When Angela goes to Stockholm to study with DIS this spring, she looks forward to experiencing a different culture. Building on her classes at Pomona College, Angela has crafted a schedule at DIS that lets her pursue her interests while giving her new, unique perspectives.
We asked Angela how she is preparing to study abroad in these unusual times, what she is looking forward to exploring in Stockholm, and if she has any good advice to pass on to other students.
DIS: Hi Angela, tell us a bit about yourself.
A: Hi! I am a junior studying psychological science at Pomona College. Although I have not yet committed to a specific job, I do know that my aspirations will carry me into pursuing a career in the criminal justice field. In my free time, I love to explore, whether it be the city life or outdoors.
I wish to take this wonderful opportunity to really step outside of the American bubble and explore what Sweden has to teach.
DIS: How did you decide you were going to Stockholm with DIS?
A: I started off with not knowing exactly which study abroad program I was going to attend. I knew that my Core Course would have to be psychology, but I didn’t know what area of psychology was offered and what my electives would be. Upon meeting study abroad advisors, I began speaking about my interest in psych and law. To my delight, one of the advisors brought up the fact that their program did indeed offer a course very much in my interests. That is how I learned about the Forensic Psychology course in DIS Stockholm.
I applied to study with DIS Stockholm because I would be taking Forensic Psychology in a community that appreciates a different set of values and ethics. Approaches to ideas of justice, punishment, and rehabilitation vary depending on the cultural norms. Sweden offers another perspective about the role of the criminal justice system in its society. For one, the focus on the people who are incarcerated in the Nordic model is about behavioral regulation and reintegration back into the community through “open prisons”. It would be insightful to learn about what kinds of efforts have been pursued in Sweden!
Understanding the existing support structures and available resources that DIS has will provide a strong foundation for me to build off of in another country.
DIS: What are you looking forward to during your semester with DIS?
A: My Core Course includes study tours to Stockholm and Scotland, which I’m highly anticipating. We will be visiting and meeting research groups and education and treatment centers involved in the justice system.
In addition, the Career Connection Homestay is an exciting kind of living arrangement that DIS Stockholm recently offered, and which I have applied for. Not only would I have the chance to learn from and immerse in the local lifestyle with a family, but also the added opportunity to talk to a professional in the field I’m interested in.
DIS: What are you most excited to explore in Sweden?
A: To start off, the ability to take the Swedish Culture and Language course is quite exciting. As someone who has no previous knowledge of anything Swedish, I look forward to attending the introductory class. Perhaps, I could even apply what I’ve learned to my Homestay.
Outside of academics, there is a whole spectrum of other culturally specific activities unique to Stockholm for us to explore. In Sweden, they honor this concept called freedom to roam, or Right of Public Access. Stockholm itself is a beautiful place, with archipelagos and quaint towns all around. In its broadest sense, the Right of Public Access allows an individual to roam freely with understandable care and consideration towards the environment. As someone who enjoys traveling around, I do hope to learn more about the value of having such a policy.
DIS: Do you have any hobbies or interests from home that you plan to pursue abroad?
A: I do like staying active, and the Stockholm Student Sports Union would be a neat chance to meet other individuals through recreational or outdoor sports. Whether it be tennis, hiking, cycling, or more, these are activities that provide a means for fun, group interactions. Even though I may be living at a Homestay, I’m hoping to still engage with the DIS community. The New in Town Meetups opportunity allows me to explore the city while also socializing with students as well.
Having lived in mostly the same places my entire life, I often do not encounter the chance to experience an entirely new culture.
DIS: How are you preparing to study abroad this spring?
A: While Pomona is still developing its ties with DIS Stockholm, the city and program itself are both well-known and well-established. Understanding the existing support structures and available resources that DIS has will provide a strong foundation for me to build off of in another country.
However, I do not know what next year will bring; I don’t think anybody does. Now more than ever, learning how to be flexible will come a long way in powering through this pandemic. Focusing on what I can control, such as reviewing the study abroad checklist, will prepare me for what’s to come.
DIS: Have you received any good advice about study abroad?
A: A tidbit of advice that has resonated with me was to keep an open mind so that I could experience as much as I can. Just having this opportunity is already such a blessing! Although I would have to adjust to a culture with new norms and etiquettes, it is something I have the chance to learn about. It is the chance to share and connect to another community that’s not my own.
DIS: What do you hope to get out of your time in Stockholm?
A: When I look back on my semester abroad, I hope to understand another society whose values and outlooks may differ from America. Having lived in mostly the same places my entire life, I often do not encounter the chance to experience an entirely new culture. I wish to take this wonderful opportunity to really step outside of the American bubble and explore what Sweden has to teach, what its people have to teach. It’s a gift to learn from one another and to carry on each other’s stories.
As this program has not yet been made available to everyone in my school, I hope I can encourage more people wanting to study abroad to look into and ask about DIS Stockholm.