"I am happy to work in an international environment"

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

– I am Associate Professor for Translational Proteomics at KTH and work at Science for Life Laboratory in Stockholm and being part of the Human Protein Atlas project my research is to study human plasma for biomarkers of heath and disease by using affinity proteomics technologies. There I am currently also platform director for proteomics and metabolomics and director of the plasma profiling facility. I got my PhD in Biochemistry from Germany and came to Sweden as a Postdoc.
– Living in a foreign country is always a great experience because you learn new things about other places, people and cultures but it tells you also something about you and where you are coming from. Honestly, moving abroad provides both challenges and opportunities but in the end it is always a big personal gain and a valuable experience!

What expectations did you have before moving to Sweden?

– I think many people that move because of their profession want to have a good job, nice collegues and interesting projects, but of course also help with settling down, and then find new friends, as well as a home for the family or themselves. I think this is independent from where you move to.

How did it turn out?

– Some things take more time than others and the longer you stay the more you learn how the system works, how people think. I was happy to work in an international environment and had the freedom to explore ideas and places. The fact that I am still here after 10+ years should clearly say that it worked out great.

What is the best thing about living in Sweden?

– Again, I think this is the package rather than a single thing. So the combination of having an exciting job, great colleagues and a home for my family, where all of us are happy and feel safe! The childcare system as my family experienced it made many things easier for us.

Would you recommend others to move here?

– Yes, Sweden is a great place to work in! I can only recommend to come and visit Sweden, discover it for yourself and you’ll certainly find something great. Sweden has so many different sides that there is something for everyone (besides palm trees at the beach maybe). Arts, fashion, design, museums, culture and nature offer a wide range to enjoy.

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

– Equality is one of the central values in society as I see it.

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

– I am a city person and Stockholm is a beautiful place with all the water, arts, fashion, design and museums,… But since there is so much to discover, it really depends on the season and situation. Being on a boat during a late and warm summer evening, going skiing at midnight at the end of May, sitting in one of the many cozy coffee places on a rainy day or enjoying great food with family and friends can be one these moments that are more important to me than one particular place.

Which is the best Swedish tradition?

– As a scientist I live on coffee, so fika is a nice tradition and a good place to meet people. I love cinnamon, so my favourite day is the cinnamon bun day ; )). I also love design and there is much of that around. So you see, there is hardly something to single out for me.

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Jochen Schwenk, PhD

Associate Professor for Translational Proteomics at KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm