"Both my kids were born in Sweden and they have a wonderful childhood"

Describe your role at the company, and briefly your background / experience of living and working in other countries.

– Currently I am an External Innovation Director in the cardiovascular and metabolism franchise. I have been with AZ for a long time (17yrs) and is a testament of the Gothenburg region which makes it hard to move away again. I was born and brought up in Sri Lanka and then started moving North to Bath in England for my undergraduate degree and then to Dundee in Scotland for my PhD. Then made the move to the beautiful west coast of Sweden when AZ was recruiting for scientists back in 2001.

What expectations did you have before moving to Sweden?

– I have lived in Sweden so long that I am not sure what my expectations were before I moved here! I had heard about this beautiful country and their advanced society that was built on equality and a great social welfare system. Having lived here, I am proud to be part of such a progressive and fantastic society.

How did it turn out?

– Its turned out fantastic for me, both my kids were born in Sweden and they have a wonderful childhood. Sweden must be one of the best places to grow up in. They are now 11 and 13 and both attend the international school in Gothenburg and we put them there because we always thought we might move, but its hard to leave the great life here in Gothenburg. The kids also have a great afterschool life with both competing in sports through clubs. Family is placed high in the agenda in Sweden and you can achieve a good balance between work and family in the Swedish system. You have the best parental leave system that lets you enjoy the early part of your child’s life and my advice to future fathers is to take that time off, I wasn’t Swedish enough to have done that properly when my kids were born and now I regret it.

What is the best thing about living in Sweden?

– Sweden has got it right when it comes to welfare and workers’ rights (holidays etc) to give you one of the best standards to life in the world. Sweden is an open and welcoming society which is less commercialized than other places in the world.

– It’s a huge country with a lot of varied nature and very few people, so a paradise for nature lovers. People are active in Sweden and you get into it yourself and that really helps you have healthier life-style.

– It’s hard to put your finger on one particular item that makes Sweden stand out but the fact that I am still here after 17yrs says something about how great place it is.

Would you recommend others to move here?

– Absolutely! Come here with an open mind because Swedish Society is open minded!

What do you think of Sweden in regard to equality and other social aspects?

– Sweden leads with regard to all these questions, other countries can a learn a lot from Sweden and you can see the Swedish model being implemented in other parts of the world. The fact that Sweden makes the changes first is a really due to the open society and the ability for all to have a say in this society.

In your opinion, which is the most beautiful place in Sweden?

– I like the rocky islands off the west coasts with their colorful houses by the shorelines. Skåne is such a different place with its endless fields. I have been up to the North and in the mountains which are again magnificent. At the end, my heart is in the west coast. I also love all the thousands of lakes in Sweden that you can just jump into (in the summer only).

Which is the best Swedish tradition?

– Midsommar, my memories of our first midsummer party always stays with me. Being a little drunk and dancing around the maypole acting like a frog!!

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