|A DAY IN THE LIFE...||STUDY ABROAD||EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING||HONORS FACULTY||NEWS||PHOTOS|
Well, I’ve been in Sweden for almost three weeks now. I’m studying at Linnaeus University in Växjö. I decided to go to Sweden because I heard it was very English-friendly and all my classes would be in English. However, I’m hoping to learn at least some Swedish by the time I leave in June!
There’s a student organization on campus that arranges trips for exchange students. This trip was to the first IKEA. We were told that this particular one is the smallest since it was the first one ever built, but it’s still huge!!
One of the things that’s different at Linnaeus than at ISU is that there is no meal plan, which means you have to cook for yourself. Many people get together to make dinner since it’s easier and much more fun! This night, we made vegetarian lasagna.
Since students have to cook for themselves, this means going to the grocery store. Shopping has been quite an experience since everything is in Swedish! In this picture, my friend and I have no idea what we’re eating or even if we made it correctly. But it was good!
While I haven’t had the chance to see much of Sweden yet, I have visited the Växjö Cathedral. It was constructed during the twelfth century and is well-known for its twin steeples. The church is located in downtown Växjö, which is about a ten minute bus ride from campus.
Sweden is finally starting to feel like home, although a confusing one! I’d like to think I’ve adjusted to all the differences here, but there a few that still bother me when I think about them. One of the weirdest things I’ve experienced is simply walking down the street. No one looks at you or dares to make eye contact. It’s as if you are invisible! Another thing that is different is noticeable on the bus. Passengers put their purse or bag on the seat next to them. As the bus begins to fill up, people do not remove their items. If you want to sit down, you have to ask someone to please move their stuff. I mean, I read about the cultural differences before I came to Sweden, but reading about them does not compare to the actual experience! Thankfully, I have a great group of friends and a Swedish buddy who understand what I’m experiencing and are going through the same thing!
Another thing I’ve learned from being is that when you are lost in public or need to ask someone a simple question (for example, where does this bus go?), you should always ask a younger person rather than an older one. From my experience and those of my friends, older people are more likely to simply walk away or say, “I don’t understand.” Some will do this even if they do know English. In public, Swedish people are usually quiet and keep to themselves. On the buses and trains, it is really quiet!
For me, the hardest thing to get accustomed to is walking around campus and the university buildings. Everything, including signs and posters, are all in Swedish. I hate not knowing what it all says! I’m hoping by the end of the semester, I’ll be able to read a simple sentence in Swedish. My Swedish class has only met three times, so my knowledge of Swedish is still limited.
At the beginning of this month, I met my aunt from Texas for the first time! She is a professor at Texas A&M, but she’s living in Sweden for the semester since she received a Fulbright Scholarship. She’s conducting research at an UN-owned university about two hours away by train. I stayed with her for a weekend, and she showed me the city of Malmö. It was really nice to be able to meet and get to know my aunt! It’s funny I had to go all the way to Sweden to meet my American aunt!
This is my favorite building in Mälmö. I’m not sure what it is, but the design and color is beautiful!
I first noticed these trees while staying with my aunt, but I’ve seen them in several other places too. Still haven’t figured out what they are, but they look cool!
Unfortunately, that weekend I ended up getting a terrible cold and pinkeye! When I got back to Växjö, I went to the campus health center to see a nurse. Sweden has socialized medicine, and people rarely see doctors. Going to the health center was definitely an experience! I just had a conversation with the nurse. She did not examine my throat or my eyes at all. She simply told me to wash my eyes out with water and come back in five days if they didn’t get better. So, as water does not cure bacterial infections, I went back. Thankfully, the nurse did end up writing me a prescription that allowed me to go buy eye drops. I still think it was weird that neither nurse actually looked at my eyes or throat, but just simply talked to me!
This month I attended a reception for exchange students at a castle near campus. The Lord-Mayor of Växjö welcomed us to the city and there was a presentation with more information about the town. We also went on a guided tour of the castle, which is now a hotel. It’s really fancy and very expensive!
This is part of the lobby of the castle. The furnishings look really expensive and there are many antiques.
