Culture Shock.

As a Korean-American resident who lived in Southern California for the past 17 years, I was surprised to see that how much of a cultural difference existed between USA and Sweden. On Sunday evening of my arrival, I wanted to visit the convenience store to buy some foods and beverages, but most of the stores were closed by 9 PM. In California, most convenience stores are open 24/7 but it was not the same in Stockholm.

On Monday, we had a crash course on Swedish culture and politics and was surprised to learn that Sweden has a strong emphasis on work-life balance. They are to work for only 33 hours a week whereas employees are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours a week in the State. There is not only maternity leave, but also paternity leave for up to 6 weeks in Sweden. Sweden is relatively low in population count. Hence, Swedish citizens are welcoming of immigration and acceptance of refugees, or so I was told. However, when I networked with a gentleman at Lycksele, I was told that Sweden politic is just as divided as in the State. Half of the citizens reject immigration and the other half are welcoming of them. Conservative Swedish citizens prefer traditional Swedish value. It helped me realize that everyone has conflicting views in politics and lifestyle.

We visited Northvolt. The company’s core focus is sustainability. They plan to launch electric underground mining. Not only is it energy efficient, it can also reduce the cost of underground mining by about 30 percent. They are also in the process of constructing a battery that is 3 and a half times of a Tesla’s battery pack. They are building a factory in the north of Sweden after obtaining a permit to chemical processing license to build a battery factory. They plan to increase the size of the factory in 3 years increment. I was told that the recycling is extremely bad in state and Europe is better. However, there is always improvements to be made. It is expected that most auto manufacturers will need more batteries in the near future. Electric charging stations for cars are required for the future demand. I agree with the Northvolt’s statement. I, too, believe that electric cars are the future of automotive industry because the traditional internal combustion engines are rather complex relative to battery-powered vehicles. Electric batteries, on the other hand, simply powers each wheel to produce power.  Hence, energy resources from the gasoline and oil are coming to an end.