A few days ago I asked you to send in questions about living in Stockholm so far. Here’s what I have to say!
Q: Hi Olivia! Looking forward to hearing about all of your adventures. How is university different in Stockholm compared to what you have experienced in the US?
DIS, the program I’m in, isn’t actually part of a specific university, so I can’t say that I know exactly! It’s meant to be similar to college in the US, with the classes set up and graded the same way.
That said, there are plenty of differences between DIS and my school in the US. I’m used to being on a small campus almost all the time where nothing is more than a 15-minute walk away, but here I have to commute around the city to get to class, buy anything I need, or even do assignments. It’s like the city is the campus, which makes it exciting, but also takes a lot of planning!
The culture also has a noticeable impact on the experience. The teachers and professors, who come from other institutions in Stockholm, have a more informal and collaborative style than most professors in the US. In Sweden equality and cooperation are part of about any professional environment, which results in us calling our instructors by their first names and having more discussions than lectures. Coming from a small liberal arts college, and a Montessori school further back, a lot of the academic differences seem pretty subtle to me, but it’s definitely different from the American college experience.
Q: What are some of the best or most interesting foods you have tried there?
Kladdkaka, without question. It’s a pastry that tastes similar to a brownie, but somehow it’s even better. There are lots of amazing pastries to try here — cinnamon buns and chocolate balls are some other favorites — but this one takes the cake (pun intended).
Also worth mentioning is the food I tried at the Stockholm Street Food Festival this weekend. There were about 85 food trucks that all looked great, but my priority was finding food that was either distinctly Swedish or just uncommon in the US. I tried an open-faced herring sandwich, a halloumi burger (not pictured), and some regionally produced ice cream. It was all delicious!
Q: Hi Olivia!! How are you adapting to the language and what is the craziest thing that has happened since you got there?
Adapting to the language has gone pretty smoothly. I’ve mentioned before that I am a known language freak, so true to my nature, I started studying Swedish independently as soon as I even thought about coming here. Now that I’m here I’ve realized that I’ve come pretty far; when I go out it’s rare that I don’t know what I’m doing since I understand the vast majority of signs and announcements. Speaking Swedish was difficult in the beginning, and many a well-meaning worker has switched to English on me, but the more comfortable I get with speaking, the less often it’s happened.
As for the craziest thing that’s happened, the Hozier concert I went to the first week is probably the strongest contender, partially because it was so good and partially because you can just decide to do that here without a lot of planning.
Thanks to everyone who sent in questions! This was fun, I might do it again later in the semester when I have even more to talk about. Vi hörs nästa vecka!