Tunnelbana Art!

I believe one of the most unique things about Stockholm’s transit is the art! In the Tunnelbana, Stockholm’s metro network, there is a theme or motif included at each station. In some instances, there are stories attached to the art itself. I think now that I’ve been in Stockholm for almost four months, I am coming to the realization that I am going to miss having such lively and varying metro stops! They are certainly overlooked if you have spent some time here and I’d like to highlight some of my favorite stops here in Stockholm! In no particular order, here are some spots to check out!

T-Centralen!

#1. T-Centralen

T-Centralen is the most popular and most frequently used stop in Stockholm! It is the main station downtown and provides easy access to the pendeltåg (commuter train), Spårvag city (local tram), Arlanda Express (train to airport), and regional/long-distance trains! Safe to say you can get to a lot of places from here! But that is not only what makes this place great, the art is incredible! The bottom floor features a display of blue ferns contrasted by the white painted space! It’s a sight you’ll soon be familiar with if you take the pendeltåg into the city for your commute!

T-Centralen!

#2. Kungsträdgården

Kungsträdgården can only be described as an explosion of creativity! At first, I did not like the station because I felt it had too many ideas contrasting each other with no coherent theme; however, this station has certainly grown on me! The station is notable for its unique flora and fauna. It is the only place in Scandinavia where the Lessertia dentichelis spider can be found! The station also features relics rescued from the many buildings pulled down during the redevelopment of central Stockholm during the 1950s and 1960s throughout the station!

Fun fact: Kungsträdgården is the deepest station in the Tunnelbana network! It measures −29.3 m (−96 ft) deep!

Kungsträdgården
Kungsträdgården

#3. Stockholm Odenplan

One of the newer and more underrated pendeltåg stations on this list, Stockholm Odenplan has an sharp and intricate design for their station; with long, angular, luminescent light fixtures at the top. The design is mesmerizing and easily one of my favorite stations to visit! These fixtures are not random however, they were actually designed after the heartbeats of designer David Svensson’s soon-to-be born child. “The shape of the lights was inspired by the heartbeats of the artist’s son, as shown on the CTG-monitor during the childbirth.” The design is titled “Life Line.”

Stockholm Odenplan — “Life Line”

#4. Solna Centrum

Solna Centrum can be overlooked as it is not traveled much unless you are headed towards Hjulsta or Akalla on the blue line, but the sun-themed station brings incredible hues of red, orange, and green into the mix! It varies so much from the other stations and I always like the natural warmth it brings, juxtaposing well with the cold temperatures of Sweden!

#5. Mörby Centrum

Yet another overlooked stop (noticing a trend here?), Mörby Centrum is one of the ends of the red line and features a stream of vertical multi-colored lines in the middle of the station and a pink-green hue of paint blotches wrapping the remainder of the station. If you are leaving Stadion station from your DIS courses, why not ride the 14 train all the way up to Mörby Centrum to visit this relaxing stop!

Mörby Centrum
Mörby Centrum

#6. Stadion

Last, but certainly not least, we have Stadion! This is actually the station you will visit each time you have class at DIS! The station itself is named after the stadium where multiple events for the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm were held! The station leads right out to Kungliga Musikhögskolan (Royal College of Music), the Olympic stadium and to Östermalms IP (a skating rink in the winter and soccer field in spring/summer). This stadium features a remarkably well-known rainbow in the middle of the station that tons of people take photos of everyday! It is a fittingly vibrant station for the types of people it typically brings in such as athletes and musicians alike! I do not mind visiting this station every day for classes!

Stadion Rainbow!
1912 Summer Olympics Poster!

I would encourage anyone who comes to Stockholm to take the art walk through the subway stations and explore! There are plenty of other stations that did not make this list such as Thorildsplan and a few others, but that naming all of them would spoil the fun of exploring yourself!

Vi ses!

Activities to do Around Stockholm!

It’s about time I spent some time writing about the city that I’ve been living in for three months! This post will be a bit different: It’ll be a guide to places to visit while you are in Stockholm if you have the opportunity!

