Emma, Furman University, studies Forensic Psychology at DIS Stockholm this fall. She lives in a Homestay in Sollentuna, a municipality within the Stockholm metro area.
We sat down with Emma to hear about her Swedish Homestay experience:
DIS: Why did you decide to do a Homestay?
Emma J.: I knew I would feel more comfortable and at home if I were living with a family. I also wanted to experience parts of daily life in Sweden that I couldn’t experience otherwise. Being in a Homestay gives me an insight into Swedish traditions and culture that I wouldn’t even have thought about before.
DIS: What do you hope to get out of the Homestay experience?
EJ: I’m hoping to develop my language skills and experience student life, but also be a part of family life. So far, I’ve been successful! I take classes and travel and go on Field Studies with my peers, but I also get to go to football matches and family birthday parties and choir concerts with my Homestay. It feels like the best of both worlds!
DIS: What is an insight into Swedish culture that you have gained from living in a Homestay?
EJ: I think what I notice the most about Swedish culture is the emphasis on breaks and relaxing in order to refresh and keep yourself healthy both mentally and physically.
Fredagsmys and fika are very important times to relax in Swedish culture even during a stressful week. Coming from a high-pressure school with a heavy workload, it’s refreshing to live with a 12-year-old host sister who constantly reminds me that it isn’t good for your brain to work for too long without a break! Or in her words, “You need to take a chill sometimes.”
DIS: What is your favorite small moment you’ve shared with your family so far?
EJ: Oh, there are so many moments I’ve loved so far. I think my birthday was probably the best one. My entire host family (dog included) woke me up with singing and gifts and hugs. They were so intentional about celebrating me and making me feel at home, and it really reminded me of how lucky I am to live with such great, generous people. They are seriously the best.
DIS: What advice do you have for students who are considering living in a Homestay?
EJ: Go in with an open mind and remember to be flexible because you are going to have to insert yourself into another family’s routine. There might be things you aren’t used to: Food you’ve never heard of, young kids, communication barriers, etc. It’s all part of the experience and living in a Homestay really enriches your time in Sweden!