Eight months have passed since I first arrived in Sweden, and my time here is a precious treasure. I can say that Sweden is the most beautiful country in the world. Sweden has a well-organized society, nice people, beautiful cities and is rich in nature. In summer, campus is covered in a carpet of green grass. In winter, everything around me is snow-white. The university gives us an environment where we can study productively and freely. There is a modern library and wonderful professors.
Swedes enjoy a nice lifestyle, like having tea and coffee with friends or colleagues (“fika”) or relaxing at home under the warm orange light and candles. However, I sometimes had issues adjusting to a culture different from my own. There are a few things I wish I had known before coming here, so I pass on my advice for your success in Sweden.
1. Winter Weather
The darkness persists from November to February. Sunrise is at 8 a.m. and sunset is at 3 p.m. The snowy scenery is stunning, but the short days can be depressing. Prepare yourself, and do not forget to take vitamin D pills and warm clothes! After these months, however, you will be surrounded by beautiful sunshine and greenery.
International students must always be aware of a country’s currency and prices. The prices in Sweden are high, especially for transportation and eating at restaurants. A way to save money is to cook on your own. You will acquire new cooking skills by studying abroad!
3. Digital Society
Have your credit/debit cards ready when you decide to visit or study in Sweden. Sweden is close to becoming a cashless economy. People pay by card everywhere, even at the Christmas markets and on the bus. Furthermore, the Internet is a necessity. When you book a train ticket, you can get it online in advance. Everything for school is also managed online, such as your student account or registration for exams.
I feel that it is very difficult to learn Swedish because almost everyone in Sweden can speak English very well. International students can live comfortably without knowing Swedish. If you want to learn Swedish, you have to study hard.
Some people will say of Swedes: “birds of a feather, flock together.” It was difficult for me to make Swedish friends at first, but I’ve learned that Swedes are generally really nice and open-minded. Don’t be shy upon your first meeting, take time to get to know each other!
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