My time here in Stockholm has been life changing! Unfortunately, this trip is coming to an end soon and I could not be more sad. As I sit here and reflect on my time I have realized many things. I guess I should start from the beginning though!
First impressions. As I stepped off the plane I chatted so some nice people, Jay and Maggie, from Stockholm and they told me things I should expect from my time here. To begin with, it’s hardly ever dark. I arrived at 6:30 and the sun was already high in the sky. The sun is out from about 3 am – 11 pm, and it is quite hard to go to sleep when the sun is still fully out and not even setting yet. Another thing I was amazed by that they warned me about was the cleanliness! The city itself is incredibly clean and safe. People just leave their bikes around the city and no one steals it (this was quite a shock for someone who grew up near Detroit!). The incredible beauty of the city is another thing that took me off guard. The old architecture is breath taking, it was one of the first things I took a picture of.
The only difficult thing about my first few minutes in Stockholm was trying to get a cab to our hotel. Two of my fellow classmates had the same flight from the states as me so we all got a cab together. The kid who decided to try to ask one to take us to our destination has a very thick southern accent and I don’t know if its because the cab driver didn’t speak English, or because he couldn’t understand the southerness, either way he straight up said no and drove off! After a few minutes of laughter we found a cab driver that spoke English and got us to our location. The hardest part about first landing was the language barrier, but quickly we learned that almost everyone speaks english so if you can’t read something, just ask and they will translate! In addition to this connivence, one of my classmates is actually fluent in Swedish so she is a great tool to have! The one phrase that we have all picked up on however is the Swedish version of “That’s dope.”
Stockholm has quickly become one of my favorite places because of a few things. To begin with the cleanliness that I had mentioned earlier. But more so than that, the people. Everyone here is so incredibly nice! From random people helping us on the metro to the hotel guests that knows they are going to need to translate the menus for us, no matter what it is everyone is so helpful and friendly. No one bats an eye when we ask questions. Never once have I felt scolded for being an “ignorant american.” The locals here are incredible. We have made friends with many of the hotel workers. One of the workers brother’s lives in Florida, he got very excited that one of my classmates is from there. I will miss the friendliness when I go home. Overall, I feel like there aren’t many differences between us and locals, other than our locations. Because of this, it is easy to fit in.
While here, I am taking two classes. One history and one political science class both dealing with Scandinavian specifics.I am apart of a faculty lead program so they are two UA professors that have come with us to teach the classes. Dr. Miller and Dr. Riches are both great professors who place importance on the abroad part of study abroad and want to make sure we make the most of our time here in Sweden as opposed to being stuck inside studying all the time. My class is extremely small with only 6 students in the program. We all get along great and have become fast friends! I have become extremely good friends with one girl, Kasey and we even have a class together back at school next semester!
Luckily, the professors even set up a long weekend for us to travel while here, as well! During that long weekend, three of my classmates and I traveled to Paris for a jam packed weekend full of tourist attractions and fun! Along with the long weekends all of our afternoons are class free so my friends and I have been trying to do some other things here in Stockholm. We have gone to the Vasa Ship Museum, the Swedish History Museum, Parliament, the Palace, and many different parts of Stockholm just walking around.
Now that my time here in Stockholm is coming to a close I face a few challenges. To begin with, packing. My suitcase was already pretty close to the weight limit on my way here and I have acquired a few souvenirs. I had to obviously get gifts for family and friends that have supported me on this great adventure, and had to get myself something to remember this experience by! Also, as the semester ends I have tests and papers for my classes, so that is an added stress. Overall, I wish I could simply stay here forever but bring my family and friends here because I do miss them.
So long for now! And roll tide from the Baltic Sea!