Blonde? Check. Blue eyes? Check. Suitcase? Check. Adventure list? Check.
It appeared I had packed everything I needed. I was trying to be minimal and I think I succeeded. One checked bag, one carryon and one backpack. Pretty good for a #fashiondiva packing for 5 months in a bitter cold town in Sweden.
It’s kind of crazy actually being here in Sweden now. Studying abroad has been on my “to-do” list since I first visited Colorado Mesa University the spring of my senior year in high school and here I am a junior in college “living the dream”.
So what is it like to live in Sweden you ask? Well it is like living in Narnia, only with more coffee and less talking beavers.
Really though, the snow doesn’t melt here like it does back in Colorado. It stays frozen to the trees, fences, sidewalks, everything!
Walking everywhere is both a blessing and a curse. It is beautiful to walk below these frosted trees, but the cold (-5˚F) is not pleasant. Yesterday we got all the way up to 28˚ and it felt warm! (Almost)
University West is a little over a mile walk from the flat where I live with most the other international students. The university itself is tiny, with lots of spiral staircases and windows to look out on the chilled, little town of Trollhattan. I find myself feeling most at home in my marketing courses, which is not surprising, as I once again live up to my nickname the Queen Nerd. Marketing and business just make sense to me and are exciting, just like getting to know the new people around me. My courses are about 3 hours long with coffee breaks every 45 minutes. Coffee coffee coffee! Luckily the cafeteria has good coffee and you buy a cup for 10SEK and its free refills all day.
I think I will learn a lot by immersing myself in this different way of higher education and I think the U.S. could learn a thing or two. Like the fact that my course textbooks are available digitally through the library! How nice is that? And the coffee break is something I could definitely get used to. However, I am excited to compare notes with my other international friends and tell them the good things about education back in Colorado as well.
This first week of school has felt like that first week of college your freshman year, only on steroids. Everyone is trying to figure out what this new way of life will be like and there is no direction manual (Even if there was it would be in Swedish and so we’re all still out of luck). Add a lot of jetlag and well you have yourself a real fun party. (Please note: the sarcasm here is dripping)
Speaking of partying, I, Lauren Heaton, went to my first college party. Like legitimate everyone is drinking, smoking, shouting, and it’s dark and crowded with flashing lights and music. Yeah….. I lasted maybe 30 minutes. At least I attempted to step out of my comfort zone!
Aside from school, my international friends and I have been getting out going on adventures in and around Trollhattan. We drove 30 minutes to the nearest IKEA in Uddvalla and enjoyed looking at all the fun little rooms and items in the massive store. I personally love the wallpaper and fully set up rooms they put together so nicely. After our mini shopping spree we of course had to enjoy the IKEA restaurant and I must say it was one of the best meals I have had in Sweden so far!
We also took a day to go to Gothenburg which is the second largest city in Sweden. Taking the train was an experience in itself because we got to see more of the countryside. Once in Gothenburg we did some shopping for winter boots etc. and then perused the city taking in the architecture and design of the city. We all kept saying how excited we are to come back in the spring when we can see more and walk around more easily. It’s amazing how difficult it can be to walk on snowy sidewalks.
We also found our way to Gothenburg University. I think it looks almost like Monsters University, but that is just my inner Disney showing.
I also have found a nice church to attend here in Trollhattan and was warmly welcomed after mass to coffee and Swedish cinnamon buns.
Well that is all for week one in Sweden. I am excited because I know this is just the beginning. We are already planning trips to see the northern lights and Stockholm in the not so distant future. For now I am trying to make the most of everyday.
Until next time,
Dream Big! Live Courageously! And Thrive