MUSEUMS / GALLERIES

#1. Moderna Museet

One of my favorite museum in all of Stockholm is easily the Moderna Museet (or the Modern Art Museum)! It hosts some of the foremost collections of modern and contemporary art in the world! The museum houses Swedish and international modern and contemporary art, including pieces by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí and a model of the Tatlin’s Tower! I am bias towards this pick since I am a big fan of contemporary/modern art! Entry is free for the general exhibit but their are seasonal exhibits that are paid for (pricing isn’t too bad for those exhibits either!).

Art painting in Moderna Museet

#2. Fotografiska Stockholm

Fotografiska is a destination to discover world-class photography, eclectic programming, elevated dining and surprising new perspectives. The museum hosts a number of exhibitions each year and there is always something to see. Entry is 185 crowns (approximately $19 USD) which puts it on the rather expensive side of museums/exhibits in Stockholm, but I believe it is worth it if you are at all interested in art/photography. There are Fotografiska locations in six major cities (New York, Stockholm, Berlin, Tallinn, Miami, and Shanghai) across the world so I would suggest you don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this incredible art gallery! Also, there is a great cafe and restaurant that is upstairs, I’ve heard it is rather expensive, but I’ve been told that the quality of food their is top notch, so if it is in the budget, perhaps the restaurant is another spot to hit! Fotografiska is located near the Slussen metro station!

Fotografiska museet, Stockholm, Sweden.

#3. Artipelag

The Artipelag is a temporary cultural center, including photography & art installations, and waterside dining! The building covers an area of approximately 10,000 square meters and includes 3,000 square meters of art galleries and has 22 acres of surrounding natural scenery. It is fairly new, opening in 2012, it is a fun exhibit to visit if you have the time. I will say that it does require a lot of patience to get to as you have to get to Slussen and take two buses (that are difficult to time), but I enjoyed my visit their and if you like art, you’ll love Artipelag. It has both an indoor and outdoor exhibit, with the outdoor exhibit that features a large golden egg!

Me at the Artipelag!
Exhibit at the Artipelag
Golden Egg

AREAS

#1. Kungsträdgården Park

Kungsträdgården is a park in central Stockholm. The park’s central location and its outdoor cafés makes it one of the most popular hangouts and meeting places in Stockholm. It also hosts open-air concerts and events in summer, while offering an ice rink during winters. However, I believe the area truly comes alive in the spring (April/May) with the blooming of the cherry blossom trees. It is quite a sight and many people, locals and tourists alike, enjoy taking photos underneath the trees!It’s a nice spot to relax and unwind and certainly a must-see while in Stockholm! It can be found right outside of the Kungsträdgården metro spot!

Kungsträdgården Park
Cherry Blossoms in Kungsträdgården

#2. Södermalm

Södermalm is located south of central Stockholm and this area is very hip and trendy! It is popular with young Stockholmers and weekend visitors. There are lots of accommodation options to choose from, with plenty of restaurants and cafes, as well as cool shops, bars and art galleries. Even if you are not into art, it is a pleasant place to walk with places like Medborgarplatsen (or Meddes, as the locals say) with a movie theater! Hornstull hosts a student housing area and a farmer’s market in the spring and Skanstull has nice restaurants/bars! I really like this area and I think this region of Stockholm is always the most enjoyable to be in (especially in the spring)!

#3. Djurgården

Djurgården is east of the city center and one of the quieter places to stay in Stockholm. It’s perfect if you want to visit the ABBA Museum, Skansen, Gröna Lund, Vasa Museum or the Viking Museum, as they are all a short distance away! You can get to Djurgården by getting off at T-Centralen metro station and then taking either the bus or the tram to Djurgården! The area is fun to walk around and you can even take a ferry (for free!) from Slussen station to get there! Djurgården also has a soccer and a hockey team who are very popular among Stockholmers!

Gröna Lund Amusement Park
ABBA Museum
Djurgården Dock

#4. Gamla Stan

Last, but certainly not least, we have Gamla Stan (or the Old Town)! With beautiful views of the harbor, you’ll be in one of Europe’s oldest preserved medieval cities! Gamla Stan is a huge tourist spot, but for good reason as it hosts some of the most beautiful buildings in all of Stockholm! There are nice restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops. There are several beautiful churches and museums in Gamla Stan, including the Stockholm Cathedral and the Nobel Prize Museum. The largest of the attractions in the area is the Royal Palace, one of the largest palaces in the world with over 600 rooms! Be sure to stay for the daily changing of the guard! Practically every person who studies abroad will at some point visit Gamla Stan as it is a staple in Stockholm’s and Sweden’s culture!

