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So far Dan Johansson has created 60 blog entries.

Week 3 – When in Sweden, do as the Swedes do

Hej there! This week marks the beginning of my third week studying at Södertörns Högskola (Södertörn University) and is the first moment I’ve had to sit down and contemplate the experience. The last two weeks have passed by in a whirlwind of new experiences, people, highs and lows. The speed at which time is moving is scaring me and I’m worried I won’t be able to complete everything I want to before I have to return home.

Stepping off the plane in Arlanda airport, the cold hit me hit me like a knife, and I hurried into the airport to collect my overweight bag which had, at some stage, been covered in ‘heavy’ stickers. I got the Arlanda express train into Stockholm central station and it was here that I had my first moment of fear. I had no idea where to go in this maze of train platforms, all information on destinations was in Swedish and I was lugging 40kg of my belongings behind me while trying to keep hold of my passport and money. After screaming internally for two or three minutes, I rationalised the situation and approached a woman working in the station to ask for help. It was then I noted the Swedish stereotype to be untrue. The Swedes, while not appearing to be outgoing, all went out of their way to help me once I asked. After the woman in the station directed me to my train, a man behind me offered to carry my suitcase up a flight of stairs which was no mean feat. After getting off in Flemingsberg Station, I found Södertorns Högskola located at the top of some very tall escalators and from there ESN were on hand […]

The first two weeks

Now that I am already 2 weeks in Sweden and lived myself in a little bit, time is running by faster and faster. I am also starting to miss my family and friends a little bit but I guess that’s normal. It’s strange to think that I never was longer away from home than now.

Everyday life in Sweden

I moved into the Studenthuset in Fjällis. The rooms are very cosy and the island on which the studenthome is located on (Lidingö) is very beautiful. It’s a 30 minutes ride to the university but the astonishing nature here makes you ignore that. You can also ice skate up here, but I am really not sure if I dare to step on the ice. (Besides the chance of breaking into the sea which has approximately 0 degrees I already fell down twice while just taking a walk – ice skating wouldn’t end good for me)

Last weekend I was at my first studentparty at Café Bojan which is on the University campus. We decided to go there at 11 pm which was a really bad idea because we had to stand 1 hour in the line outside. Swedes are really punctual when it comes to partying I found out. I really need to adapt some german punctuality (stereotype alarm) for going out. But when we arrived inside we danced the frozen feet away and drank a lot of Jägermeister. This gave me a very bad headache the next day but that’s not too bad if the headache is accompanied by good memories.

The working at the university is great, I already learned a lot of new stuff and they let me work independently. Everybody is very friendly and I feel […]

Strolling around the city

Stockholm is one of the city’s that almost every day you get to discover something new. An old-fashioned coffee store, a new park or even a new place to be admire the view of Slussen.

Today I’m going to show a typical strolling around the city.

The day begins at T-Centralen station and the Sergels Torg. Exit from Sergels Torg exit and you will get to the large square of the Swedish Capital. Walk around the square, at Sveavagen, the large avenue of Stockholm. Visit the famous shopping mall Gallerian for some shopping and then get back at the square and find your way through the stairs to the balcony. You just have to admire this view of the area (top image: Sergels Torg view).

On the next stop, you have to visit Slussen. From T-Centralen station you can take the green line towards Hagsätra or Farsta Strand or Skarpnäck and you’re just 2 stations away from Slussen. You can also take the red line towards Fruängen or Norsborg. Again, only 2 stations away from beautiful Slussen. Exit at Södermalmstorg, turn right and just walk until you find a stair. At the end of this stair, there’s the most beautiful scenery of the city, waiting for you. The beautiful Slussen.

Next stop is the Mariahissen. You can get there on feet and just a street above Mariahissen, you get to see one more time the beautiful view of Slussen but in a larger size. For me, it’s the most breathtaking view of the city. Take the advantage and take some really good pictures.

Before you go back to the city centre, I recommend you to visit Himlen Sky bar at Skrapan. You can get there by using the green line […]

Week 2 Från måndag till söndag…

It has now been exactly two weeks and one day since I have arrived at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm.

I have settled in by now and am starting to feel at home in Stockholm!

