Ever since I was young, my family have moved around because of my fathers work. Because of this, we also travel to multiple nearby countries to where we live, and I have gotten to experience multiple different cultures. In this post, I will be looking at the power and privilege through the environment and political aspect in Sweden and Japan.
To start, I will look at the environmental differences between Sweden and Japan. Since both countries are well off economically, they have the ability to change their environments, however, as there are multiple differences in aspects such as geographical location and culture, the environments differ greatly. In Sweden, there are big cities, however, the majority of the country is vastly surrounded by nature, such as rivers, forests, and farmland. However, where I live in Japan, it is a concrete jungle of big cities and shopping experiences. As Japan is heavily influenced by American culture, there are many shopping opportunities, and unfortunately, not much nature, as I am used to, being from Europe. Of course, having a good tourist destination is also useful as it makes countries well off economically, so since Japanese culture differs greatly from European culture, many people choose Japan as a vacation destination in order to experience the country. Due to this, it makes Japan well off economically as tourism brings in a lot of money. This is also the case for Sweden, big cities, such as Stockholm, get a lot of tourists as the city is widely known. Sweden also gets a lot of visitors due to natural phenomenon in the environment. One instance of this is the northern lights that can be seen up in the north. So, even though the two countries have great differences in environment, both are well off economically in term of tourism, but for different reasons. In Sweden, there is high importance on protecting the environment (image 2).
The second point that can be made is regarding politics. In the past few years, the number of refugees in Sweden has rapidly increased, for example, as of 2016, there 116,384 citizens of Syria (70,060 men, 46,324 women). My family always travel home during the Summer, and in the summer of 2018, I traveled to visit my grandfather in Båstad on my own. Båstad is a very common town for refugees as it is very small and safe. Because it is a small town, the majority of the people in the town know each other personally and it is the norm to talk to people, even strangers because it is a very social place. So while I was there, my family wasn’t there, and neither were my friends, so when I would be out I would be introduced to new people and I would talk to new people on the bus on my way to my driving lessons. It was really interesting to hear about their stories and journeys in being refugees and coming into a new country having nothing and having had to leave everything behind. In some cases, people are also not really free to practice their own religion openly and are not fully accepted due to the circumstances in which they came to the country. As a psychology student, I found myself thinking about how such trauma would have had an effect on them. I knew that the quality of life for refugees is not always the best, but I had no idea to what extent it affected people. Because of this, I realized how privileged I am and how I, and other people who live a similar lifestyle to me, sometimes take this privilege for granted.