What to expect when you become a student in Stockholm
Stockholm is a pretty big city with some big-time universities: there are a whopping fifteen universities and higher education institutions in the capital. It means that the student experience is incredibly varied here; class schedules and exam styles and partying habits are all massively different. But are there some experiences and observations which, as students in Stockholm, unite us?
- You and 20 other students forget it’s a Red Day and that the library is closed. You all, in a rare act of strangers coming together, research which café is still open to study in. All of you subsequently race there, scavenging around for a seat next to a plug socket.
- The person who has booked the group room you’re in after you will knock on the door at 12:00pm SHARP to tell you to, please, leave now.
- You will feel solidarity with the fallen soldiers who, at 3pm in dark, dark December, are already asleep at their desk in the library.
- You stretch your legs under the table in class in anticipation for the FRANTIC dash to Pressbyrån for coffee in the 10-15 minute break.
- In the springtime, you feel an intense joy as everyone leaves the library at lunchtime to stand outside against the wall, eyes closed, taking in the magical sunshine together.
- You think you’ll study in a café for a change of pace and then nurse your 49kr latte for hours to get your money’s worth.
- You will get invited on a booze cruise to Tallinn and, in a panic to make friends, you will accept.
- You will hear Swedes yell “NAMEN HEJ?!“in surprise at running into a friend on the street and you will jump out of your skin every single time.
- You’ve told a Stockholmer that you’ve been to Abisko or Kiruna and they’ll have responded “Oh wow!!! I’ve never been further north than Uppsala!”
- Your Amazon wishlist probably now contains at least one of these staples of Swedish uniform: wireless Marshall headphones, a Fjällraven backpack or the cycle helmet that’s an actual airbag around your neck.
- You’ve met someone from Skåne who really, really doesn’t like Stockholmers and you’ll awkwardly hold your beer whilst they tell you all the ways Stockholmers can be rude.
- You’ll later realise how right they were when (particularly if you’re living in the Inner City) your neighbours do NOT want to be mates with you 🙁
- Buuuuut if you’re living in a student dorm: Welcome to the house of fun.
- A friend took you to sauna once and you tell everyone you meet how much you love being naked now (guilty as charged, ma’am).
- You will meet someone cool at a bar and in effort to impress them say that of course you will attend their Konstfack exhibition showcase/friend’s brewery opening/woodland rave DJ set and then slowly…back..away..from the…commitment..
- You’ll swipe past men who are genuinely named “Love” on Tinder and wonder if this could be the beginning of your soon-to-be-fictionalised quirky Gen Z rom-com.
- You get into very passionate debates with fellow LGBTQ+ friends about how it feels like there are hardly! any! queer! bars! left! in! the! city! 🙁
- But then you’ll go to a bunch of fantastic queer art popups and film festivals in the city and find new gorgeous pals there too/ you’ll gaze longingly at a new crush in the film screening darkness.
- Flirting in-person is impossible. Everyone is on the apps. Unless it’s 2:50am in the club where there is a 3:00am closing time, and many drunk straight Swedish men flock to the dancefloor like the zombies in Dawn of the Dead in search of someone to snog.
- Getting some sexy eye-contact on the subway is also apparently impossible here. Like get it together, Björn, this commute could be way more exciting for the both of us.
- If you do meet someone and one weekend you find yourself mushroom-picking together, you’re probably going to become sambos and start making plans to save up for a downpayment on a 2-room apartment in Nacka together very soon.
Housing / Buildings / Design
- People leaving passive aggressive notes on the washing machine when you run 15 minutes over your allotted time is normal now. Maybe you have…even become….a passive aggressive note-maker.
- You’ll get into very earnest conversations over the ongoing noise complaint debate in the city.
- Every so often you’ll wonder whether, in the coming apocalypse, Globen will sprout legs and be weaponised against the city like in War of the Worlds.
- You will bemoan the construction at Slussen when will it end.
- Gender neutral toilets will be normal, as they should be.
- The novelty of there sometimes being TWO TOILETS IN ONE CUBICLE still won’t have worn off (see: Dirty Vegan’s toilets, Trädgården’s indoor toilets & Häktet’s toilets, to name a few delights).
- You will curse the electric scooters in the city on a daily basis. You’ll become a hypocrite about them when you’re drunk because actually they’re just so fuuuuuun…
- Feeling enough flygskam (flight shame) that you vow to take the night train from Stockholm to Copenhagen next time you go.
- Not sitting next to someone on the bus unless you can really, really help it.
- Sista minuten train fares have allowed you to be more spontaneous like your Instagram bio says you are (without breaking the bank !!)
- The novelty of commuting by boat still hasn’t worn off.
- Everyone who visits you is like “I probably don’t need this anymore, you have it!” about their SL card. So now you have like 4 SL cards.
- You’ll wonder if you’ll ever ride the Duckboat.
- When you hear Swedes complain about SJ you think oh boy you don’t know how good you have it, and then deliver a passionate monologue about how SJ trains might be your Truest Loves In This Life.
Food & Drink
- You’ll see a beer priced at 60kr and think: “this isn’t great but I know this city and truly it could be worse.”
- It is entirely normal to get a hot dog from the national corner shop, Pressbyrån. It is not unusual to see people eating these at 10 o’clock in the morning after a Big Night Out.
- Kanelbullar may as well be their own food group here.
- You start to wonder why people are so mad for kanelbullar, and it actually starts to enrage you a bit. Like, are they even that good? But then at Pressbyrån the cashier asks if you want one with your coffee and you’re like “yeah, of course.”
- It is normal and not at all weird that there is a day which celebrates every single food in the Swedish calendar.
- Pressbyrån’s Ost Fralla roll will save you when you forget your lunchbox on the kitchen counter.*
- *(I am not being sponsored by Pressbyrån for this content).
- You start to befriend your local cashiers at Hemköp and COOP so you can find out when the next Oatly shortage will be.
- After a while of seeing the same deals on Påskmust/Julmust, herring and Kalles Kaviar rotating at Hemköp you start to wonder…do Swedes just eat the same thing every holiday?
Does any of the above ring true for you? Or am I just howling useless observations into the void? Let me know in the comments!