After being back in the US for six days, sometimes it feels like I never left. Everything looks as it did before I left four months ago and it didn’t take me long to get used to being back home. But now, I know there’s more out there and I find myself reflecting about the four months I spent in Stockholm as one of the best, eye opening experiences of my life.
Learning to think like a Swede is drastically different from how Americans act. For example, Swedes really value rules and order and are very closed off in public and mind their own business. I got used to going through the metro or shopping without talking to anyone! One of my first interactions back in the Chicago airport was with a a stranger explaining where he was flying and he was going to propose to his girlfriend! It was an interesting way to be welcomed back to the US!
A Nice Goodbye
During my last week in Stockholm, I made sure to do the things I knew I would miss the most. That meant eating all my favorite foods, seeing the sights I would miss, and visiting my favorite people. I went to the Royal Opera House to watch the Nutcracker ballet with one of my closest friends, went shopping in the tourists shops for some nice souvenirs, out to dinner to my favorite restaurants, visited my last few free museums, and just walked around the city for the last time.
What I’ve Learned
Studying abroad in Stockholm helped me grow so much as a person! Four months ago, I never thought I could live in a large city, but now, I wish I could back to city life! I learned to be more independent in things like cooking, cleaning, planning trips, and prioritizing school. I also learned to be open to new experiences, and I have developed a bigger appreciation for nature and challenging activities (mostly thanks to my LLC!)–I have learned to challenge myself intellectually and physically instead of staying in my comfort bubble. I feel more confident as a person because I have accomplished these things! I’m also proud of the little Swedish I managed to pick up!
Academically, I think my program really helped me explore another field of Psychology that I had never learned about before. The hands of field trips around Stockholm and in other cities helped me see the practical applications of Forensic Psychology in future career options. I really enjoyed exploring criminal injustices and visiting facilities that work with recidivism and now know that I can explore those topics as possible future careers! It was also really nice to be in a class of other students who were interested in that specific field as well.
Back to Wofford
I can honestly say I’m not that excited to head back to school. In Stockholm, life felt more exciting: with commuting to school, living in an apartment, and being in the center of a city, there was always something to do! But now, it is back to school to finish my lab requirements and plan my senior theses. Living on my own for four months makes me feel like I can do anything so I’m excited to take that mindset back to school and get through my final semesters! Of course, I’ll miss my water views the most!