Gamla Stan

I hope you were able to gain some insight of some activities to participate in or places to visit while in Stockholm! There are a plethora of activities that were not included on this list (such as the Archipelago), but I feel that telling all of them would spoil the fun of exploring abroad! Not to mention my fingers getting tired of typing!

Hej då!

Art, Architecture, Interior Design: A Return to Helsinki!

Tjena!

About two weeks ago DIS Stockholm students had their spring break and we had about a week to do whatever we chose to! During my spring break, I was fortunate enough travel to two locations! The first stop was with my exploratory elective, Scandinavian Textiles and Fashion, and we traveled to Helsinki, Finland! If you remember, this is actually my second time in Finland (See previous blogs for that story!) and I was hoping to engage more with the city rather than just explore it.

Aalto University!

We arrived at the airport at around 6 in the morning and our flight landed in Helsinki at 8am! We were assigned two ‘optics” (Gender/Sexuality and Sustainability) and these were essential our themes we had to focus on when creating our mood board (a physical, all-encompassing recollection of our time in Helsinki). The first day was spent going to museums, art galleries, exhibitions, and thrift stores to capture the essence of Helsinki Body/Sexuality/Gender and Sustainability. We were able to attend Aalto University, a premier art and design school (ranked sixth in the world!).

Displays in Aalto University

Unfortunately I do not have much to write about for that afternoon because I left my wallet on the bus! Thankfully, I found it an hour later on the exact same bus headed the same an hour and a half later. My group went to some thrift stores and explored the city. Once I found my wallet however, we had a dinner downtown in this nice restaurant called Löyly Restaurant, which featured dinner and a sauna! The sauna experience was incredible and there was an area outside that lead to the Baltic Sea where you could take a polar plunge! I only did it once and that was enough for me!

Löyly Restaurant + Sauna

The next day was our exploration day! We went out to more museums, exhibitions, and stores to get a feel for the city! There was a contemporary art called Kiasma (charisma in Finnish!) that had a wonderful display of paintings, objects, and experiences. Afterwards we hit Marimekko, a popular Finnish design and fashion store, where we picked up textiles and learned about Finnish design. We visited the Glasshouse later and then ended the day in the Espoo Gallery of Modern Art!

Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

Finally, on day 3 (my favorite day), we went to the Alvar Aalto house and museum! If you didn’t know (which I didn’t either at the time), Alvar Aalto was one of the most prominent Finnish interior designer and architect. His work is incredible, it is difficult to articulate, but he blends modernism with Nordic classicism. It sparked a keen interest in architecture and interior design. I even picked up a book on his home design which is a phenomenal read! Later, we explored his museum with our tour guide and she later talked about Aalto’s inspirations, wives (who were also in design), and his accolades and accomplishments throughout Europe. I have a new respect for design and I am eager to learn more about this field! This experience in Helsinki was incredible and I really have a genuine appreciation of the city! I would recommend to take an exploratory elective if you have the opportunity because they allow you to have a new perspective on a city that you may not have had the opportunity to visit! Cannot begin to express how grateful I am for this trip!

Hesinki Cathedral
Alvar Aalto Poster
Alvar Aalto’s Office!
Espoo Museum of Modern Art
Espoo Museum of Modern Art

Mini Arc: Trip to Thessaloniki!

A filler episode if you will.

About two ago a couple of my friends took an impulsive trip down to Thessaloniki, Greece! We flew Ryanair because the tickets were cheap (around $70 roundtrip for me!). We found an AirBnB for cheap and the seven of us flew down. When we went down, there was actually no clear itinerary for the trip. I have never been to Greece before and I had no idea what Thessaloniki had to offer!

Breakfast pancakes at Pepper Thessaloniki

On the first full day, the weather was incredible (62 degrees Fahrenheit and a UV of 4! Hey, I’ll take what I can get!) so we decided go walking all throughout downtown Thessaloniki and near the end of the day, make our way up to Ano Poli, the city’s old town. But before we did that, we went to Pepper Thessaloniki, a popular restaurant and bar that served excellent breakfast! Afterwards, we walked along the waterfront and made our way up to the White Tower, where we explored the museum within and made our way up to the top, where you are greeted with a spectacular view of Thessaloniki!

