Cécile Guilloux
Cécile Guilloux

Cécile Guilloux, originally from France but living in Australia, moved to Stockholm with her academic husband and two young daughters. They didn’t really have any hesitations about moving, per se, but they did wonder how everything would work out. As Cécile explains, “Now it’s not to say we didn’t have a few worries… in particular about finding a flat, finding a school for our daughters, and for me obviously how I would find employment after my maternity leave especially as I didn’t speak Swedish.”

Staf smooths transitions for academic partners

Staf was a lifeline for Cécile when she arrived. She was still on maternity leave with her youngest daughter, and it provided a welcoming place to have adult conversations and feel more connected. Her interactions at Staf helped her to acclimatise to Sweden.

“Like any country, Sweden has its own rules and social codes and as a foreigner it can take some time to learn them!” Things like: the meaning of lagom (“just right”); never say no to fika (coffee and a bun); and the weather is always up for conversation. There were also underlying philosophies that were directly applicable to work life, like how to negotiate the culture of consensus in lateral organisations.

Staf also provides direct, practical assistance for the job market. “I got great tips in my job search, practical advice on my resume and cover letter, and the various seminars they organise really gave me a chance to understand the job market in Sweden and gave me ideas of places to look at. I don’t think I would have found a job as quickly as I did if it wasn’t for Staf!”

When her maternity leave was finished, Cécile started her new position as a communications manager at a financial technology firm.

What advice would she give to newcomers?

About the job market, Cécile encourages people in her position to be flexible and adaptable. “Learn Swedish if you can, and apply to lots of roles even if they don’t quite fit because it will maximise your chances to get a positive response.”

And the result?

“As a city and country it is a fantastic place to live. I hadn’t visited before we moved so it was a big jump, but we really like it here. From a professional point of view, it can be a bit tricky to find work without being fluent in Swedish but with an open mind, some positive energy, and the wonderful support of Staf you can definitely make it happen!”

Spouse network

Stockholm Dual Career Network is a spouse network that Stockholm Academic Forum initiated in March 2015. It is exclusively for spouses and partners to visiting scholars at the universities in Stockholm.


Text: Kimberly Parke