In all honesty, I am in love with Sweden. The food, the people, the architecture, I love it all. Every aspect of Sweden has become all my very favorite things. The Swedish culture has always intrigued me and now I get to live in it. I get to experience the lifestyle, the great shopping, delicious food, and so much more.
So far, from what I have tried, the Swedish food consists of lots of potatoes (potatis), fish (fisk), and Swedish meatballs (köttbullar). Everything is so yummy. Stockholm has a very diverse culture so walking down the street I pass Italian, Asian, and even Persian food. Everywhere I go, there are so many options. One thing you can’t pass up if you go to Sweden is Fika. Fika is a popular Swedish concept treated as a coffee break. It is very encouraged, even by professors, to take a break to grab coffee and a pastry. This small break allows for you to relax with friends, colleagues, or classmates. My typical Fika consists of an oat milk latte (oat milk originated in Sweden) and princess cake. Princess cake is a light cake with whipped cream and raspberry filling – it is delicious.
English is pretty much the second language to most Swedes. However, they do appreciate when we use Swedish such as saying “hej” (hey) or “tack” (thank you). Sometimes it can be overwhelming being immersed in a culture where your first language is easily spoken. In Sweden, I appreciate being able to communicate comfortably with the locals. My program, DIS Stockholm, offers a Swedish language and culture class which has been great for learning about where I now live. Since taking this course, I can order at cafes, have simple conversations, and I am continuing to learn.
The thing I have observed the most here is that most Swedes are reserved and tend to keep to themselves. This idea of modesty and reservation is called: The Law of Jante. It is a general knowledge in Sweden that behavior like standing out and bragging is not appropriate for this culture. Before learning about this in my Swedish language and culture class, I noticed that Swedish style consists of mostly neutral colors, and many try to blend in. The Law of Jante is so different than our typical American Dream ideals. Americans promote uniqueness and success, while Sweden shies away from it. The law is generally an unspoken rule of Swedes and not a taught concept.
Sweden fits my personality and my lifestyle choices. I was pleasantly surprised coming to Sweden, and I am loving it so much more than I expected. I am excited to continue learning about the culture and getting to write about it to you all. Vi ses nästa gång (see you next time)!