My first Impression of Sweden… 1. Beautiful forests and lakes 2. A lot of gorgeous people. 3. A lot of Schnapps. 4. Seafood all round 5. Expensive, but manageable.
I am really starting to enjoy Kalrstad and Uni life here. I experienced a traditional Swedish Crayfish party, which celebrates the end of summer in Sweden. The neighborhood sets up tables on the street, everyone brings alcohol and food to share and creates this big street party. You play novelty games whilst drinking potent punch. After this you head to the tables, start singing Swedish songs and “sip” the Schnapps. Julia and myself may have thought you needed to drink the entire thing, turns out sipping is ok. Then it’s time to eat a bunch of crayfish, salad, and breads. All round a fabulous feast. I was so grateful for my host family inviting me to this. The party was entirely in Swedish. I knew the context so I found my self actually grasping what was being said.
The nature around Karlstad is amazing. The beautiful forests and lakes are so refreshing. We went for a walk to the southern tip of Hammarö, which has awesome views of Lake Vänern and an awesome old lighthouse. I also went with a group of fellow exchange goers on a Canoe trip. It was a great way to explore the little channels branching off the lake. I just got to sit there which was really difficult, no paddling required. We also spend a lot of our time walking to Lake Alstern, the closest lake to Campus.
O-week over in Sweden is referred to as ‘Nollning’ and it is go hard or go home. The Swedes do activities, mainly drinking for 2 weeks straight; they have some serious stamina that’s for sure. They manage to do this and attend classes. Basically every student has a set of overalls colour coordinated in regards to what they are studying, you wear these every o-week. You collect patches over the years for these overalls and they are never allowed to be washed! They verse each other in a 2-week contest, they chant, have theme nights, shopping trollies full of wine etc. etc. The International Students also have some stamina, so there have been quite a few fun nights. It’s interesting with all of the different cultures around. For example, versing the swedes in chants with a German song. The International Student Association has also been great in organising events. Some work out, some not so much because we prefer to play “bitch cup” in a kitchen; it’s just how it goes.
In regards to the academic side to things, the University is very modern and organised in regards to helping out the English-speaking students. The library system has both Swedish and English, pretty helpful. I’m studying a course in Global Media. I have apologized in advance to my tutor for being absent due to travel commitments. I have planned to be out of the country at least a week every month, sorry School.
So the travel plans. I have grouped up with three Canadians and one American for some serious fun. We currently have trips booked to 12 Countries. September will bring Poland, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany. October will be Ireland, France possibly Scotland. November is Latvia for the party cruise, then onwards to Finland, Estonia and Russia! We also want to throw in a few weekend trips to Amsterdam, Oslo, and Stockholm. I plan to visit a fellow Gongian next weekend, Sam W studying in Uppsala Sweden, so it shall be nice to see a familiar face whilst also seeing another Swedish city.
I created a budget this week to ensure I have enough money to get me through January and February. Sweden is expensive for a few things, Alcohol being one of them. I think I spent around $15 AUS for a vodka soda the other night… Insanity! Food is quite good though from the supermarket, salmon is the cheapest meat, which is nice for a change. Rent is cheaper than Wollongong by almost $1000. You probably wouldn’t eat out much here though. The one place that is cheap to eat out is IKEA, great buffet breakfast, I’m not kidding.