White Tower of Thessaloniki
Me at the top of the White Tower!

Later that night, we decided to go out on the town to see what Greek night life culture was all about! It was so different from the Stockholm nightlife! People are much more lively and you can feel the energy of the city!

After taking some very scenic photos the next day, we walked through the city where my friend and I walked in to a music store. One thing to note — people are extremely friendly! We then moved towards a botanical garden that doubled as an old church. Most of the places cost about 3-5 euros to get into but if the weather is good, the views are breathtaking and more than worth the price of admissions. The big group then split up and some went to the contemporary art museum and my group went to the Thessaloniki Archeological Museum. This was easily one of the biggest highlights of the trip and we weren’t even expecting it! I already enjoy museums but when we went to the TAM, there was so much to see regarding Greek and Macedonian culture! There were Greek sculptures, relics, pillars, artifacts, coins, and other remnants of Greek culture! It is in the top 3 museums I’ve ever been to in my life!

At the top of Ano Poli (The Old Town)
Inside the Thessaloniki Archeological Museum!

Later that even, we sat by the waterfront with a bottle of wine and enjoyed the sunset and then took an impromptu trip on a viking boat! The weather started to cloud up and it was a bit chilly on the boat, but our group was able to get an extensive view of the waterfront of Thessaloniki! All said and done, I really am glad that I was able to make the trip out to visit a country that I never thought I would get to see! The trip was short, but it was an unforgettable experience that I am privileged to share with you all today.

Thessaloniki Waterfront
More of the Waterfront!
The Viking Boat!

The Beautiful Country That Is Iceland

Hej! Long time, no see!

A lot has been happening since last time, but that is a post for another day! Our group, World of Vikings, went on our long study tour to Reykjavik last week and there is so much to talk about! I have never been to Iceland before as everything was going to be new to me! All I knew was that the Blue Lagoon was a musty visit and that the nature there was like none other. After returning from the trip and having some quality time to reflect, I can tell you the Iceland has easily been the best trip I have ever been on!

When we first touched down in Iceland and settled in, we immediately went on a food tasting tour that took us around downtown Reykjavik! We visited four restaurants, each with their own unique identity and offering a variety of foods. In the first restaurant, we had traditional Icelandic cod soup, then we had lamb soup at the next restaurant. Both meals were amazing and were full of flavor! we went to a hotdog stand next, and afterwards we finally landed at an Icelandic restaurant that offered dried fish, fermented shark, and whale! I wasn’t a big fan of the first two dishes, but I highly recommend trying it because all of these meals (especially the shark and whale) because you cannot find these meals anywhere else! That concluded the first day!

The next day we ventured on the Golden Circle tour, which brought us to the site of the Allthing (Alþingi) located in Thingvellir (þingvellir). This was Iceland’s first ever parliament established all the way in the year 930 AD! The area surrounding the area is one of Iceland’s most sought after national park situated on the tectonic plate between North America and Europe! We then visited Gullfoss: the 32-meter water fall that sits next to the Allthing! It was incredible! The temperature was cold and the wind was blowing, but to see the sight of the waterfall gave a surreal feeling that can’t be replicated! The last peg of the Golden Circle tour led us to the Geysirs! Every 3-5 minutes the water erupts and shoots out a spray that can rise up to 25 meters high! The area is smells like sulfur so be prepared to hold your nose! This would be a good time to add that Iceland does not have a lot of trees so if it is windy out, like it was when we were there, I highly recommend you bring a strong windbreaker and a heavy coat!

Gullfoss Waterfall
Gullfoss Waterfall
Me at the Allthing!

