Gaining Cultural Perspective

Here is the latest update on all things happening with me in Stockholm!

Time is flying by and I can’t believe March is already upon us. I have done so much in my time here and yet there is still so much more to do. My most recent adventure led me to Amsterdam! A few friends from Stockholm University and I left on Friday and flew straight to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.

The flight was surprisingly quick, only an hour, and we headed straight to our hostel, which was close to the city center. That first night we got in pretty late, so we grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to a nightclub called “Escape.” It was really fun to go out with my friends in a new place and we met so many cool people throughout the night!

The next day we hit the ground running and booked a Canal Bus tour to see the city without getting drenched in the rain. It was a great tour and it stopped at the Rijksmuseum which we visited right after lunch at a small café. The museum was amazing! It has been newly renovated and the layout was both easy to navigate and captivating in design. We were able to see Van Gogh’s self-portrait and the famous “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt, among many other beautiful works of art.

That night I was lucky enough to spend time with my older half-sister, Chenée, who has lived in the Netherlands her whole life. It was so great to be able to spend time with her since it’s so much harder to visit her when I’m in California. She gave me some great tips about what to do in Amsterdam while we talked over some delicious Indonesian food. We chatted until midnight and even then it wasn’t enough time. I am so thrilled to be in close proximity to Chenée now and can’t wait for her to visit me in Stockholm in May!

The next day, we headed over to the original Heineken Brewery for a tour. It was a really cool experience seeing how the company has evolved throughout the years as well as to get a small taste of Heineken. After the tour, we grabbed a quick lunch before heading to the famous “I amsterdam” sign located outside the Rijkmuseum. The sunny weather on this day allowed for much better pictures… which of course is super important for Facebook and Instagram!

On Monday morning, before we left, we were lucky enough to make it to the Anne Frank house without a long line. I had been there once before, but it was a great experience to learn about the struggle Anne and her family went through before being caught. There were no pictures allowed inside, but the memory of her story will stay with me nonetheless.

After returning to Stockholm, I had to get some work for school done. My dad has been joking that I’m not really studying abroad, but mostly traveling abroad. But I promise, I’m actually getting work done as well! I just had to turn in my first paper for my Swedish Society class and am waiting to hear back about how I did. Fingers crossed! My next class, The Viking Age in Northern Europe and Along the Eastern Routes, has just begun and I am so excited to learn more about the archaeological evidence that tells the story of the Vikings. Once again, I only have class once a week which is so, so awesome! There is definitely a lot of reading to do outside of class, but I am really enjoying the material so it’s not too much of a pain.

Studying at a university abroad has been such an amazing experience. In each class, there are students from France, Sweden, India, Australia, and so on. I have made so many friends from around the world and it has been an incredible experience to witness how our different backgrounds give us different perspectives within the classroom as well as outside of it. I am hoping to keep meeting people from around the world and to continue learning from them.

This next week I am mainly going to hang around Stockholm to keep getting acquainted with the city. This past weekend, a few girls and I went to T-Centralen (the central metro station) to shop at the huge indoor mall called Gallerian. While I’m trying to save most of my money for traveling and necessities, it was really nice to buy a few extra things for my room and myself!

Coming up, I have some incredible trips planned and I can’t wait to share my experiences with all of you. In two weeks, I am heading on another weekend cruise to Helsinki, Finland. Hopefully we make it to the dock on time! The weekend after that, my parents are coming to visit me. I’m so excited to show them around campus, my dorm, as well as downtown. They are both incredibly supportive of my time here, my traveling, as well as the ability to gain a cultural education while I’m abroad. My father is a pilot for Delta Airlines and my mother is a flight attendant for United Airlines so they have a lot of experience traveling and have passed that passion on to me. I have been lucky enough to travel many places with them and I am so grateful for the experiences travel has given me. This semester is an incredible time for me to build on my own cultural understanding as well as learn more about myself. I will keep you all posted on that revelation (or what not) as well!

Thank you all for reading, see you soon!

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