…Do as the Swedes Do

One of the pulls of studying abroad is, of course, immersion. Learning about culture, people, customs by living them all yourself. So here’s a short list of what you might expect.

1. A popular stereotype: Swedes are reserved and polite. This can easily be seen on public transportation. The tradition of queuing, which has permeated Swedish life to the core, ensures that each and every commuter gets where they’re going at no expense to their personal bubble.

An orderly bus queue at Gullmarsplan, a popular bus hub.

2. Eating meat. If you read my last post, you know that vegetables are a rare commodity, almost to the point of luxury, but more to the point of obscurity. Unfortunately, I don’t have a beautiful photo of some meat, but rest assured I’ve had my fill of meatballs and falukorv. They go well with potatoes, cooked however you like ’em.

3. Fika! Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, semlor, cinnamon buns… what’s there not to like? Everyone drinks coffee, although I like my pastries with hot chocolate. So to compensate for not providing you with a picture of meat, here’s a gallery of fikas I’ve had over the semester.

*Note: I realize now in retrospect that 4 out of the 5 pictures have hot chocolate in them. And full disclosure: the hot chocolate in the semla picture is hiding just out of frame. What can I say? Jag älskar varm choklad.

4. Winter comes in every country, although not all countries are created equal. In Sweden, where snow carpets appear on the roads mid-autumn and then refuse to leave for the better part of the year, sleds become a viable mode of transportation.

A sporty, caring Swedish couple tugging along 2 sled-fulls of small, innocent children. My host family is cute.

5. Mello, short for Melodifestivalen, is Sweden’s annual song competition. This airs every Saturday until the winner go on to compete in Eurovision, the international (mostly in the EU) song competition. Here’s Sweden’s song for 2019: John Lundvik – Too Late For Love.

6. Swedes recycle. A lot, mostly everything. In an American context, this means properly sorting out plastics, paper, and metal (among other things) so that you can properly toss the items at the recycling at your local sidewalk or grocery store.

My first excursion to the recycling at the back of a Hemköp parking lot. Here, I throw colored glass into the proper bin. I came as a tourist, and left as an environmentally conscious member of Swedish society.

And thank you for bearing with me as I retroactively refine and publish my blog post drafts.


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