The Gustavian Weekly

Tales from Abroad – Bryden Giving | The Gustavian Weekly

By Bryden Giving - Guest Writer | January 22, 2016 | Tales from Abroad, Variety

Stockholm, Sweden is the capital of Sweden and located on a number of Islands  on Lake Malaren

Stockholm, Sweden is the capital of Sweden and located on a number of Islands on Lake Malaren

Hey there, fellow Gusties! I will be honest and admit that I am not sad about missing the freezing weather at Gustavus. I do miss you all, and I am really looking forward to seeing you kids in the Spring! But, what am I doing for my January term? I’m in Sweden! Why would I choose another cold place to be for my January term?

Gustavus has a wonderful scholarship known as the Wallenberg Intern Award, and with this award you do an internship in Sweden for a January term or a May term.

The scholarship pays for everything: your housing, transportation, flight tickets, and even a generous allowance for food. My Gustie peers, make sure to check this out because it’s a remarkable opportunity to go to Sweden for free!

My internship is with a company known as Solhagagagruppen, which is reputable company that creates a variety of tools and methods to help children and adults with special needs attain their autonomy, reach personal goals, and live better lives.

Specifically, I am researching and working hands on with these individuals, and am given the exciting (yet scary) task of creating new models and approaches Solhagagruppen can use to better their patients’ lives.

My favorite part of this entire internship is having a multitude of chances to connect with these vulnerable persons. Often enough, many of these children are abandoned by their parents due to their parents realizing that their child has a mental diagnoses/special need and want nothing to do with them, which is extremely disheartening.

These children have a hard time connecting with others emotionally, and are having a hard time adapting to our ableist society. Bonding with these children and showing that they do have purpose makes every single difficult moment worth it. It’s stressful and challenging, but also important work aiding these children.

Gustavus has a wonderful scholarship known as the Wallenberg Intern Award, and with this award you do an internship in Sweden for a January term or a May term.

Besides my internship, my month abroad offers me opportunities to travel. Just recently, I arrived back home in Stockholm from an adventurous weekend in Munich, Germany. My friend and photography mentor, Sophia Mayrhofer, invited me to spend the weekend with her in her hometown of Munich.

Her photography skills are unmatched (seriously, she needs to photograph my future wedding) and her warm love for Munich is beautiful. She brought Katie Kemp (another Gustie interning in Sweden) and I to her favorite spots. We ate traditional German food, desserts, and drank delicious German beer and wine.

Uppsala Cathedral is a cathedral dating back to the late 13th century currently controlled by the Lutheran Church of Sweden.

Uppsala Cathedral is a cathedral dating back to the late 13th century currently controlled by the Lutheran Church of Sweden.

The city of Munich appeared as a romantic, winter wonderland which allowed my inner photographer to go absolutely nuts. Besides showing us her favorite spots, she shared with me some spectacular knowledge on post-processing and other techniques that have enhanced my knowledge of photography.

Along with visiting Germany, I will have the opportunity to visit my second home of Copenhagen, Denmark after I complete my work at a weekend special needs camp.

I do miss you all, and I am really looking forward to seeing you kids in the Spring! But, what am I doing for my January term? I’m in Sweden!

If only I could describe to you my excitement at having the chance to revisit Copenhagen I would. The opportunity to revisit my favorite spots, the exquisite castles and cafes,and to photograph the vibrant life of the Danes fuels me with such energy it warms me up immensely.

Along with revisiting Copenhagen, I will be meeting with Danish colleagues of mine and maybe surprise some of our Gustie pals that are now studying abroad in Copenhagen for the semester.

Combining my work with my passion of photography through-out this January term has given me a grand amount to be thankful, and has made lucid my potential for helping others and photography.

I am looking forward to seeing what I can do for Solhagagruppen, and what I am able to create to better the lives of children and adults that have special needs. I appreciate you reading this column and I will see you wonderful human beings in February! Stay warm!