What Sweden has taught me?

Moving to a foreign country changes many things in your life. You make new friends, find your way to new places and  experience things you never have before. But most importantly you learn a lot. So this is what Sweden has taught me.

Language

The most obvious one. Although I had studied Swedish before moving here, I had never really spoken the language. And after living here for almost two years, I’m finally pretty fluent. Learning a new language takes years of hard work. At the beginning, you’ll have to accept your failures and learn from them. But it’s definitely worth all the effort!

You can study one course at a time

I had always thought you’re supposed to study parallel courses and have to plan your schedule by yourselves. Not at Umeå University. Studying was made very simple as we were studying one course at a time and each course was one month long. This gave the opportunity to focus on one thing at a time and I didn’t have to prioritize certain courses over others.

Say “no” without saying “no”

Swedes aren’t very straight forward when it comes to saying “no” or being negative. It’s sometimes been difficult to tell, what they’re actually trying to say. Most Swedes are very polite and tend to use other ways for saying “no”. For some examples, see a post by one of our former bloggers: 5 ways Swedes say ‘No’ without saying ‘No’.

The weather varies depending on the location…

Having only been living in the southern Finland (and in countries warmer than Finland), I somehow assumed that the weather would be more or less the same everywhere. I was wrong. The winters were quite a bit darker and colder and summers much lighter in the north of Sweden.

…and so does the language

I didn’t realize how big the regional differences in the Swedish language were until I moved here and traveled around a bit. The beginning at a new location has always been a bit of a challenge. I’ve also been told that I pronounce many words as I were from Norrland myself.

Plan your alcohol shopping

The state-owned liquor stores have very limited opening hours. And they’re open only six days a week. So if you’re planning to have a glass of wine on a Saturday evening, you’ll have to go the store  well in advance.

And possibly other shopping

I was surprised that in Umeå most stores close at 6 or 7 PM. The grocery stores are usually open until 10 or 11 PM, which is great though!

Lösgodis is everywhere

It’s sold in every single grocery store, convenience stores, kiosks and even gas stations. And I love it! 🍬

 Drinking coffee ☕️

I stopped drinking coffee when I moved back to Finland from the United States. And didn’t drink it for several years. I was and still am a tea lover. But as everyone around me were drinking coffee and the selection of good and cheap energy drinks was rather limited, I became a coffee drinker as well. But I try to keep it under control.

Cheering for others

After a group training class at a gym people give each other high fives. And at the pole dancing school this really hit me. In Finland people would rarely comment on what other people at the class would do, but here it feels like you should watch how others are doing and whenever something looks good you should say it out loud!

Source: Giphy

 

What have you learned while abroad? Comment below! 👇

 

Leonilla

A Finnish student studying for a master's degree in marketing at Umeå University. Contact me at leonilla.studyinsweden(at)gmail.com
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