The second week of my study abroad experience can be categorized into four words: getting in the zone. Reality has begun to sink in and I am realizing that I am not here for just a quick vacation – I am here for an entire semester of school. In a brand new city. It has been a mix of exciting and overwhelming. From the times I wander through Gamla Stan and take in the architectural beauty that is Stockholm, to the times that I feel so nervous to ask someone a question on the subway because I’m not sure if they speak English. These past few weeks have been about facing the reality that is my upcoming semester!
In order to familiarize myself with the city, I signed up to do the DIS sponsored scavenger hunt across the city. It began at Central Station and we were off from there! To start, we went to City Hall and enjoyed the beautiful view of the water.
The scavenger hunt then led us to other destinations like the old town – Gamla Stan! We weaved our way over cobblestone streets and faced the windy alleyways until we finally found the main square in Gamla Stan. Right at the spot where this epic fountain was built, there was a bloody massacre in the 1500s in order to kill a bunch of nobles. Viva la Revolution?
After admiring the famous rune stone, the graffitied walls, and the cute shops everywhere, we made our way off Gamla Stan and took a ferry to Gröna Lund the amusement park on and island south of Östermalm. Near there, we walked around the green space, walked past the front of Skansen – the oldest open air museum in the world, the ABBA museum, and the front of the Vasa Museum.
After we wandered slowly back to DIS, we realized that we had gotten all our steps in a long time ago and it was time to go home. I feel much more aware of my surroundings now that I did the scavenger hunt. I made friends along the way, familiarized myself with the city, and feel much more confident taking public transportation now. Such a great way to spend my Saturday!
Besides galavanting around town, I have been studying quite a bit. I am in 15 credits of classes – about the same as I would be back at Tulane. It has been very doable and the teachers are really understanding about the growing pains we all face as new students. I am really impressed with the DIS staff and how well they are helping people transition into their new lives in Sweden. They really care about their students. (And no, they did not tell me to write that.)
These next few weeks will be about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, making friends, and exploring someplace new. Tack för läser!