I cannot count on all my fingers the amount of typical Australian questions I have been asked in the past 3 weeks. Do we have pet kangaroos? Do you know Crocodile Dundee? Do all Australians surf? And of course my favourite, Is it true you really put ‘Shrimp on the Barbie’?. From there I soon realized, just how far away from home I really was, and how so many other international students know very little about Australia. After explaining many times, the real perspective of Australia, and saying, no we do not have pet kangaroos; I soon had myself many international friends that are so eager to learn more about home.
Orientation Week kicked of with a presentation welcoming everybody to the University. Here I learnt that out of all the exchange and international students studying at Stockholm this semester, Australian’s make up only 4 percent! Soon after the presentation, a very energetic bunch of Swedes came dancing and cheering into the room very excited to meet all the International students. After splitting up into our buddy groups, and meeting our new close friends and Swedish buddies, I knew I had made the right decision to study abroad. Everybody was so happy and welcoming.
So far I have tried many Swedish cultures such as, meat balls, fika (Swedes LOVE their coffee), of course Ikea, a traditional dinner sittning, and a Cray Fish Party. At first, I had no idea what a Cray Fish Party was, but after attending one, I soon realized it is a large group of people, drinking, singing, and obviously eating a lot of Cray Fish. I was super excited for this because we have nothing like it at home. I left one very happy Aussie.
Stockholm is such a beautiful city, filled with gorgeous buildings and surrounded by many islands. So it is only a given, in my spare time, I venture of exploring the city with my new friends. After mastering the metro lines, and bus services, we made our way out to visit the many islands that make up Stockholm. It felt just like our waters on the Sunshine Coast, except the waves and surfers of course.
Oh I almost forgot the most important thing, and the reason I am actually living in Sweden. The classes and studying is so very different from what we are used to in Australia. Only having one subject, which is studied continuously for four weeks, leaving a lot of time to focus on that course only. I have also been participating in a ‘Swedish Learning Course’, which is a way for me to learn the basic phrases and words in the Swedish language. After all I need a way of communicating with the handsome Swedish men!
I am now three weeks into my exchange at Stockholm University, but the amount of activities and trips away that have been organized by the University, it is keeping me one very busy and happy girl. It is starting to get a little colder now (sometimes 9 degrees at night) and the fall has only just approached. Before I know it, the city will be covered in snow, I will have freezing cold fingers and toes, but I will be a pro at skiing and ice skating! I shall keep you all posted and let you know how I survive the winter!
By Tash Woodward