My Journey To Stockholm

My last week in Minneapolis was lovely because I was able to spend time with all my friends and family. While I was a bit sad and anxious to leave, I am now feeling very optimistic and excited! 

Leaving from the Minneapolis airport, I ,of course, had to stop by Caribou Coffee one last time. I ordered a strawberry banana smoothie, and reminisced about stopping at this exact caribou with my friends as we were waiting to depart on our interim study abroad to Ghana almost two years ago. 

I ended up having a bit of a late start on the first leg of my travels. Thankfully, I had enough time to go through customs in Amsterdam, get to my gate, and even grab a coffee and croissant. 

By this afternoon, I had officially made it to Stockholm, and had even met some other DIS students at the airport. After picking up our bags, I headed to the DIS meeting location in the Stockholm airpot, where I was greeted by several students. So far, everyone has been super kind!

Eventually, we loaded a coach bus up with DIS students and our luggage and headed to our housing. My room completely exceeded my expectations, and perhaps instead it should be called a “studio” because there is a small kitchenette and bathroom just for me!

After getting settled into my housing, I went on a short walk around my new neighborhood in Stockholm with two other people from my hallway. Then, we all had pizza for dinner, got an official tour of the neighborhood and went grocery shopping. On our way home, we saw two hot air balloons in the sky which felt very special. Now I am exhausted and ready for bed after what has felt like a week of traveling!

Why Sweden?

There are so many places to study abroad, and there are so many places that I want to travel to. Yet, the DIS Stockholm program was the only semester-long abroad program I applied to. What could be so special about Sweden??

I have always felt a strong connection to Sweden and Swedish life. A lot of my family’s heritage is Swedish. In fact, we still have a few relatives who live in Southern Sweden, and I hope to be able to visit them sometime this semester.

In 2013, my Grandfather took me to Sweden and Norway for just over two weeks. While we visited many cities and towns in Sweden, we never actually visited Stockholm. After this trip, I knew I wanted to get back to Sweden at some point in my life.

When I was deciding on where to study abroad, Sweden kept coming back to my mind. I was so sure that I wanted to go to Sweden, I hardly considered anywhere else. I had planned to go for the Spring semester of 2021, but with Covid-19, I decided to hold off for one more semester.

In the meantime, I started to imagine what life would be like in Sweden when I went abroad. Living in Minneapolis, I grew up visiting the American Swedish Institute with my family. In fact, when I was a kid, my parents signed me up for Swedish dance lessons. It was a short-lived hobby and honestly not my favorite thing. However, I had a far more successful experience with the ASI last fall. I decided to sign up for Swedish language classes! Once a week, my roommate and I signed onto zoom and joined about ten 50+ year olds to learn very basic Swedish. I learned the basics of the language and the class got me even more excited to go to Sweden.

Now, I am leaving for Stockholm in a matter of days and it almost feels too good to be true. Obviously I am a bit nervous to go to a new place and meet new people, but I am mostly excited and ready for my next adventure!