The feeling of leaving family and friends to travel to a far away country can be challenging especially when you do not know what awaits you. Many Ghanaians have migrated from the shores of Ghana to other countries due to various reasons. Currently, Sweden has been one of the favourite destination countries for some Ghanaians who intend to study abroad. They arrive in the country with no knowledge of the culture and are usually surprised by some of the behaviours of the people.
Sweden is now host to about 1,400 Ghanaians some of whom have lived in the country for over a decade. They have found home in their new settlement and some have either brought their families from Ghana to join them or have made a family in their new settlement.
Ghanaians, living in Sweden feel socially left out within the Swedish society because the society do not open up to them. For that reason they only associate themselves with other Ghanaians or other immigrants from different countries.
The Swedish County Administrative Board has a policy to help new arrivals especially those who intend to live in Sweden. The policy, according to the Administrative Board, is to enroll the new immigrants into the Swedish for Immigrants course where they are taught Swedish language skills. This program is to help them to easily communicate with people and feel part of the society.
Although many Ghanaians take advantage of the integration program and acquire the Swedish language skills, the aspect of cultural and social integration is often missing. Tasha Hazzel, a Ghanaian living in Sweden, says the attitude of the Swedish community not opening up to other immigrants come as a surprise. She comes from a different cultural background where there are no barriers with the way people interact with each other.
The situation however, can be different among Ghanaian children who are born here in Sweden. They have the advantage of making friends from different background other than just associating themselves with only Ghanaians. Even so, Hazzel says nothing will change. Her son has been in a Swedish dominated school for about five years now and the only friends he has is his little sister at home.
There is a possibility that these Ghanaians are not doing enough to socially integrate in the society and rather expects the Swedish community to come to them, but Hazzel says that is not the case. She and her family stopped going to their regular African church to join a Swedish church. However, this did not change anything. They feel isolated in a country they have come to love.