Here’s a picture of some friends and I at the Welcome Party for exchange students. During the party, some groups put on performances about their countries. Some countries did skits, while others did traditional dances. A few people from the US performed and danced to popular rap songs.
Right now, I’m looking forward to a trip to Kiruna, which is the northernmost city in Sweden. It’ll be very, very cold, but I’m hoping to see the northern lights!
This month was extremely busy! In
Even though I was trying to keep up with coursework, I did find the time
to go on some trips! I went to
|This is a picture taken from the top of the night train. There were three beds on each side. I got stuck with one of the top bunks, near all the luggage!||
Getting ready to get off the train in Kiruna.
We were determined not to freeze! I wore two scarves the entire
I went with a group of eight people, but we had to split up into two groups of four in order to book the cheapest cabin. Unfortunately, by the time I called to reserve a cabin for my group, the camp was already full for the dates we needed!! Luckily, the owner contacted her neighbor, and we were able to stay at her cabin. We actually got the better deal because our ‘cabin’ had running water, a bathroom with a shower, and was heated! It was even decorated! The other group ended up staying in a very small cabin with no heat, water, or bathroom!
While in Kiruna, we toured the Ice Hotel, rode on a dog sledge, saw the Northern Lights, and drove snowmobiles. Unfortunately, my camera managed to break on the way to Kiruna, so all these pictures are courtesy of my friends!
|It was so pretty there!||There was a bench made out of ice! So cold!|
|Entrance to the Ice Hotel|
The walls were all carved and showed
||This was my favourite room! There were sculptures of polar bears all around the bed!|
I also went to
|Changing of the guard||
A view of mainland
One of the Royal Guards.
|Apparently these buildings behind me are famous, but I’d never heard of them before!|
I also went to
Classes are going well. I finished my English Linguistics class, which
actually did require me to study. I had to learn the pronunciation
symbols and how to transcribe words in British English. Like most
Swedish classes, we never had any homework. Our grade was determined by
a single, four-hour exam at the end of the class. Thankfully, I did get
an A on the test and managed to not make the
beginning of the month, I took a day trip to Gothenburg, the second
largest city in
|Swedish dance team||Pretty sure the girl with orange hair is supposed to be Pippy Longstocking.|
|The Eye of Gothenburg||A group of singers that were singing English songs, including songs from Lion King!|
second trip I took this month was to
Before leaving, I planned out which bus and train I would need to take to get to the airport on time. I made it to the train without incident, but after getting on it, a conductor told me I would have to change trains because this train was very delayed and would not make it on time.
off at the next station and got a new ticket, but the ticket did not say
the airport, but the name of another town. While trying to figure out
what to do, I found a younger Swede and asked him for help.
It turns out that he studies in
new train I was on was also delayed, so I was worried I would not make
it to the airport on time, but I did! When I got to airport security,
my stuff was labelled ‘Random Search.’ I had to get padded down and
wasn’t allowed to touch my backpack. I could only answer questions as
the guard opened it and took my belongings out. And they kept scanning
everything! I had a money belt with me, and they scanned it twice.
Then, they took out all the carefully folded bills I had put in and
unfolded them! The guard ending up taking my deodorant and peanut
butter. I had some food with me we wouldn’t have to waste money on food
Then, my flight was delayed by almost an hour. When we had boarded the plane, the pilot made an announcement that the person who was supposed to refuel the airplain never showed up. We had to wait another half hour! Even though I ended up arriving very late, I did manage to find my friend in the customs and immigration line because that itself took two hours! Luckily, that was where the difficulties ended! It was very easy to get a coach bus and then a taxi to our hostel. I was surprised we were able to find a taxi at 3am!
next day we figured out the tube and bus system. It is so much easier
While we were there, we were able to see Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, Buckingham Palace, the changing of the guard, Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Big Ben, Tower of London, London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe, Chinatown, and many others! We didn’t know it before we left, but the London Marathon was taking place while we were there. We also went to a service at Westminster Abbey, which is so beautiful! We went there because that is where the royal wedding will be taking place next week. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the interior because it wasn’t allowed. However, we did find out way into other parts of the Abbey and took some pictures.
|Near where the London Marathon was taking place, there was a street filled with protestors and signs.|
Big Ben and the
A view from inside the courtyard of Westminster
||This is another courtyard which is surrounded by private residences in the Abbey|
Kathryn and I in front of our tour bus
||We also found King’s College School of Law, so I had to get a picture!|
can’t decide which part of London I enjoyed the most.
