Stockholm 101: Surpassed Expectations

Hey everyone! So I’ve been here in Stockholm for three days now and I couldn’t wait to share everything I’ve experienced so far with you.

I arrived this Sunday around 17:00 (5 PM) and met up with a fellow SDSU student at the airport. It was really nice to not be alone while I was figuring out how to settle in. We stayed in a hostel that night which was a new experience for me and it was great! There were young people from all over and the vibe was much different from normal hotels.

That night we took a quick walk around the city and grabbed a quick meal. I, of course, had traditional Swedish meatballs. And they were fantastic! So far my experience with Swedish food has been wonderful. Many of the dishes contain fish as Stockholm is located right on the water. But they also have many hearty dishes meant to keep you warm during the cold, dark winters here.

It has been 32º Fahrenheit which is about 0º Celsius this whole week. Not as cold as it could be, but it has been snowing the whole time which has left a beautiful blanket over campus. It’s a lot different from the Southern California sunshine I’m used to, but I’m enjoying the experience nonetheless.

The second day I was here, I travelled to campus by cab since I had so much luggage. Once there, I received the keys to my dorm room in Campus Lappis which is a 10 minute walk from campus. I was nervous about carrying my huge bags so far, especially because here they cover the walkways with gravel to keep the paths from becoming too icy. But I began the trek and tried my best. Two minutes in I realized I needed help, and I was lucky enough to spot a cab at that exact moment. Normally I would’ve taken the walk with no problem, but with so many bags it made sense to just suck it up and pay.

Once at my dorm, a fellow student from Germany was kind enough to offer me help up the stairs with my bag. It was much needed because my room is on the third floor! The rooms here are pretty big and I lucked out with everything that was in mine. I received a bed/mattress, two desks, three chairs, a shelf, as well as the built in cabinet and bathroom. In addition, I have a great view over the main courtyard and the student who occupied the room before me left a lot of smaller things that will be nice to have during my stay (water boiler, tea cup, sleeping bag, etc.).

As soon as I settled into my room, it was time to head to orientation at Aula Magna, the main seminar hall on campus. When I arrived, I met up with a few SDSU students as well as about 6 students from Chicago. It was nice to meet so many people right off the bat and I have been able to meet up with them for a ton of events since. For orientation, we received lots of information about the student union, classes, health services, and student tours and trips. We were also given free sim cards, journals, and bags that say “Stockholm University” on them.

sign     ikea

Overall, the first day at school was great and exceeded every expectation I had had. Throughout this week, the Student Union has organized events, tours, and parties for all the exchange students – about 300 of us – to take part in. Yesterday, I took a tour of the library and was able to orient myself with the website so that I can order and reserve books for my classes. Stockholm University is the largest university in all of Scandinavia as I learned at orientation, and keen on teaching students how to research materials on their own. I am excited to explore their library and find all the materials I may need for my classes. (That’s probably the nerd in me speaking).

I took a tour of the entire campus and found out that 67,000 students attend Stockholm University! The campus here is very modern in its architecture but very beautiful at the same time. There are many cafeterias, cafes, and even pubs on campus that are spread out for the students in each department to enjoy. I can’t wait to start my classes next week to become more comfortable with the layout of the school.

I think my favorite part of the day though, was the bus tour we took to IKEA. The Student Union organizes a three hour tour so we could eat, shop, and relax. It was much needed because many of us had to buy cooking utensils, bedding, as well as bathroom necessities. I only spent about 330 Kroner, which is approximately $45, but I got a pillow, silverware, a mattress pad, and much more.

Today I am getting some work done in the library and will be heading to the market to pick up food for the week when I am done. Tonight, the pubs all over campus are opening up for a Pub Crawl from 15:00 (3 PM) until 3:00 (3 AM). My friends and I are heading over around 18:00 and are excited to meet more people on campus. But there are still many more activities planned for this week.

Tomorrow, there is a party at a club downtown and Friday there is a bus tour of the city! I have already signed up for both of course. This weekend, I will probably explore the city some more before classes start. For the first half of the semester, I am taking one class on Sweden Society and one on Viking Archaeology. I’m super excited to start them and hope that I meet a ton of new people.

Overall, my expectations have been completely surpassed in the first few days. I know there will be challenges ahead, but I am really excited to continue immersing myself in Swedish culture and learning in an international classroom. I hope to post again soon to keep you all updated with my adventures.

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