Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden
Carina and "Sam". Photo: Brett Ascarelli / Radio Sweden

What it's like living in Sweden as a young asylum-seeker

11 min

How is it for asylum-seekers once they get to Sweden, and also for the people who welcome them here? 

Carina has currently opened her home, about an hour away from the capital, to two young asylum-seekers. One of them is "Sam", 16, who originally comes from Afghanistan.

Sam arrived in Sweden about a month ago, after a long journey that started in Iran and took about two months to complete. 

Carina and Sam came into the studio to tell their story to Radio Sweden.

"(The young asylum-seekers are) living in our home, so they are part of our family," says Carina, adding that they communicate a lot through pointing, while Sam is learning Swedish.

They all eat dinner together every night, and Sam says he loves the food: "That's the best part."

Carina feels she is a laid-back type of parent, rather than a strict one, and Sam agrees, "She gives us advice, and if we don't know something we just ask."

Carina says that because one doesn't know what the asylum-seekers have been through, "you have to have a little bit of patience."

"The first few weeks can be confusing for everyone, because you don't know each other yet," she adds.

"My responsibility is that they're supposed to feel safe with me, like ordinary parents actually - to see to it that they have clothes, food, feel safe, have someone to talk to," says Carina, who also sorts out problems at school, if they occur.

Sam doesn't know how long he will live at Carina's - if his asylum application is accepted, then perhaps until he is 18, he says.

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