There are currently different opinions about how to start a new life after the age of forty is crazy and even more about emigrating. On the other hand, others think that “it is better late than never” and it doesn’t matter how old you are if you have the desire to move forward and live new experiences.
Usually, those who emigrate in search of new opportunities are between twenty and thirty years old, but this does not mean that someone over forty years old cannot see emigration as an option to start a new life.
It is also said that life begins at forty and mature people have the experience, courage and knowledge to face the whole process of moving to another country.
Emigrating after forty has advantages, since those who decide to do so, based on their experience, can better analyze all the factors to be taken into account to make this decision and better plan their new life. This is the case of Conny, who we are going to interview today, he emigrated to Norway in 2013.
Could you tell us about yourself?
My name is Conny, and I just turned 50 years old. I and my ex-wife moved to Norway in 2013. We divorced and she moved back to Sweden in 2018. We have 3 children, 2 are grown-ups and live in Sweden and the youngest stayed here in Norway with me.
Why did you decide to emigrate?
First of all, I and my ex decided that we were tired of Sweden and wanted to do something exciting. So we had an auction and sold all of our things. We bought a trailer, placed it at her parent’s farm, lived there for a while, and worked A LOT to follow our dream to move to Thailand. I´ve been to many countries, something like 32, but never to Thailand so we said, why not! So we moved there, first, we stayed in a hotel, but after a while, we found an apartment. After like 6 months we had to go back to work some more because it´s very hard for foreigners to get a job in Thailand. I studied to get a certification as a TEFL teacher, Teaching English Foreign Language and went back. But it was too hard to find work so after totally about one year we came back to Sweden and the trailer. We started searching for jobs in Sweden but that was also hard. Finally, I found a job in Trondheim but didn´t have a place to stay so I moved into my Volvo 745 and lived in that for about 2 months After that the rest of the family came.
How were the first days?
Norway for me has always been a place to travel to just to party! It´s only 300 km one way from where I came from so we travelled quite often over the border just to party The thing is also that the dialect in the area I come from, and the dialect here in Trondheim has a lot of similarities so the language wasn´t that big of a problem. The interesting thing is that everybody that I talk to says the same thing, after a while coming to Norway it´s like a switch that turns on and you understand almost everything! It´s just like that! But many factors made my first days a little bit confusing. First the language, a brand-new workplace and doing a job I never even seen before! But it was interesting and worked A LOT!
Did you master the local language?
As I said, after the switch is turned, everything gets easier. And I change the words that I know that the Norwegians don´t understand and use the Norwegian words, and that makes everything easier. I talk, Sworsk as we call it, Swedish, NORSK If I call someone, like the tax office, I always say “I hope you understand Sworsk” (in Norwegian of cause) and if I do that, I give them a second to get their brain reconnected and they understand everything I say. If I DON´T do this, they don´t understand anything
Do you think it is more difficult to adapt to another country when you are older?
I am a living example that it´s very hard to adapt. I can see it in my daughter! She´s like a sponge and soaks in everything, adapts and follows the flow. I´m NOT like that. I still am Swedish in my soul, but I am trying to adapt, but it´s hard to change the course of a big ship!
Are there job opportunities for people over 50 in your host country?
I would say not really! I am very lucky to get my first “real job” now. I started in February this year and before this, I have only worked for staffing companies from the first day I came to Norway. It´s hard to find a real job and it gets harder the older you get! So, the answer is, that if you are not highly educated you will find it hard to get a well-paid job if you are my age!
What did your family tell you when you said you wanted to go to another country?
It all began when we said that we´re selling everything and were moving to Thailand. All our friends thought we were crazy but brave! Everybody said that they would do it if they had the guts. The newspaper came and made interviews with us, so it was quite a big deal for people.
What do you miss most about your home country?
Besides the obvious, my children also now have a grandchild that I almost haven’t met because of Covid. They call me “flat grandfather” because he only sees me on a flat-screen when we talk over Messenger. It´s so sad … Otherwise, I miss the Swedish food! And the area I lived in all my grownup years, Frösön. A small Island in Östersund. And I miss the Swedish mentality, it is a big difference between Norway and Sweden. And some Norwegians are racist against us Swedes because of thing that happened during the second world war. The other reason is that they feel that we Swedes come to Norway and steal their jobs, and a lot of swedes has crossed the border to get jobs that are better paid, but since 5-6 years ago, many Swedes has gone back to work back home again. I can see/feel it. Not often but it happens. They are nice and smiling until I speak and after that, it´s like a new situation! Norway has always called itself a “little brother” to Sweden, and generally, it has been good cooperation between the countries, but as I said, some people react in a bad way.
Thank you very much for your answers, Conny, I hope you continue to do well in Norway.