Here you can read about a few events that have happened throughout this week!

I have….

…finally gotten the packages (containing more clothes and nick- nacks of mine) which my parents have sent to me two whole weeks ago! In Sweden there are no post offices and I guess this explains why it took a while to get them. Luckily the postman decided to leave the parcels at the nearest supermarket to my dormitory. Although it took a week longer than expected for them to arrive, it had one advantage when I finally got the parcels: it felt like Christmas as I opened them all at once!
…met all of my corridor- mates! They are all beautiful souls and I am lucky to have gotten a room in their corridor!

On Thursday they organized a welcome- lunch for me and Dan, another newcomer at the dorm, at a “mysig” Lebanese restaurant and that gave me a chance to get to know all of them a bit better!

One conversation topic at the table was them telling me that I shouldn´t be worried if I heard anyone screaming out of a window on a Tuesday night. Apparently this is an old “Lappis”- tradition in order to let out the stress that has impounded from all the studying!

…attended the first seminar of my course: “English for Young Learners”, which was really interesting! We are a small group of teachers and I am looking forward to learn more about how to teach English to children!
…visited the Mall of Scandinavia which is […]

One Week in Stockholm

One week in Stockholm, and I have learned so much already. But let me start by introducing myself.

My name is Ryan. I’m 20 years old, and from the province of Nova Scotia on Canada’s east coast. At my home institution of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, I study public relations with minors in french and marketing. For the next five months, I’ll be studying at Södertörn Högskola, taking courses in political science, communication, and Swedish culture.

Why did I choose to do an exchange in Sweden? For two reasons. One, Northern Europe has always fascinated me. Being home to the happiest countries in the world with the best social programs and serving as the international community’s moral voice, I was thrilled at the opportunity to live in such a country for an extended period of time. And two, Europe is incredibly rich in history. As a Canadian, our culture mosaic is made from the fabric of cultures from all around the world. To have the ability to travel to European countries that have created the Canadian history I grow up learning is incredible.

During my first week in Stockholm, one question I have been asked frequently is how Sweden compares to Canada. While there are many similarities, there are also many differences.

Firstly, the weather. It’s safe to say living in Canada for 20 years has prepared me for life in Sweden. The cold, snow, and early sunsets are reminiscent of home. However, as I sit and write this post in the beautiful Södertörn Högskola library, I’m thrilled that the weather from the past couple of days allowed me to wear shed my normal attire of four sweaters, two scarves and a heavy winter jacket.

Secondly, the people. […]

January

Let me start off by telling you what is happening – today is a rainy Wednesday afternoon, I am sitting behind my desk, looking at the cyclists speeding through the Dutch landscape outside of my window. It is the end of January and I have returned home. Oddly enough I still cannot fully realise that my exchange semester is over, done with. This is it, you know? Here I am, writing my (for now!) last entry for this blog, mesmerising a daydream that once seemed to last so long but now feels like loose sand slipping through my fingers.

So I went home for Christmas and New Year’s, spent some valuable time with my family and met up with some friends as well. It felt good to be home, but discovering new things in all too familiar environments was a weird experience.

‘‘Is that a new chair we have?’’ ‘‘– Yes, it’s nice isn’t it?’’

‘‘I haven’t seen this building yet.’’ ‘‘– Are you serious? It’s been there for years!’’

Quickly, though, I was longing to go back to Sweden, and on January fourth, I travelled from home to home. Turned out winter had arrived in Stockholm! The entire city was covered in snow and temperatures remained below zero. Me and a friend decided to take advantage of that situation and went to Nacka, where we hiked on a frozen lake. This activity stood out, as January was also the time to finish courses and start writing exams. As of now, I am still awaiting my final results, but I expect to have passed without major complications.

January meant also – sadly – saying goodbye. This is something which I believe will always be difficult, regardless of how often one […]

How to survive your first winter in Stockholm

On Day two, when I was around Norrmalm with a friend I met in hostel, my toes went from cold to painful to numb, and I couldn’t move each of them. For a second, I thought I might have lost my toes. It was sunset, and the sky and the buildings looked amazing but all I could think of were my toes. In the end, I called a taxi.

