A Turkish Girl Lands in Sweden

January 1, 1970

by Dilara Yurtkuran

Tourist days in Stockholm

My adventure in Sweden started with landing as a tourist with 3 bags in the middle of a night at Arlanda Airport. I was supposed to stay in this beautiful city for a few days and head to my next tournament. Well sometimes life doesn’t let you play the game on your own terms. After a few days I had already made my mind up and decided on my new home. When you search for a place to move to for so long all around the world, and nothing feels quite right and unexpectedly you fall in love… In that moment, pieces come together and life starts to make more sense. And you finally find home…

With the help of some great people, and passing a few real-life tests I became a resident from being a tourist in such a short time. And that was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.


During my first stay in the city which was for 3 weeks, I only knew this was one of the most beautiful places in the world with full of happy people. Oh and one of the most expensive… As a 25 year old broke Turkish girl who is traveling around the world with the support of her family and trying to make living of professional tennis, this didn’t seem like the best option to go for. But sometimes you just gotta listen to that voice inside your head and go with the flow.

You can go anywhere with any budget

First Experience at a Hostel

I started off staying at a hostel. That was my first hostel experience and honestly I was worried. Generator Stockholm, very new, modern and clean place. The ambiance and people who worked and stayed there were promising and very international which made me feel more comfortable. It was only for 3 days so it was okay to stay with 5 other strangers I thought. Where normal hotels cost around 100 euros a night this place costs 25 euros so that was a pretty good deal. People who stay there are mostly tourists or international people coming for job interviews, etc. so you barely see them in the room since everyone is busy or wants to enjoy the city. The hostel is right in the center walking distance to a lot of restaurants, shops and supermarkets and 10 min away from the subway and the community train. It also has regular private or double rooms which is around the same price as the other hotels.

Heading to an Apart Hotel

After 3 days all packed and ready to check out without any other plans, things started changing and I had to extend my stay for another day… And another day… And so on… People who work at the reception know me very well now after all the check outs and not having the currency (they only accept SEK) and trying to find me another available room… Luckily  they were very friendly even though I was such a pain in the chest? And finally I checked out at the end of the week without knowing how long  and where to stay with a little bit of money left. All I knew was I had to stay somehow until I find a tennis club that will sign the papers for me to be able to get a work permit. With all the uncertainty and tight budget I was hoping to find a cheaper place or possibly free. Guess where I ended up… At a very nice apart hotel that cost 100 euros a night. That means I could only stay 3 more days in Stockholm and head back home, which would mean I FAILED. You know there are times you are all alone and you’re the only one to make the decision and deal with the situation. That was one of those moments. But I knew I wasn’t going to give up after coming this far.


In my nice and expensive hotel I was in bed sick and hungry for 3 days. And that’s when I looked in the mirror and told myself “I won’t fail.” And one last stop at the hostel for a few nights before I started meeting new people who helped me with accommodation and finding the tennis club. They really are my heroes.

Staying Strong and Enjoying Myself

After staying with almost 15 different people in 2 weeks and all the emotional and health struggles I was stronger than ever. And I knew I already succeeded. Meanwhile, even though I was going through such a hard time I look at the pictures I have taken now and I realize I still managed to enjoy the hell out of this trip. And that’s one of the most important things in life I think; always finding a way to appreciate the steps and make your journey more fun, and enjoy who you are, where you are, and they all become just a cool story to talk about in the end. And 3 months later I am sitting in my house in Stockholm and writing this article doesn’t feel like it’s real. I think now I know anything is possible as long as you believe and go for it. So now you are ready for a trip to anywhere.

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 Let me talk about my favorites of Stockholm:

People and Culture- Everyone looks young and well-groomed, speaks perfect English and very friendly, but never in your business.

Gamla Stan (Old City), is my favorite place for walking by the water, shopping, a lot of history, great food, fika (coffee break) and ice skating in winter. Also the Royal Palace and all the other cool ancient buildings make you feel like Vikings are about to show up. It’s always busy but calm.

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Peaceful Places- If you like the nature or want to go for a morning run you got it! My two favorite spots so far a little outside of the city called Sollentuna and Rotebro. It’s very calm and beautiful with all the duck families and lakes. You can find some cafes around as well.

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One magical thing about Stockholm is, it reminds me of the cycle of life. There is always different periods in life with different difficulties yet different beauties. It doesn’t matter when you visit this amazing place, you will always get to experience some kind of beauty and glamour all around you! I think it’s easier to talk about the beauty of this city with the pictures than the words. 

Here is the summary of 2 seasons in Stockholm which explains a lot!


You imagine how beautiful the summer would be!! But until then I will be enjoying some nice “white” days.


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