International students talking about life in Sweden
Today we have a very special blog entry. In the past couple of days we have been working with four international students in order to find out more about their student life in Sweden. Read more below about we have found out.
Our interviewees are coming from three different continents and they have lived in Stockholm as students, at various times, between August 2014 and the current day.
Coralie is coming from France and she studied Chemistry at Stockholm University (SU). Also, Xiang from China is working with Chemistry at SU. Romina traveled from Argentina to Stockholm and she’s studying music at the Royal College of Music (KMH), while Eri moved all the way from Japan to Sweden in order to study Education at the same SU.
The impressions of Sweden were different before the arrival. Xiang thought of Sweden as being a neutral country, with old buildings, the home of the Nobel Prize and with good research. He said his expectations were fulfilled.
Eri also expected a good education, social security and a welfare system here. But she also thought of Sweden as being expensive, something she said it was truly confirmed!
Coralie talked too about Sweden as seen as a country with high educational standards. She also said that she was aware of the Swedish design. While Romina knew that Sweden has a society focused on human rights and gender equality.
Even if the expectations of these four students were confirmed when they arrived in Stockholm, there were still issues that surprised them in Sweden.
Xiang is still surprised by how relaxed the people are here. Romina talked also about the rhythm of the Swedish life and the interest in debates and various projects.
On the other hand, Coralie was surprised to realize how few hours of sunlight are during the winter, while Eri still struggles with Systembolaget (the chain of state-owned stores which have the exclusive right to sell alcoholic beverages in Sweden) and the fact that it’s open only until 3 PM on Saturdays.
The best things
One can easily find things to love in Stockholm and Sweden. We asked our students about theirs and Coralie said that she likes how the Swedish capital is so clean and well organized, that everything is well-though and efficient.
Similarly, Eri says that she appreciates that everything is so pretty and beautiful when the sun comes out. She also likes that people are nice and good English speakers. Romina also points out that she likes the politeness of the people. While Xiang underlines that he likes the most the peace of Sweden.
Even if all four of our interviewees are happy with their time in Sweden, there is always something that one misses from home. And here we seem to have an agreement. Everyone misses the family and friends. Second, there is the food. Coralie notes that she misses especially the fresh bread and the good wine. Third, also important, the sunlight!
The student life
Coralie says that she likes that there are so many cultures in Stockholm and you basically have to interact with people from all over the world in one day by staying in your shared student kitchen. She appreciates especially the international dinners and the cultural exchange. Talking about the Swedes, she says that you can get friends with them as soon as you share some time together, even if they seem shy in the beginning.
Eri says that the student life in Sweden is less busy than in Japan, because she only has a few classes during the week. Xiang states that he does not see anything unique in the student life in Sweden, but he observes that even if he gets along with Swedish people, he has more Chinese friends here, maybe because of the cultural differences.
On the other hand, Romina likes that Swedes prepare projects for school, instead of just preparing for exams. She does like the Swedish people, but mostly their politeness, the calmness and the patience. Maybe it’s difficult to make friends, but she thinks this is only a matter of time.
Favorite fika spot
Fika is one of the most Swedish concepts ever. So we had to ask the students where do they enjoy best their fika time in Stockholm.
Eri says that one has to have a fika break at Vette Katten in Norrmalm. Xiang thinks that Café Sten Sture in Gamla Stan is definitely his favorite for fika! On the other hand, Coralie and Romina appreciate their cafes at the university. Coralie recommends a fika at the Department of Organic Chemistry at the Stockholm University, while Romina likes the cafe at KMH or at Karla Cafe in Östermlam.
Finally, we asked our interviewees about the places one has to visit while in Stockholm. Maybe you can put them on your to do list too for the next visit!
Coralie recommends Hellasgarden, while Romina thinks music fans should go to Fylkingen. Xiang and Eri believe that Gamla Stan is the best part of the city. But Eri also argues that Sigtuna is also a good objective for travelers.
Text: Ionut @ stoRy touRs