Optometrist Monika’s journey: from India to Sweden

23/03 2021 - Stores

Optometrist Monika’s journey: from India to Sweden

When Monika Rajesh Kumar, born and raised in India, heard about the partnership at Specsavers, she immediately thought “I want to be a partner!”. She had just arrived and settled in Gothenburg with her husband and young daughter. Dedicated and with a wealth of experience in eye care, she started her journey to become a licensed optometrist by Swedish law. Not an easy road – learning a language you’re not familiar with – but she made it, and she now works at the Specsavers store in Partille, a suburb from Gothenburg.

Read this story in Danish | Dutch | Finnish | Swedish | Norwegian

“My husband is an engineer and his company has sent him to different countries in the past years. We lived in the United States, Brazil, before we came to Sweden. It’s really great to get the opportunity to experience different cultures, so you get to see the world from another perspective which has made me a wiser and better person.” Now, after all those years of living in different countries, they found a place to settle for a while. “We love Sweden – it’s one of the best countries we’ve lived in! It’s comfortable, easy-going, people don’t have prejudices and don’t judge, the work environment is awesome, and the education for my daughter is the best.”


Monika is educated as an optometrist in India, obtained a master’s degree in optometry and ophthalmic technology, has worked in an eye hospital in Bengaluru, India, and lectured at a School of Optometry in that same city. Even though she has the right papers and many years of experience, she couldn’t start directly as an optometrist in Sweden. “When my husband was offered a job in Sweden, I started searching for work in optometry or related fields. Luckily, I knew a professor at Kalmar University, who was my senior during my study years. He told me that Specsavers helps foreigners to get their license to practice as an optometrist by Swedish law. So, he passed my resume to Specsavers, and that’s how they got to know me.”

Monika among the Partille store team

“Before I moved to Sweden, I’d already applied for my degree validation. That means the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare will look into the education and optometry degrees to see if they are valid in Sweden. This was the case – so there was no need for me to do extra schooling and I could go for the exam right away. There was only one more obstacle: they only offer the exam in Swedish, so I had to learn the language.”

Step by step

It took Monika seven months to learn Swedish – as opposed to the two years many people told her it would take. “I was so happy that Specsavers offered me private tuition, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to learn it so quickly. This was only the first step. The next was doing the exam at Karolinska Institute – and thankfully I did it in one go. After that, I had to do my internship for three months, which I did in the Specsavers Partille store. Then I had to do an online course about laws and regulations in Sweden, which took me a month. In May 2020, I finally got my Swedish license and could practice as an optometrist on my own. It’s a long process, and it took some time, but it was worth it!”

Now, Monika still works in the Partille store as an optometrist and contact lens practitioner. Her colleagues appreciate the expertise and experience she brought to the team. She’s able to interpret Fundus images, acts as a mentor to optometry students and supports with clinical issues. “I really love working in this store. There’s no stress – unlike India – and everything goes very smoothly. In India, I worked under the supervision of an ophthalmologist and had to do every test – no matter the patient's symptoms. Here in Sweden, we talk more with patients and focus on their needs. We do the same amount of work in less time – meaning a smoother process and no stress.”


When Monika first heard about the partnership at Specsavers, she immediately wanted to be one: “It was just the first thing that came to my mind. I think being a partner at Specsavers is comfortable. The partnership is flexible and you get lots of support from the support office. As a partner, you can focus on managing your team and helping your customers in the best way possible – which is challenging enough. Specsavers supports you with the rest. So, after hearing all those things, I just wanted to be a partner! Now, I’m happy that I got my optometrist license, but in a year or two, I’ll further think about the future.”

Monika with her optometry colleagues in the Partille store


The best thing that happened to Monika's career was getting a job at Specsavers. “I couldn’t have imagined getting a job here! But except that, I’m so proud that we have a high customer satisfaction rate: we have so many loyal customers who are happy and satisfied with the work we do. I believe that’s mainly because of the store’s cosy work environment and the amazing chemistry in our team. There are no prejudices, there’s no hierarchy – everyone is treated the same. That’s what makes it so much fun to work here.”

Monika is equally happy with the work environment in Sweden in general: “I appreciate the balance between work and private life. In that sense, Sweden is the most comfortable country to live in, compared to the others I have lived in. People just get here that it pays off if your employees are happy. In most countries, work comes first, but here it’s home that comes first – and that’s what I love about this country.”

Are you curious about the possibilities to become an optometrist or partner at Specsavers? You can read more about our store opportunities here, or just browse through our vacancies.

Watch film