Expecting Change and New Experiences in Stockholm, Sweden

Let me start by telling you about myself and where I come from. My name is Emily Estrada and I am a senior majoring in public administration at the SDSU Imperial Valley Campus in Calexico.

Some of you may not be familiar with this campus so let me give you a little bit of information on it. It’s located in a rural border-town community with approximately 1,000 students. It is highly populated with Hispanic minority students and primarily serves students that come from the surrounding agricultural towns of Imperial County, that include Brawley, Imperial and El Centro, in addition to the city of Calexico. 

“We have the choice of either letting our fear take away from new experiences or embracing change and growing from it.”

Studying In Sweden
This fall I will be experiencing an SDSU study abroad exchange program at Stockholm University in Sweden. I will participate in courses on Japanese popular culture and consumption, the Baltic Sea and multiculturalism in education and society.

My home will be Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden, which stretches over 14 islands. This city has been referred to many times as the “Venice of the North.” Stockholm is well known for the Swedish history that it contains and preserves (there are nearly 100 museums), its Scandinavian design and architecture (yes, it’s more than the lovely IKEA designs many of us are familiar with), and the many attractions throughout the city.

With only up to six hours of daylight at times during the winter months, it will definitely be interesting to experience the weather in Sweden.

Thoughts before I leave

There comes a time in life when you realize that everything you know is completely foreign to someone else on the other side of the world. It’s a strange thought that can either intrigue someone or cause fear and anxiety of the unknown. It can be difficult to experience something that is new to our understanding and different from what we’re used to.

We have the choice of either letting our fear take away from new experiences or embracing change and growing from it.

There are so many thoughts and ideas that come to my mind when I hear the word “change.” This is a word that seems so simple when it rolls off the tongue, but is much more meaningful once it gravitates towards one’s sense of understanding. When I reflect on changes that I have experienced I feel a sense of confidence and growth within myself.

I feel that everything I’ve gone through, and all the difficult situations I’ve faced throughout my life, have led me to venture out to Sweden. The moment I said yes and told myself I wanted to make this decision a reality, I was inspired to seek out an experience that would ultimately help me view the world from a different perspective and surround myself with an unfamiliar culture.

The steps of choosing a study abroad program, completing the application and preparing for my trip have brought me to this moment. I really look forward to embracing changes that I’ll undergo studying abroad and the Swedish culture that I will soon be immersed in.

I feel that there is a type of perspective that you should have when traveling to new places. If you can be open to trying new things and be somewhat spontaneous, then I think you can have a rejuvenating peace of mind with the changes and situations you’ll face.

As I have pretty much always been a part of a rural border-town community with close Hispanic cultural ties, I expect to go through a lot of changes during my time in Sweden. I feel that I have the opportunity to have a greater impact on my campus by sharing my study abroad experience with other students and encouraging them to enhance their perspectives towards global diversity and cultural acceptance. I also hope that I can create a greater tie between SDSU main campus and SDSU Imperial Valley through my participation as an SDSU Be International blogger.

I’m excited to venture out on this experience and gain a new perspective through meeting new people and becoming familiar with the Swedish culture in Stockholm!

Emily Estrada is a public administration major attending SDSU Imperial Valley in Calexico, Calif. She will be participating in an SDSU study abroad exchange program at Stockholm University during fall semester.







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