It’s a tie between
|Stonehenge again because it’s so awesome! :)|
A view of the area around
The seats we had for Les Miz were incredible! When I reserved them, they were marked as having a ‘slightly restricted view,’ but we could see everything! The performers and orchestra were really good! A few of the actors were the same ones that were in the PBS version of Les Miz that came out a couple of months ago.
|The ceiling of the Queen’s Theatre|
One thing we stumbled upon while walking around was the National Gallery. We went in because there was a big sign saying free admission. While exploring the gallery, we found some Van Gogh paintings. Van Gogh is my favorite painter, so I took a picture of one of them. Apparently though, no photography is allowed. We continued to walk around and I found a painting that I had studied in my GH201 class last semester. I was pretty excited because I actually remembered most of the information we had learned about the painting. I couldn’t take a picture of it because one of the museum workers was watching me. However, I did drag my friend back to the gallery the next day and had her block my camera with her back so I could take the picture!
||I didn’t have much time to adjust the camera, but this is Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus|
On the way back to
When we got to the flat, he introduced me to his girlfriend and explained why I was there. I then realized that he hadn’t called or texted her to let her know that I was coming! I felt so bad! But, they were both very, very nice and let me sleep in the spare bedroom. The girlfriend is going to law school, so I was able to ask her all sorts of questions! I’m planning on going to law school after undergrad, so it was really interesting to hear about law school in
When I was about to go to sleep, my parents called me and asked if I had made it to the airport yet. I had to explain where I was and assure them it was okay. Looking back, I probably should have just told them I was at the airport so they didn’t worry!
I ended up leaving their flat at 5am to find the central train station to take me to the airport train station. It was a different station than we used last night, but the guy drew me a map, so I found it very easily! It was still a bit eerie walking around that early in the morning, especially when most of the buildings were covered in graffiti!
My trip to
Three days after returning from London, I left for another trip. I met my parents in Copenhagen, and we flew to Krakow, Poland. We were met at the airport by Professor Jozef Kolodziej, Jadzia Bolaszewska, and her son, Michal. Without their hospitality and kindness, our trip would not have been what it was! They showed us around Krakow, drove us to sites that were further away, and opened up their homes to us.
Here’s a picture of my dad, Professor
Jozef, Michal, Jadzia, and me in front
of a statue celebrating a famous Polish
||This is Saint Mary’s Basilica. On every hour, a trumpet signal is heard, but it is cut off mid-tune to commemorate at 13th century trumpeter who was shot in the throat with an arrow when sounding the alarm of an invasion.|
||Professor Kolodziej, my mom, and I at Wawel|
and Auschwitz II- Birkenau, an extermination and death camp.
This is a picture of Auschwitz.
|We also visited the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. While I was not interested in the religious significance of the site, I was really glad we went. There was an exhibit about the Polish Solidarity movement, which used methods of civil resistance to gain power from the communists.||
Professor Kolodziej also showed us
of the university buildings where he taught.
|While in Poland, it was my dad’s birthday. These traditional Goral musicians just happened to be at the restaurant and sang happy birthday to him!||Before we went back to the airport, we stopped at another site, Kosciuszko Mound, which is a viewing mound. It was pretty neat to be able to see so much of the city!|
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go to Poland. I learned so much and am so grateful to Professor Kolodziej, Jadzia, and Michal for making this trip so memorable and amazing! And thank you to Uncle John Krawiec for putting us in touch with these wonderful people.
Well, even though I ended up taking classes that overlapped, I did manage to pass all of them! Besides just getting credit, I had a semester full of amazing experiences and opportunities. I was able to meet people from many different countries and develop what I hope will be life-long friendships. I wouldn’t trade my experiences in Sweden for anything!