The perfect ambassador

Love brought her to Sweden. First to Kristdala and then to Oskarshamn. Natalya Denysenko now spends much of her day helping other new arrivals. An ideal guide and the perfect ambassador for Oskarshamn.

Natalya made her first trip to Sweden in 2014. She had met Swede Peter back home in Kiev, Ukraine, and love had blossomed. She came back to Sweden with him to try out living here for a few months, and since Peter comes from Kristdala, that’s where they ended up.

“It was a real culture shock for me,” says Natalya. “Coming from the city of Kiev to this little Småland village was a huge change. I wondered where all the people were!” she recalls, laughing.

By 2015, all the paperwork and documents were ready. Natalya brought her then 6-year-old son Bogdan with her and moved to Sweden permanently. The little family finally ended up settling in Oskarshamn, where Peter had a job at Scania. As for Natalya, she immediately set to work learning Swedish.

“Learning the language is the most important thing to do,” she says.

Natalya enrolled on a Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) course, and she has fond memories of that period.

“It was a fantastic time. To this day, whenever I bump into one of my old classmates in town, we stop and chat, hug and laugh. I have many wonderful memories from SFI.”

But Natalya didn’t stop at learning the language and about Swedish culture. She wanted to work, and she started looking into the possibility of entering the Swedish job market.

“I was put in touch with Jenny Rees at SKB and she became my mentor,” explains Natalya. “It was a huge help to have someone supporting me in opening the door to working life in my new country.”

Natalya was also given the chance to do a language internship at Attraktiva Oskarshamn. All to help get to grips with both the language and jobs. With the help of Lernia, she finally ended up at her partner Peter’s workplace.

“I’ve been at Scania for two years now, and I have a permanent job at the company.”

So what are the differences between Ukraine and Sweden, and Kiev and Oskarshamn. Apart from the size of the cities of course.

“I love this city,” says Natalya. “It’s close to everything, and there’s always something for Bogdan to do. He plays hockey, swims and is learning to play the clarinet. He’s a busy young man, and we often tag along to away matches and training sessions.”

Natalya also takes a moment to heap praise on Swedish schools, and is very grateful that Bogdan got a place at Kristineberg School.

“There’s quite a big difference between Swedish and Ukrainian schools,” she comments.

When Natalya and Peter have some free time, they often head out into the countryside. When asked whether there’s anything missing in her new home city, she considers for a while.

“Maybe a theme park for the children,” she says. “I’m an Oskarshamn resident now, and I want to spend my money here in the municipality and not have to travel far for that kind of experience.”

Yes, there’s no doubt about it. Natalya from Ukraine has found her place. Both with love, and geographically, on the east coast of Småland.