Vikings, Swedish history, local food, and culture. These are just some of the highlights that Christian, Whitman College, looks forward to exploring during his upcoming semester abroad in Stockholm. While planning to study abroad can be challenging in these times, looking ahead and thinking about the future can also be a good way to stay in a positive mindset.
We asked Christian about his motivations and expectations for studying abroad this spring, and how he is preparing for his semester in Stockholm.
DIS: Hi Christian, tell us a bit about yourself.
C: Hallå! I’m a junior history major student from Walla Walla, WA. I study ancient history, and plan to minor in classics as well as music. For fun, I love to spend time singing in our choral ensembles here at Whitman and spend time with my friends in the a cappella singing group that I’m a part of. I also work as a tour guide for my school.
I’m very excited to get to pioneer this program for my school and bring back lots of wonderful stories.
DIS: What are your motivations for studying abroad in Stockholm with DIS?
C: I’ve wanted to study in Sweden since my first year in high school! I’m fascinated by the Swedish language and Swedish culture, and briefly considered spending my entire college career in Sweden. But ultimately, that didn’t work out, and when I decided to go to Whitman, I was initially disappointed that they didn’t have DIS Stockholm or any other Swedish study abroad programs that I could go on at the time. Fortunately, that changed.
DIS: What was your journey leading up to applying with DIS?
C: When I went to my first off-campus studies fair, I was told by one of our advisors that we didn’t have the Stockholm program at Whitman, and they weren’t planning on adding it for several reasons. But this past year, during a meeting with my study abroad advisor, she mentioned that she actually had visited DIS Stockholm that summer and was considering bringing it to Whitman. I jumped on the chance to make that happen and pushed to make sure that I would have that opportunity. Because this program is so new to us, I’ll be the first student from Whitman to get to go to DIS Stockholm and study! I’m very excited to get to pioneer this program for my school and bring back lots of wonderful stories.
DIS: What are you looking forward to during your semester abroad?
C: I’m really looking forward to getting to study Swedish and Scandinavian history right from the source, during the World of the Vikings Core Course. I’ve been to Sweden before, and getting to come back to places I’ve been with a new historical lens is very exciting to me. I’m also very excited to explore all that Stockholm has to offer to independent travelers, because that wasn’t something I really had the ability to do during my previous time there. I really look forward to (hopefully) bonding with my host family and getting to know the city from a local’s perspective. There’s so much to look forward to!
I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time, and anything that Stockholm has to give me, I’m willing to take.
DIS: How are you preparing for your time in Stockholm?
C: Right now, there’s a lot of hope and positive thinking that everything goes to plan alright! With the COVID-19 situation, things are so uncertain. It’s a lot of mental plans for things to be different than I expect them to be when I get there. But I’m still making sure all my travel documents are in order and everything will be ready to go when I get the green light to travel. I’ve already gotten all the requirements out of the way that I need to do at my home institution, so I’m ready for whatever Stockholm has for me.
DIS: Have you received any good advice about study abroad?
C: The one piece of advice that I’ve really taken to heart is to sign up for Homestay. All of my friends who have done programs abroad, whether with DIS or not, have always said that the Homestay experience was instrumental in them having a great time while abroad. The close connection and bond that can be built while living in someone else’s home I’ve been told is an amazing way to connect to the community and have a support network while navigating life in a different country. I’ve tried to make sure that if I have the option to, I’m definitely willing and excited to take part in a Homestay!
DIS: What elements about Sweden and Swedish culture are you most excited to explore?
C: I’m really excited to get to practice more of my Swedish language skills. I’ve been studying Swedish on my own for a while, but I haven’t had a lot of practice speaking it, unfortunately. I’m hoping to change that and to expand my vocabulary while in Sweden. I’m also really excited to get more into Swedish food culture, because I feel like there’s a whole great cuisine that I didn’t get into when I was last there.
DIS: What do you hope to get out of your semester in Stockholm?
C: I hope to broaden my perspectives on studying in the world, and gain a greater appreciation for and knowledge of Scandinavian history, right from the source. I also hope that I can find a wonderful community while in Stockholm, one that can support me and teach me about what life is like in Sweden, and give me lessons and stories that I can take with me for the rest of my schooling, and my life.
I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time, and anything that Stockholm has to give me, I’m willing to take. Here’s to hoping that everyone can stay safe and healthy and have a wonderful time in Sweden!