On Day 3, we visited the University of Iceland to sit in on a lecture given by Aðalheiður Guðjónsdóttir, a professor in medieval Icelandic literature at university. She focused on her research and teachings in medieval Norse literature, the Icelandic sagas, folk ballads, and the history of dance and magic! The conversation was engaging and she was more than happy to answer our classes question! Before I went to the lecture, my friend Anna and I walked to a black sand beach to collect shells, sea glass, and just to be in nature! Later that day, we drove to the National Museum of Iceland where we found exhibits and artifacts to give brief presentations on! Finally, we went to the Settlement museum

Black Sand Beach on Iceland Shore
Hallgrímskirkja: Church of Reykjavik

Day 4 was the big day: visiting the Blue Lagoon! This was easily the highlight of my trip!! We put our stuff away and headed out to the lagoon and it was very cold until we dipped into the water and then we instantly felt warm again! I took a few photos, however I wanted to be immersed in the moment so unfortunately I don’t have too many! There are saunas, steam rooms, and a cold cave in addition to the heated lagoon! We received a skin cream that we put on our face and it really felt like we were at a spa! The smell of sulfur quickly fades once you get into the water, but the surreal feeling doesn’t quite seem to leave! Words simply cannot describe how immaculate the Blue Lagoon is and it is a place that should be on everyone’s bucket list in my honest opinion! We ate at the Lava Restaurant in the lagoon and we were served with a 2-course meal that was delicious! Afterwards, we visited Perlan, a museum that sits at the top of Reykjavik that provides a 360-degree view of the city! This was my favorite museum: it included an ice cave that you can walk though, an IMAX immersive movie on the cultural understandings of the Aurora Borealis! To end the night, I went out to the bar to grab drinks with some friends and called it a day!

Me in the Blue Lagoon!
Blue Lagoon Entrance
Perlan Ice Caves

Day 5, the final full day in Iceland, saw us go horseback riding on traditional Icelandic horses! We were located at Borgarfjörður, West Iceland: the birthplace of the Icelandic Saga! We rode our horses on a designated trail and apparently my horse had a reputation of being meal and uncooperative! I didn’t experience anything when I was with mine! We got along really well and we took photos together after we were done! I miss my horse! We ended our trip with a visit to Reykholt to learn more about Snorri Sturluson, and Icelandic historian who documented several sagas. The guide was very animated and entertaining!

Me and my horse!
Our selfie!
A statue dedicated to Snorri Sturluson

All said and done, Iceland was a dream trip and I couldn’t be anymore thankful to DIS, Professor Kim, and all of the students in my World of Vikings course that made this incredible experience come to a reality.

Until next time, vi ses!

Snowy Helsinki! Historic Sigtuna! Eventful Uppsala!

Hej! Long time, no see!

These past couple of weeks have been extremely hectic, but I have to update you all on my experience so far!

Helsinki!

A couple of friends and I decided to venture off to Helsinki for a weekend on the Viking Line Stadsgården cruise! We got the tickets and left Friday afternoon for Helsinki! The weather wasn’t great but that was in no way going to stop us from enjoying our time! It was a great opportunity to meet more students from DIS and explore the neighboring Nordic country of Finland, even if it was just for the day. There were a lot of things to do on the cruise, such as dancing in the night club, an arcade, and great spots to eat lunch and dinner. We finally arrived in Helsinki on Saturday and while there was no clear itinerary, that would ultimately make the trip more enjoyable as the stress of sticking to a punctual schedule was not a problem. We visited the Helsinki Senate Square and Cathedral, toured the shopping district area, walked around the Atenuem Finnish National Gallery, and I ‘finished’ off my day by taking scenic photos around the snowy city! The following morning the cruise ship arrived back in Stockholm and overall I really enjoyed both the city and the unique experience!

Helsinki Senate Square, Finland
From left to right: Zach (me!), Adam, Mikael, Chris
A cathedral in downtown Helsinki
Downtown Helsinki
Me in front of the Hesinki Senate Square Building!

Core Course Week: Sigtuna!

After the Helsinki trip, my World of Vikings core course went on our study tour to Sigtuna and Uppsala! For the study tours, each core course will travel to an area within Sweden and outside of Sweden. This week, we were in Sigtuna and Uppsala, both cities nearby Stockholm.

Sigtuna is the oldest city in Sweden, founded just over 1,000 years ago! It is home to some of the oldest churches and runestones in the world! On Tuesday of the study tour week, we ventured off to the historic city to learn more about the life of viking settlement and culture. Our day started off with a walking tour by our incredible professor, Kim! We toured the surrounding area and looked at the remains of churches and runestones from the early 11th and 12th century! After grabbing lunch, we entered a museum that primarily focused on Sigtuna’s establishment in Sweden and the historical significance behind the runestones. I took some more photos and that concluded our trip to Signtuna! The city is quiet, but the historical importance is always present!

