So far, I have been abroad in Stockholm for about 4 weeks. Over this time, I have reflected on the major cultural shocks I have experienced. I also visited several attractions like museums, islands, restaurants, and stores of which I have recommendations.
- Public bathrooms. I love the setup of the public bathrooms here. The typical bathroom set up is room with several a private stalls that include a toilet and sometimes a sink — kind of like the bathroom you would have on a plane. You get complete privacy by having a room to yourself. The bathrooms are also, on average, very clean compared to the ones in the US. In the US, the bathroom stalls usually provide little privacy and vary significantly in cleanliness. Some bathrooms in Sweden require payment to use, such as bathrooms at metro stations. However, the payment is very the cheap at about 1 US Dollar, so it’s not devastating but it can be annoying if you are in a jam. I fortunately have never needed to pay to use a bathroom here. I’ve always been able to use one available to patrons at a restaurant or museum while I was there.
- Public Transportation. The public transportation has such a wide range of stops throughout and beyond Stockholm while being super high quality and accessible. There are several types of public transport available with a swipe of the metro card given to you by DIS: the metro, bus, tram, and ferry. Hornstull subway station, the nearest station to my dorm, is about a 5 minute walk, and it can deliver me all over the city very quickly. There are also several bus stops near the dorm. I used the ferry for the first time this week, and its crazy to me that it is a practical option for public transport. It makes sense though, because Stockholm is basically a large series of islands. With the speed, accessibility, and quality of the public transportation here, there is seemingly no need to even have a car for one’s day to day life.
- Commitment to the environment. In Stockholm, people are very conscientious when disposing garbage in order to maximize recycling and minimize waste ending up in landfill. There are are about 5 different garbage cans to sort your garbage into when discarding. The usual categories are paper, glass, plastic, metal, and waste. There are laws in place that actually fine people for failing to correctly sort their garbage. Sometimes it takes me a minute to sort and figure out how to throw away my garbage! Another small thing I have noticed is that at the grocery store, you have to pay for each bag you use to carry your groceries. The plastic bags cost like $0.70 each, which isn’t much, but it is enough to make me remember to bring a bag to the store each time. It made me think about my habits at the grocery store I use at my home university. I always just use the bags they give me for free when I could easily just bring my own bag and not be wasteful.
My favorite attractions:
- The Vasa Museum. This museum has probably been my favorite of the 10 I have explored. This museum features a recovered Swedish warship from the 17th century. It was surreal to see and learn about a real-life pirate-like ship.
- ABBA The Museum. This was very unique and fun museum that I highly recommend checking out especially if you are an ABBA fan. It is very vibrant and lively and shows several videos, interactive displays, and exhibits to teach you all about the history of ABBA.
- Flatenbadet Beach. My class has had two days off in the last few weeks, and my friends and I spent both of them at this beach. This beach is about 40 minutes from our dorm. It has a two docks, one with 2 different jumps, a sand volleyball court, outside gym, and food stand. It was a fun way to spend our days off and to meet some locals while swimming or playing volleyball.
My favorite restaurants:
- Ristorante Pizzaria Rimini. This is an Italian restaurant that is a short walk from the dorm. I like to grab a delicious calzone (shown below) when I am out of groceries or don’t feel like cooking.
- Hornstull’s Burgers and Grill. This is a great burger stand right outside the train station by my dorm. It’s open till like 3 am, so this has been a great late night snack option. My go-to choice is the truffle burger!
- Café Järntorget. This is one of many cafes in Gamla Stan. They have many options for crepes, waffles, and ice cream. I ordered an awesome strawberry and nutella crepe which was made right in front of me!