Kompis Stories - Ieva and Rehima

Ieva and Rehima connected instantly

Ieva and Rehima became buddies through Kompis Sverige and they both describe an instant connection. We met the buddies and spoke about their friendship, the challenges of moving to a new country, and how interactions with other people can move you closer to humanity.

What do these two buddies have in common? Quite a lot as it shows. Among other things, they both left their home countries for a new life in Sweden – even if it may be with a gap of many years in between. Ieva came to Sweden from Lithuania 20 years ago and discovered in the meeting with Rehima that she felt the same emotions as a lot of the people arriving in Sweden today experience. She describes it as an incredibly verifying and comforting feeling – realizing that her and Rehima’s experiences were a lot alike, although very different and unique at the same time.  

When Ieva listened to the journalist Diamant Salihu speaking in the Swedish radio show “Sommar i P1” she was inspired to apply to Kompis Sverige. In the episode Salihu highlighted the importance of having a connection with an established swede when arriving to Sweden and how it can make people feel more welcome and less scared. When Ieva moved to Sweden she already had Swedish connections and she remembers how it facilitated her establishing in Sweden. She explains how she through her friendship wanted to give back and thank for the possibility and help she received when she moved here. She describes how she was welcomed with warmth and open arms and how she wishes this to continue for everyone who comes here. Right after listening to the radio show she registered to become a buddy. It didn’t take long before she was matched with Rehima.  

We are motivated by the same things regardless of where we come from. We just need to let each other be humans, then we will all be a lot closer.


Rehima came to Sweden from Ethiopia for love and got a tip from her school about Kompis Sverige. She wanted to get to know someone she could speak Swedish with in her everyday life. The first time the two buddies met they had coffee together and Rehima remembers how nervous she was before the meeting. However, the feeling of nervousness faded quickly and ever since that first meeting, they have stayed in contact on an almost daily basis.  

To discover your new hometown 

On top of the daily chats over the phone, the friends meet about once a week. They usually try to discover new parts of Stockholm together. Rehima explains how she, together with Ieva, has gotten to see many beautiful parts of the city and experienced things she never had before. A memory she holds close to her heart is when they went to the ABBA-museum together, “I like ABBA so that was fun”, she explains.  

Ieva is kind and open. She showed me many beautiful things. That’s the most fun, spending time with her and at the same time learning the language and a bit about the Swedish culture.” 


To move to a new country 

A big part of moving to a new country is the language. Rehima explains how she felt nervous about speaking Swedish but how the friendship with Ieva made her realize that she knows more than she thinks. Ieva remembers how she, just like Rehima, in the beginning thought she would never be able to learn the language – but that it as a matter of fact was possible.  

Apart from the language they both describe the challenge of arriving in a new culture with new people and that it sways back and forth until you start to feel comfortable. Moving abroad is to move away from safety to a huge uncertainty. Ieva means that it is important to understand what a brave thing it is to do and how tough it can be to go through this phase of change. The two buddies sharing these emotions enables them to help each other, understand themselves and their individual experiences.  

To feel like a part of something bigger 

Ieva reflects on how her friendship with Rehima has made her feel more linked to humanity and the common feelings we share as human beings. She thinks that friendships have the capacity to break down loneliness, something that everyone has experienced at some point. She also speaks about responsibility. To reach out and help, or to ask for help, it brings people together. If we do that, we will feel better – we feel less lonely, closer to each other and better in our everyday life.  

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