At the beginning of the semester, DIS holds an Activities Fair where you can sign up to join various clubs and groups. Ella, Barnard College, signed up to play a Swedish sport called innebandy: a type of hockey played on an indoor court with a whiffle-like ball. We met up with Ella to ask her about her experience playing with Swedes while abroad with DIS.
DIS: What is innebandy?
Ella B.: Innebandy is a sport where you have a stick and you push around a whiffle-like ball. It is kind of like hockey, but not on the ice. I had never heard of it before coming to Sweden. It is traditionally a big thing here in Sweden, so I was like “I might as well try something that I can’t do at home.”
DIS: How did you get involved?
EB: I got involved in innebandy by signing up during one of the first weeks here at DIS. The Gymnastik- och Idrottshögskolan organization came to DIS and said: “join!” I knew that I wanted to do something in the greater community and outside of DIS, so I signed up.
DIS: What are your teammates like?
EB: There are about 10 or 12 people in the innebandy class. Most of them are guys; there are a few girls. I have actually made friends with some of them. They come from a lot of different places. Most of them are Stockholm University students, and one of them I am actually getting fika with this afternoon!
DIS: How has been a part a sporting community added to your study abroad experience?
EB: I have enjoyed playing innebandy every Wednesday evening so much! It is a routine and it gets me outside of DIS, because sometimes I feel that I need to interact with people other than DIS students. DIS students are amazing, but I came here to explore the culture and be involved with people who grew up in different cultures rather than my own.
DIS: What were you feeling before your very first practice?
EB: Before my first practice, I was a little bit scared. I didn’t know whether everything would be in Swedish; I didn’t know whether my teammates would be all like, extremely fit and I would be the lowest skilled person there. But it’s actually been really chill! We speak English mostly during the lessons because a lot of the students come from other places as well. There are some exchange students, too. So yeah, it definitely wasn’t as nerve wrecking after the first couple of times.
DIS: Do you suggest joining a club or sport while abroad?
EB: It’s a risk to do something outside of the DIS community and to really put yourself out there, but so far it has been super rewarding to get to know people and to expand my community a little bit. I definitely suggest joining, especially a sport, because you share something that other people value and it is a very low-pressure thing.
DIS: Any last thoughts?
EB: Just do it! It can be intimidating to join something outside the DIS community, but the people I’ve met are kind and welcoming, despite my struggle with the Swedish language. I hope to keep them as friends after I leave Stockholm.