So yes, winter in Stockholm is cold, especially towards the midnight or when you are near the water.

I come from Hong Kong and the winter there is usually about 15-20 degrees. I packed many winter “essentials” but I ended up using just a few and buying stuff from the local stores. Therefore, my overall advice is “Don’t sweat it! You can buy anything good here in an affordable price.”

These are my must-haves so far:

-Coat: Choose something thick with fur or wool inside, from Emmaus, a local thrift store, 170SEK

-Uggs: I actually brought a pair of grey suede ankle boots. However, even if I wear really thick socks, my toes still feel cold. But with Uggs, you can just put it on without any socks and you still feel warm.

-Moisturizing kits: My skin got very dry when I came here. I put on masks I got from home but they didn’t really work. The skin around my under-eye circles became flaky, and some of my skin turned red. I bought face cream and eye cream from ACO, about 89 SEK. My skin got better although I have to put it on very often. For my lips, I dumped my Maybelline Baby lipstick and just carry my jar of Vaseline everywhere.

– One item I regret packing: Three packs of […]

Getting close to the life in Stockholm

The orientation week passed really quickly. We did sightseeing to the downtown, taking lectures about school and Swedish culture, also having parties of course. It’s been just a week but I feel like it’s been a month.

I met a Swedish guy in the welcoming party and he’s my friends’ mentor who is helping the international students in Sweden. We talked a lot on that day and he promised me to take me around the Stockholm and 2 days later, I and my friends went to the Gamlastan!

Before heading for the old town, we went to Asian buffet restaurant with another mentor, and it was great. With 99kr, I can eat many kinds of Asian foods there as lunch! I was satisfied with the restaurant especially because there’s tofu (:

After that, we walked and there were Kingsgarden, frozen river, and lots of ducks and birds on the way to go to the old town. In Korea, the shape of the buildings and the size of them are really different from Sweden and also from Europe. Skyscrapers and tons of apartments in Seoul are not beautiful at all but old buildings and old shops in Gamlastan were beautiful and impressive. If my dorm is close to that town, then I would be in one of the cafes there every day, probably.

I went to a supermarket named Lidl, and the closest one from Bjornkulla is located in Tumba. From Flemingsberg, it takes less than 20 minutes because there’s just one station, Huddinge, between flemingsberg and tumba. Close to the dorm, there’s Pulsen which is a small supermarket but I think Lidl is cheaper than Pulsen, so if it’s not urgent to buy, I will go to Lidl for […]

First Week At Stockholm , SE

They say that you get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again. And they are right . You do get this strange feeling. I will never be the same after this erasmus experience! In one week I got to move in Stockholm, prepare my home and learn a little bit about this beautiful city.

In the next posts you will get to know more about my adventures and generally my life here. So stay tuned! ;)

Hej there, Stockholm!

“Hej” there, my dear readers!

I can´t believe that I am in Stockholm! All the planning and preparing for this adventure made the actual beginning of it seem so far away…

Now it has actually been more than a week since I have arrived in this snowy winter- wonderland!

This passed week at Stockholm University was called “orientation week” and was organised for all the newcomer- students and Erasmus students. The university offered various guided tours in- and off campus, different presentations with helpful information and many events in the evenings!

There has been so much to do and to see these passed few days, so I am very happy to have found some time for myself right now and write the first post of my blog!

I have been wondering what my first post should be about…

Should I fill you in about my packing crisis in Vienna before I departed? Or should I tell you about the experiences I made in the hotel, which I stayed in over the last weekend, where the rooms looked like ship cabins? Or would you rather be interested in what I have been up to in Stockholm so far…?

I have decided to give you insight into my list of top 10 “fun facts” about Sweden:
Top 10 Fun- Facts about Sweden

Not ALL Swedes are blonde!
Don´t walk around in Jeans in a – 11°C weather!
Everything you do should be “lagom”!

“Lagom” is the Swedish meaning for moderation or being in balance. It means: not too little, not too much, just the right amount. For example you should put the “lagom” amount of sugar in your coffee- not too little and not too much. In Sweden it is not only a saying but a lifestyle!

Gender equality makes […]