Why everyone should study abroad in Stockholm

The Northern Lights, vikings and the birthplace of IKEA, Spotify and Skype

In my second year, I decided to do my English Lit study abroad in a country where the first language isn’t English. Well, if I’m completely honest I didn’t decide to – my visa to study in Arizona didn’t arrive on time and Stockholm University was accepting late applications. As with most things in life not going to plan, I just went with it.

Little did I know it was the best last-minute decision I had ever made. Studying in Sweden wasn’t ever something that crossed my mind. Snow and meatballs is all I really thought of, how much fun could this be?

The very first thing I noticed in Stockholm is how everyone, and I mean everyone, looked well off. And hot physically fit. And why were so many people wearing black? Had someone died? Coming from studying in London (which is the definition of diverse) this did more than take me by surprise. I think it was my second seminar where a woman approached another British girl and I and revealed that she knew that we were new to Stockholm because we “dressed so colourful”.

After one month

It’s a good thing that their personalities aren’t as dark as their clothes. Far from it. On my first day, nervous, lost, and exhausted from carrying a stupidly royal amount of luggage, I asked a passing woman for directions. She gave me directions. And her access card (oyster). And offered to take me all the way there to make sure I arrived alright. Was this place a utopia? In short, yes.

If you’re not convinced, the Swedish people are so friendly that Sweden has now launched “Call a Swede”:

Ladies and Gentleman, let me introduce you to “fika”. Fika (fee-kah) translates as “to have a hot/cold beverage, often with something sweet”. It’s the first and most useful Swedish word you will ever learn. Class has finished? Fika. Hungover? Fika. Bored with your friends? Fika. That slice of morello cherry pie that’s been calling your name for days? You don’t need an excuse now that you’re Swedish – it’s a way of life.

You don’t speak Swedish? Not a problem, because well, it turns out that they’re masters in English and the only difficulty you might have is persevering with learning Swedish because it’s so easy not to bother learning at all.

Stockholm is made up of islands. So you can go to the beach, the city and the countryside all in one day if you wanted.

As winter arrived, so did the incredibly long dark nights where waking up late meant that sometimes you would only see two or three hours of daylight. The temperatures are freezing and and there’s more snow than you’ve ever seen in your entire life . Surviving a Swedish winter + coming back to England = never complaining about the cold again, you’re cured.

A Swedish winter also means a lot of cosy movie nights, visiting Lapland (obviously) and best of all, seeing the Northern Lights. It’s magical.

When all is said and done, how could you not love a country that has an entire day – Kanelbullensdag – dedicated to cinnamon buns?

“Kanelbullensdag”: Cinnamon bun day