Attracting young Swedish professionals
"My trainee internship completely changed my life.."
A visit from Sweden’s Minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask ( Chicago to study organized crime), and delicious "semlor" raised the attendance at the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce’s event about the J-1 visa trainee program, which seeks to connect young Swedish talent with U.S. businesses.

SACC–USA’s J-1 visa trainee program offers a valuable asset for hosting American companies, and at the same time provides young Swedish professionals with the opportunity for international exposure and experience as a trainee in the U.S.


According to attorney Annette Gustafsson Guenther, among the benefits for a host company are guidance and assistance through the application process to get the most suitable candidate for the company. For a relatively low cost, the company will get a motivated, well-educated and bilingual trainee with a European perspective.
In exchange, the young Swedish professionals gain experience in a U.S. organization and the chance to immerse themselves in a different culture.

It’s important to acknowledge that the trainee program is not a program to get employment, because (after the J-1 visa is complete) the trainee should go back to his home country.
“Don’t misuse your visa-status because otherwise you can’t come back,” said Gustafsson Guenther. “Take good care of it and follow the rules. Short-term solutions can be tempting but it’s not worth it because it will give you long-term problems.”

Ylva Sjögreen, student at DePaul University, attended because she is searching for possibilities to stay in America after graduation.
“I’m looking for more long-term solutions and the trainee program is more short-term, but I guess it can open up opportunities,” she said.

Former trainee student Linnea Bengtsson, now international business developer at Lidköping Kommun, has only positive feelings towards the trainee program and would definitely recommend it.
“I came as a trainee intern to Rockford and I had a really good experience, and I have basically been here every since,” said Bengtsson. “My trainee internship completely changed my life.”

Gunn Johnsson, executive administrator for SACC–Chicago, was satisfied with the interest in the event.
“It was very nice to see a big crowd with a lot of young people interested in a trainee program. Hopefully, some will get a trainee position,” said Johnsson.

By Erik Kinnhammar

For more info on SACC Chicago, see SACC Chicago