Early church built in Sigtuna
Remains of one of the earliest churches in Sweden (1,000 years ago)
Runestone inscription from 1,000 years ago!

Core Course Week: Uppsala!

Finally, we concluded our study tour week with a three-day trip to Uppsala accompanied by the Gender, Equality, and Sexuality in Scandinavia core course! Uppsala is an incredible city that has so much to offer, in particular, Uppsala University (one of the oldest universities in the world, established in 1477)! Unfortunately, the day of our trip, a fire broke out at the Uppsala pendeltåg (commuter train) station. This resulted in us taking a detour through Märsta and then taking a bus from Märsta to Uppsala so the trip their took much longer than anticipated, but we made it to our first event on time, which was a seminar discussion at Uppsala University on race studies. There were transparent discussions on Sweden’s less-than-notable work on race biology, which I really admired from the university, as it allowed the students to engage in both the positive attributes of Sweden that we are shown often, while not sugarcoated the negative aspects of the culture as well. Afterwards, we took a night tour of Uppsala and it was really cold, but our guide was very informative and accommodating! After dinner, we were able to go out nd explore the city, this was especially important as the Covid restrictions in the Stockholm area were dropped for the first time that day! I was able to meet new people in DIS, but I was also able to meet a lot of college students at Uppsala University!

Uppsala, Sweden!
Uppsala Domkyrkan
An Uppsala University building on our Night Tour

The next morning was incredible! We went ice skating just outside of Uppsala in an area called Fjällnora Friluftsområde! This was easily the highlight of my trip, I had virtually no experience ice skating, but nonetheless I was excited to try it out! Much to my surprise, I picked up on it very quickly and I was feeling comfortable within a matter of minutes! However, these weren’t the ice skates that we were used to, they were more similar to short-track skates in that they attached on to the front of the boot! We were also given a backpack with our lunch and poles to help us keep our balance (not to brag, I didn’t need them for very long haha!) I enjoyed it so much, that I asked the skating instructor if I could continue when I returned to Stockholm and he gave me free lessons! (I even own my own pair of skates now haha!) Afterwards, we all ate the meals in our backpacks outdoors by a neighboring camp. It was extremely memorable because we were about to talk and cook our food over the campfire. All around a great experience and easily one of my favorite moments since I’ve been in Sweden!

Me getting ready to ice skate on the frozen lake!
Fjällnora Friluftsområde

Afterwards, we toured the Uppsala museum where we learned more about runestones and the history of Uppsala! Then, later that day, we sat in on an interesting discussion about Queer Vikings! At the end of the discussion, we left for dinner where we all had more time to talk with each other about how our day had gone! Finally, we finished our study tour with an excellent tour of Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) by visiting the Uppsala mounds and the churches nearby! The wind was blowing so fast at the top of the mounds that we couldn’t stay up there for any longer than a few minutes at a time! Nonetheless, Uppsala was my favorite part of the study tour week filled with friends met in DIS and outside of it while exploring the city!

Gamla Uppsala Mounds (photo taken from the top of a mound, much larger than they appear in the photo)

Stayed tuned for the next blog sometime next week!

Tack för att du läste! Vi ses!

From Virginia to Sweden

These past four week have been everything but boring! I’m honestly not sure where to begin, so I’ll try my best to recount these last couple of weeks!

My journey actually started about three days before I left the United States when I was informed by DIS that my host family unfortunately contracted covid and that they were going to place me in temporary student housing. I was already anxious about my first time flying internationally, so this news was the last thing I needed to hear! Anyways, I got through TSA and boarded my flight to Iceland for my layover. I didn’t see much of Iceland besides the dark skies and the airport, but it is a destination that I’m excited to visit again during my field study to Reykjavík in March! I bought an Icelandic wool blanket (which I love) and some food and then it was finally off to Sweden! We were flying east so while we were flying, the sun rose above the skies and for the first time, I caught glimpses of Europe!

Flying over Stockholm, Sweden!

