With Romania‘s Eurovision entry considered something of an underdog this year, The Local’s Patrick Reilly discovers why many of the thousands of Romanians in Sweden can relate to that uphill slog.
Romania has never won the Eurovision Song Contest and few from their community in Malmö expect their entry It’s My Life to break that trend on May 18th.
This year’s Romanian contender features the lyric "It’s my life and I know it’s not forever." That’s a sentiment that many of the 2,151 immigrants from the country can identify with when assessing their situation in Malmö.
Speaking with The Local, many said that Sweden had given them the chance to earn a better living, but that barriers remain.
"It doesn’t matter what job you have in Sweden, it is well paid in comparison to Romania," says Daniel Melciu.
Melciu, 26, knows better than anybody the pros and cons of swapping his native Timisoara for Malmö. A trained mechanical engineer, he came to Sweden in 2009 hoping get into a prestigious technical university. Four years and several part-time courses later, he has yet to be accepted.
Melciu earns a living by driving a truck, which he says is rewarding financially if not mentally.
"Had I stayed in Romania I would earn 6,000 kronor ($920) a month as an engineer. In Sweden, a truck driver will make 17,000 kronor minimum so it is big difference."
He said his degree from one of the biggest universities in Romania had not been enough to get into his college of choice, and that so far the extra courses he had gotten under his belt had not yielded any results.
"It’s frustrating," he said.
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