Swedish connection celebrated

Annual Yule Tide Breakfast provides a study of students’ semester in Sweden


The Scandinavian Studies Department will host its annual Yule Tide Breakfast Dec. 15 from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. in the Jackson Campus Center banquet rooms. Gustavus’ annual Yule breakfast is a traditional event that has been held since the mid-1980s.

Each year the breakfast features traditional Swedish foods and a themed presentation. This year’s focus will be on the student group that traveled to Sweden for the January and Spring terms of 2009.

Last spring semester, Professor of Scandinavian Studies Roland Thorstensson led a group of students on a survey of Sweden and Finland. The travelers went as far north as Kiruna, the northernmost city of Sweden located 90 miles north of the Arctic Circle, to study the Sami, the indigenous people of Scandinavia. The group experienced reindeer herding firsthand, the traditional trade of the Sami, among many other unique activities.

“It was like a choose your own adventure book. We got to make the trip what we wanted,” Senior Scandinavian Studies Major Andrew Nelson said.

The students stayed in various school dormitories during the course of the five-month trip, including a Sami school at Jokkmokk, Uppsala and Jonkoping.

Among the memorable sights were the Swedish Parliament and ICEHOTEL, the internally famous hotel seasonally built of ice. Outside of Stockholm, the group stayed at Al Chapma, a youth hostel that was partly located in a large boat.

Professor of English Eric Eliason will be leading the Spring 2011 Semester in Sweden.

“I think the value of study abroad … is something I’m willing to invest my time and a chunk of my career in,” Eliason said.

Past participants of the trip all relate very positive experiences.

“The things we got to do, looking back, it’s really mind-boggling. You wouldn’t be able to do them anywhere else,” Junior History and Scandinavian Studies major Valerie McClusky said.

The atmosphere of Scandinavian culture had both familiar and foreign aspects for the students. Many found that leaving behind their student clubs and extracurricular activities was very liberating.

“Everything slows down. You have the time to have a coffee with a friend,” Junior Accounting Major Emily Bull said.

“I had these expectations that [Swedish culture] wouldn’t be  modern, but it’s really not that different culturally than here,” Senior Scandinavian Studies Major Kyle Sommer said.

“The people are so welcoming, they’ll invite you into their homes,” Bull said.
Besides being a culturally fulfilling experience, the semester course also fulfills five Gustavus credits (NASP, NWEST, LARS, SOSCI, and a January Interim Experience).

“We’re a 24/7 learning experience in a whole new way, for five months,” Eliason said.

The program cost is very similar to a typical January/Spring on campus at Gustavus. Applications are due March 1, 2010 for the January/Spring of 2011. Only a small group of students will be accepted for the trip, so interested persons are encouraged to apply early.

6 thoughts on “Swedish connection celebrated

  1. This picture is not from Sweden. Its of the Mora, MN Dala horse! The picture was taken from wikipedia, which I am sure is a violation of some sort of copyright. Also, this is so insulting to the students that go to Gustavus that are from Mora. One look at the cover of The Weekly and I new it was the Mora Dala horse. I think some fact checking is much needed here! I’ve posted the wikipedia picture website below.

  2. I agree with Mary. I live thiry minutes from the Mora Dala horse and I have visited it multiple times. This is an insult to Mora, the Gustavus students from Mora, and the whole campus. THis is the wikipedia site Mary was speaking about.


    I just thought i’d let you know that this is unacceptable to mis represent the photo as “submitted” when it is clearly on wikipedia, and is clearly NOT from Mora.

  3. I would kindly like to point a rather large mistake that appeared on the front page of
    this week’s paper. You see, I grew up in Mora, MN and our town has a very large Dala
    horse of its own in order to visualize the town’s connection to its sister city, Mora,
    Sweden. It just so happens that the Dala horse you have on the front page is NOT from
    Mora, Sweden, but actually from Mora, MN. It is the EXACT same one I have seen thousands
    of times and the little green sign in the bottom right-hand corner of the picture proves
    this because it reads (in English): “Mora Civic Center; Turn Here”. Perhaps you should
    check your sources more carefully next time. Here is a link to the real Mora, Sweden
    dala horse, which is actually about 10 times larger than the one in Mora, MN. Thanks!

  4. Mary, Sam, and Cole,

    Thanks for letting us know about the problem with Swedish Dala horse we printed. I have replaced the image on the website with a Swedish flag, and have notified our editors of this situation.

    Thanks for your continued readership of the Weekly, and sorry for any confusion the image may have caused.

    Tom Lany
    Web Editor, The Gustavian Weekly

  5. Mary,

    One other clarification: the photos we had originally intended for the article this week were from the Semester in Sweden trip. Due to the limited resolution of the pictures, however, we had to use something else. We used Creative Commons to find a photo, and misread where the photo was from. This will be corrected in a future issue.


Comments are closed.