As I come to the end of my first session in Stockholm, I can’t help but feel a little sad to say goodbye to my professor and classmates. Three weeks seems like such a short time, and yet I have learned so much about social psychology, about myself, and about my fellow classmates.
For example, I didn’t realize how much I love small talk until I couldn’t do it anymore! In the United States, small talk is an expected part of life, whether that be speaking with strangers on an elevator, on public transportation, or just offering a compliment or other random comment in passing. However, Sweden has a very different culture. On my morning commute to class, the train car is silent except for friends talking among themselves. Small talk is almost completely nonexistent and there is no expectation to talk to the person next to you. Beyond that, if you do try to make small talk, you might make them very uncomfortable. This should have been an easy thing to deal with for a self-identified introvert who prefers the quiet and books to most forms of social interaction. This was not the case and, apparently, I’m not as shy as I thought! On multiple occasions, I’ve found myself very frustrated to not be able to talk to other people. I see a woman with a pretty dress, a cute dog, or a cute baby and I so want to show my appreciation, but I have to stop myself because I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.
This is just one of many things I have learned here, but I can’t wait to learn more over the next, and my last, three weeks in Stockholm. While many of my classmates are going to Copenhagen for the next session (I will miss them terribly, but I hope they have a wonderful experience!), I and several of my other classmates will remain in Stockholm to take another class. We will also be joined by many students who spent their first session in Copenhagen. For me, this class will be Affective Neuroscience: Emotions, Cognition, and Behavior taught by a DIS professor who is currently doing research at the Karolinska Institutet Center (for those who read my second blog post, this place should sound familiar!). During this class, my classmates and I will be taking a trip, known as a Study Tour, to Paris, France for five days as a supplement for material we will be covering.
Outside of coursework, I also have many other adventures planned for the next session! Now that I have a better grasp of the city and transportation (Thanks Dad for teaching me how to navigate and adapt!), I can’t wait to explore more! While on a boat tour of the archipelago (Stockholm is made up of 14 islands. Sweden has over 200,000!), I got a good look at the outside of the Vasa Museum, the Nordiska Museet, and the Gröna Lund Amusement Park (I think I’ve mentioned this park in every post so far). I hope to visit each of these locations during my last three weeks, as well as several more, including the Skansen, an open-air museum and zoo. I am having so much fun learning about Swedish history and culture! I highly recommend looking into the history of the royal family, especially the current King Carl XVI and the lovely Queen Silvia.
As sad as I am that my time here is halfway over, I’m so excited to see the amazing things and experiences that my second session holds!