South Carolina to Stockholm

HejHej! My name is Bladen Bates and I am a junior at Wofford College. Coming from a town in South Carolina where it feels like everyone knows everyone (or at least their cousin or neighbor) to a city like Stockholm that is massive and read out has been quite thee culture shock. When walking the streets of Greenville I would smile, wave, and strike up conversations. But here, in Stockholm, privacy and personal space (especially on the public transportation) is everything.

Walking back to my apartment from the grocery store

Each of my classes so far has opened up with the traditional first day agenda of introducing ourselves and where we are from. In addition to answering those questions we have been asked “Why Stockholm?” To be honest, I did not choose to come to Sweden because it had been a lifelong passion of mine to see the Nordic or that my ancestors are Swedes. In fact, I choose to come to Stockholm purely because of the core course I am getting to take through DIS (the program I am enrolled in this semester). I am a Psychology and Art History double major on the Pre-Law track who is obsessed with any and everything having to do with learning about criminals. So when I learned that DIS Stockholm offered Forensic Psychology I was sold.

View of the pendeltåg (commuter train) from the platform

Coming to Stockholm knowing little to nothing about the city and country of Sweden itself I was nervous. Nervous that I would not be able to speak with locals. Nervous that the commute to and from school would be a pain and difficult to navigate. Nervous in general to be living across the world for four months. However, my excitement to go abroad and do something that will forever change me outweighed my nervousness. Once arriving in Stockholm my nerves calmed quite a bit when I learned that for the most part everyone in Stockholm and Sweden speaks English and that the public transportation system is very easy to navigate.

The streets of Stockholm

When I first toured Wofford and learned about the amazing study abroad programs I could not wait for my time to go aboard to come. My decision to study abroad is the second easiest decision I have ever made, with choosing to attend Wofford being the first.

Sight from a water tour of Stockholm

Tomorrow it will have been a week since I set foot in Sweden which is so hard to believe. I am looking forward to taking classes that Wofford does not have to offer and exploring the city with the friends I have already made in this short amount of time. I hope during this time I will personally gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the Swedish culture. On an academic level, I hope that my time here in Stockholm will instill a richer passion for Forensic Psychology that could eventually lead to career choices.