After we landed in Stockholm, we were eventually taken to our housing areas and I was on a street called Hogälidsgatan. The area was nice and the dorm was fully furnished! On our first night, the northern lights actually appeared over the city of Stockholm! My view wasn’t great but I did see tints of green and purple in the sky! The next day was spent touring Stockholm, familiarizing myself with the Tunnelbana (metro system) and finding nice areas to eat! I spend a significant amount of time walking up and down Drottninggatan (The Queen’s Street)! This street is in the heart of Stockholm’s shopping district with lots of food spots and shopping places! I then was able to temporarily move in with my host parent’s parents (host grandparents) and they were amazing! They lived near Mariaberget, which is close to the university, so the commute to DIS so commuting to my classes the first week was not an issue!

Mariaberget, Stockholm, Sweden

I finally met my host family about a week into my trip and they are an incredible group of people! They live in a suburb called Huddinge in the far south of Stockholm! Since I’ve met them, we have gone skiing, golfing, bowled, picnicking, and have all around gotten to know each other much better! I don’t think DIS could have matched me with a better family! I chose to live in a homestay style of housing because I felt that having some semblance of family connection would be easier on me. It was a relatively less expensive option (at least from what I have been experiencing). I also wanted to build a strong connection with people who already have lived in Stockholm and can provide me a good idea of the city beforehand! It is also nice to come home to a comforting household too!

My homestay room!

So far, adjusting to Sweden has had its challenges, but for the most part, I think I am doing well! Next week I’ll be touching on classes, traveling, and perhaps things to do around Stockholm, but until then, here’s some photos from the past month!

Gamla Stan! (The Old Town)
T-Centralen Tunnelbana Station (Metro Station)
The ABBA Museum!
Nordiska Museet (The Nordic Museum)
Stockholm Stadshuset (Stockholm City Hall)

Be sure to follow me on instagram to stay updated on my study abroad journey! @roamingzach

Stepping Stones

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes – Buddha

post

It’s about that time. After arduously filling out study abroad application after application, having plans entirely scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and seven semesters of college, I finally have the green light to study abroad and after all that has happened, I think it’s safe to say I’m ready!

Truthfully speaking, Sweden was not my first choice when deciding on places to study abroad. Ever since my freshman year in college, the goal was to go to Australia and enjoy my days taking classes, enjoying the beautiful weather, and surfing the beautiful waves of Bondi. So during the spring semester of my sophomore year, I was sorting through my study abroad catalog to narrow my options down! I had decided on the University of Sydney and I was happy with my choice! What could possibly go wrong? Well, only a global pandemic. I was accepted and was told things should be back on track soon, but as we all know, that wasn’t quite the case. As disappointed as I was not to be able to study abroad, I knew there were much more important things to prioritize. I didn’t study abroad my junior and was disheartened because I thought that would be my only opportunity to study abroad in college, but fortune struck and I was able to petition to study abroad senior year because of finishing my degree requirements my senior fall semester! Since Australia was still in lockdown, I had to look elsewhere. I wanted to pick a place that would be scenic, a relaxing environment, and a place with lots to do and Sweden seemed to check all the criteria (Strangely enough, Sweden is just about as far as one can get from Australia!)

I’ll be going to Stockholm through the DIS Abroad program where I’ll be taking the World of Vikings core course. My other courses include: Scandinavian Textiles and Fashion, Swedish Language and Culture I-II, and Scandinavian Crime Fiction. I’ve never take courses like these before so it should be a unique experience to say the least! There are planned trips to Iceland and Finland for my classes, but I’d like to travel all throughout Europe and visit different countries! I even hope to be able to see the Formula 1 race in Imola in April, assuming there are no COVID restrictions at the time!

The more and more I looked into to Sweden, the more excited I was to travel there! From the beautiful landscapes, to the buzzing city life of Stockholm, I’m ready to fly! I’ll be staying with a host family while I am in Sweden and they seem like really nice people! They also live an active lifestyle and like to do things so I’m hoping we get on well! I can’t wait to explore the city in just two weeks time and will continue to update my travel experiences via this blog weekly. There’s so much to do (and document!) I’m nervous, but I think this study abroad trip will be a stepping stone into a promising and fulfilling experience!

Needless to say, these past couples of years have been difficult for a great number of people and I have been fortunate enough to endure most of it unscathed, but I could not have weathered these years without the support of friends and family, so this first post is dedicated to all the people I have met in my journey through life who have supported me, my ambitions, and my aspirations.

Thank you all 🙂

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