P: Okay so to start, just state your name and where you’re from originally
J: So my name is, uh, Jonas Wik. I’m from uh Stockholm Sweden
P: Okay. So why did you leave Sweden?
J: I came over to, uh, go to college. Play football at UW-Platteville
P: Okay. Um. How old were you when you left?
J: I was 19
P: So what did you do in Sweden before you moved here?
J: I went to high school, I spent a year in the military, and then worked for some small companies
P: What branch of the military?
J: the air force
P: and what were the companies that you said you worked for?
J: One of them was a telecommunications company, it was called TeleNor Comma, it’s a Norwegian company, and then there was uh, one of my managers – one of the coaches at Platteville had his own company so I, I was stocking shelves and stuff like that for…that they brought to stores.
P: Mhm, so how’d you hear about playing football in Platteville?
J: So the coach for Platteville was actually of Swedish descent so he came over and did a coaches clinic and stuff over there
P: How did you prepare for your trip here?
J: (laughing) Well I packed my bags, (laughs) saved a bit of money, got some student loans
P: (laughing) did you come here alone?
J: no. I had a friend that came over as well, we actually were roommates in Sweden for a couple years before
P: were you guys roommates here?
J: yeah, he stayed for a year and then he went back
P: So, why the US and not somewhere else? Was it football?
J: Yeah, mainly, it was football. (laughs) my grades weren’t good enough to do computer science in Sweden
P: Did you know English already when you came here?
J: Yes, it was a requirement for college. You have to do that TOEFL test, test of the theory of English as a foreign language
P: What other languages do you take or do you speak?
J: I took German for about 6 years, and then well English we started in about 4thgrade, and then Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, we can communicate with each other. You can’t understand everything but its like one person can talk Swedish and the other can talk Norwegian and you can still understand
P: How did your family feel about you coming here?
J: (laughs) well my mom thought that I would be staying. Or that I would meet someone and I would stay, and my dad, I don’t know, I can’t really get a read off of him but
P: (laughing)…and then you did meet someone and stay
P: did you have to make a lot of changes in your lifestyle when you came here as compared to living in Sweden?
J: not a whole lot. Everything’s more expensive in Sweden, so one of the main things is you don’t go out and eat a lot over there you cook more stuff at home. Uh, things are made from scratch more than they are here. Like you don’t have prepackaged boxed dinners or even like baking mixes, you don’t even have those over there, so. Not that I was baking a lot in college.
P: What was your first impression of the US?
J: It was hot. Humid.
P: Was it your first time here?
J: Well I came over in 97 for a game in New Orleans. We played a pregame for the super bowl. A European All star team against a Mexican All star team. And there was, well that was in February and that was in New Orleans and it was just oppressively humid. And then I came over here in Wisconsin in august and it was also very humid so I’m not used to that. We have like 20-30% humidity in Sweden.
P: What are some of the differences or similarities you’ve noticed in the cultures here and in the culture back home for you?
J: American’s are very much more outgoing than the Swedish people. Swedish people in general are told from a very early stage in their life that you’re not supposed to brag about yourself about your accomplishments and that’s kind of one of the bigger differences. It’s hard to break that habit as well when you come to a different country and for example you go to a job interview and (laughs) you’re not used to interviewing and it’s like well look at my resume
P: Mhm, so was it hard to talk yourself up initially?
J: Yeah, I mean you’re not used to it
P: What did you hope would happen when you came here?
J: I came over to play football and have some fun and yeah it wasn’t really…
P: did you think you would end up moving here for…ever?
J: (laughs) not really, no I had no long term plans really. Just kind of came over and see how it went
P: How were you treated when you first got here?
J: Very good. A lot of people were very interested in different cultures. Like “Oh can you say this can you say that? Do you guys live in caves in Sweden? Do you drive on roads?” (laughs) “Do you eat moose and reindeer all the time?” Try to fight back al the stereotypes all the time.
P: Do you think you would have been treated differently if you were a woman?
J: Yeah probably
P: How so?
J: maybe um, I think you know you have a tall blonde woman with type of Swedish people so I dont know if it’s, uh, I think women in Sweden are a lot more self confident than a lot women in the US. There’s a lot more equality over in Sweden than here so I think there might have been a few more clashes in the cultures
P: What are ways that you stay in contact with your family back home?
J: mainly just via google chat or skype. My parents bring stuff over when they come
P: how often do they come?
J: it’s been about every year for the last 10-12 years, so I don’t know when they’re coming next but usually they mainly bring candy over. There’s good candy in Sweden, chocolate and stuff like that. And then they buy stuff here for my niece and nephew in Sweden because toys are cheaper in the US so they usually bring a suitcase of gifts to us and then empty that and fill it and bring it with gifts to my sister’s kids.
P: so when you meet people now, do they immediately know that you migrated here? Or do they just think you were born here?
J: They mainly just think I was born here. A lot of people get surprised when I say that I’m from a different country
P: overall do you think it was fairly easy for you to migrate here?
J: yeah, I mean I do miss Sweden and my family once and a while an uh especially in the summer time I miss the environment and the perpetual daylight and very comfortable temperatures and stuff like that.