Hej alla från Sverige! Life is good. I have now lived in Sweden for over two months and I don’t even want to think about having to leave in June.
As soon as I stepped off the plane, I fell hard for this place. When I first drove from the airport to my cousin’s, it almost felt like I had never left Minnesota. The trees lining the highway looked like Minnesota trees, the landscape looked like the Minnesota landscape, even the weather was the same. Except for the beautiful old buildings, nothing was different.
Maybe this is why I’ve never been homesick, because this place felt like home as soon as I got here. The only thing I need is a dog and I’m set to stay here forever.
This is my first time ever leaving the United States and although I’m traveling a little, my goal has been to explore my host country the best I can.
So far, I’ve done this with the help of my Swedish cousins who live throughout the country. There is no better way to see a new place than to have a local guide you.
As winter is slowly coming to an end, the Swedes are flocking outside to sit in the warmth of the sun.
There is no better feeling than going to a cafe, getting a pastry and a coffee for fika, and sitting outside or taking a walk through Gamla Uppsala around the Viking burial bounds, an important part of Scandinavian culture.
At Uppsala University, classes are different than at Gustavus. I only have a couple classes a week and most of them aren’t mandatory. I only take one class at a time, but I am expected to study 40 hours a week as a full time student here.
I’ve had classes here that are made up by all exchange students and I’ve had a class where I was the only exchange student in a class of all Swedes.
“This place felt like home as soon as I got here. The only thing I need is a dog and I’m set to stay here forever.”
The student life here is comparable to no others. There are thirteen nations that put on events every day of the week. They have student run pubs and restaurants, and have clubs every week, often themed.
As an exchange student, I can choose to join any nation or join multiple nations.
As any typical exchange student, I’m traveling Europe as much as I can without missing out on the fantastic student life that Uppsala University provides. My first trip was up to Swedish Lapland, with a quick stop in Norway.
I was able to pet and feed reindeer, go dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, see the Northern Lights, sauna and roll in the snow, and many more classic Scandinavian winter activities.
I traveled to Amsterdam, Netherlands to visit family friends and also explored Tilburg and The Hague, the political capital of the Netherlands. I will wrap up my travels this semester by going to Krakow, Poland, my family’s farm in Northern Sweden, the Faroe Islands, and Italy.
One of the major reasons I decided to study abroad in Sweden was my family. My ancestors all came from Sweden to Minnesota in the early 20th century and we have kept in touch with our cousins there.
Over Easter break I will have the opportunity to visit the family homestead where my great-grandfather grew up and where my family still lives.
I also got the chance to go to a Swedish elementary school to visit my little cousin’s second grade English class.
As a guest from another country, I felt like a celebrity because I was constantly surrounded by second graders trying to talk to me, both in Swedish and in English.
My time at Uppsala University has been an unforgettable experience and I know the friendships and memories I’ve made here will last for years to come.
Tack och ha en bra dag!