a few months later I packed a few bags and headed to the great unknown. Risk-taker galore!

Almost half a decade later, I'm still here, alive and kicking. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made #noregrets.