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.