Without a doubt, my spring semester at DIS exceeded my expectations. It was more rewarding than I ever could have imagined (especially during a pandemic), and it would not have been so lovely without all the opportunities to see the city with my classmates—I could not have asked for a better community.
Probably my favorite aspect of DIS was how our courses took us into the city for field studies on Wednesdays and often to places outside of Stockholm for our study tours. I have a lot of stars on my map marking the places I’ve been because of DIS (and my host family), and I am so grateful for all the history I got to experience and see outside of the classroom. Living in Stockholm, there was always something to learn and some new adventure to be looking forward to.
On my routine school days, I enjoyed changing up how I got to school, which was especially fun when the weather warmed up. I could walk comfortably from Slussen through Gamla Stan and Östermalm to DIS. I could even take a ferry on my commute home from school. I loved how every day contained something new, even if it was just a new view of the city or me buying a type of candy that I’d never tried before while I waited for the bus. (I will miss their public transport.)
My experience would have been so different without my host family, and I would recommend living with a family to all students who want to have a meaningful cultural experience, try new things, and build lasting relationships with Swedes (and borrow jackets, warm shoes, skis, hiking backpacks… thanks fam!). Not only was my host family generous and kind to me, but all my friends’ host families were as well—so incredibly nice! They took great care of us, included us, and allowed us to experience Sweden less like Americans and more like Swedes—touristy Swedes. I wouldn’t have gone skiing in Åre, tried cross-country skiing, been on a boat that wasn’t a ferry, experienced Swedish birthdays, been biking, or found my favorite café without my host family, and that list doesn’t even include all the little and lovely things about living in their home.
I am so grateful to have people in Sweden to visit, and I will definitely be going back!
My friends and I were sad to be leaving, but we talked about how we hope to bring a culture of intentionality home with us. We all appreciated the small and thoughtful aspects of culture in Sweden that made it lovely and beautiful and welcoming and delicious.
I’ll definitely miss the city and the people who made it home.
Tack så mycket, Sverige.