Three similarities between Sweden and Colombia

(Este post también está en español. Léelo aquí)

I don’t know if everyone who moves abroad does the same, but since I arrived to Sweden I couldn’t contain myself from compare it to Colombia. Surprisingly, I have found some similarities despite the distance.

Coffee intake

Typical swedish fika at Ofvandahls in Uppsala. Picture by Hernán Capador
Typical Swedish fika at Ofvandahls in Uppsala. Picture by Hernán Capador

In Colombia we drink several cups of coffee every day. Certainly, this is not surprising because Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producers and its coffee is known for having a fruity and smooth flavor. What surprised me is that in Sweden people drink even more coffee. Actually there is a word in Swedish language for the occasion when people gather to have coffee (or tea) and snacks: fika. It is hard to translate, but in Colombia it would be “Tomémonos un tinto, seamos amigos” (Let’s have a coffee, let’s be friends).  Fika can happen at any time, but most commonly at mid-morning or late-afternoon. That takes me directly to Bogotá, where a cup of coffee is an excuse for everything. In addition, it is incredible how at every workplace, study room, kitchen or store there is a coffee machine. What I’ve liked the most about drinking coffee in Sweden is that I’ve been able to taste many new flavors, because coffee from all around the world is available. Colombian coffee will always be my favorite, though.

Unpredictable weather

How could ever Colombian and Swedish weather be alike? Well, they are both unpredictable (read more about Swedish cold here). In Colombia, weather forecast is a bad joke. Actually, sometimes I expect the opposite and works better for me. In Sweden forecasts are more accurate. However, exactly as in Colombia, all weather conditions can be seen in 24h: Sun, clouds, light rain, sun again, rain again, snow, snow-rain, rain-snow, wind, sun again, and so forth. Also, weather is an excellent conversation topic to break an awkward silence in both countries: Hmm, it’s so cold today. Ahh, did you see how sunny was it this morning? This weather is unbelievable. Do you think is going to rain tomorrow?. This morning I read it was going to be sunny, now look at this rain.


Both Sweden and Colombia, people like dancing. Even when in both countries you can find troncos (tree trunks, clumsy and uncoordinated), at some point everyone enjoys moving to the sound of nice beats. Actually, Latin rhythms such as salsa, bachata and reguetón are popular among all generations in Sweden, and almost in every town there are Latin clubs, or Latin dance lessons. For instance, in Uppsala there are salsa and bachata lessons free for students at least twice a week, and in every party at least once El Perdón, Bailando o Danza Kuduro will sound. Pretty much the same as in Colombia.

Similarities between Sweden and Colombia: people like reguetón.

A video posted by Hernán Capador (@capadorr) on


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