Reflections on my first week around Stockholm

Välkommen till Svenska!

After a weekend of traveling through Germany to Sweden, I’ve finally settled into the apartment I’ll be sharing with my roommate. Stepping off of Stockholm’s pendeltåg for the first time, I have to admire our modern and springly northern suburb.

The Stromma ferry from Strömkajen to Fjäderholmarna; lunchtime at Röda Villan.

Late into the night, residents are playing basketball in the still-bright park as passengers shift onto the train heading to Stockholm’s Central station. This city feels like a city that doesn’t sleep, especially during the early weeks of summer.

More sights on Fjäderholmarna: preserved herring nets, boule on the hill, and Röda Villan from the ferry.

I am studying statistics and German at the University of Michigan, so DIS felt like the perfect fit for me because of its academic strengths and focus on cultural immersion. Before applying, I revisited the blog posts of previous students who thoughtfully shared their experiences, anxieties, and surprises with prospective applicants like myself. What distinguished DIS from the rest was their mission to give students an opportunity to independently discover the host city while providing a uniquely approachable “home base” of staff and support. Coming here was an easy decision after that!

I’ve heard from German friends that Swedish can tend to sound like a morph of English and German (“denglish”), so some of the words I’ve read on traffic signs and inside of the saluhall are relatively easy to translate.

But, it is still too easy to get lost – which I’m willing to suggest is a treat in Stockholm. You are guaranteed to end up somewhere beautiful and culturally relevant when you turn down any street. The city is brimming with palatial Baroque palaces and cafes surrounded by flowers – brought to life by friendly Swedes.

Kafé Petissan in Skansen

DIS takes academics seriously. In Session 1, I’ll explore Swedish population demographics and biostatistics in the Statistics module. Then I head to Copenhagen with other Session 2 students to study Neural Networks and AI. I’m hoping to take away some pieces of the Scandinavian sustainable model and absorb as much as possible from the friendly and knowledgeable instructors here.

Droppens Konditori in Sundbyberg – they have incredible Kardemummabullar; Gamla Stan in the early morning; a quick visit to Svenkst Tenn while waiting for the ferry.

My Professor reminded us on the very first day of class that Sweden embraces allemansrätten – the right to roam – and that activities like sailing, hiking, and orienteering are popular pastimes here.  As someone from Michigan, I’m looking forward to spending time sailing and ferrying on the water to Sweden’s innumerable lush islands. Already I’ve taken the Stromma Delfin to Fjäderholmarna where I enjoyed a very Swedish inaugural lunch of herring with brown butter and potatoes with dill.

I could hardly stop telling my roommate about all of the beautiful places I visited after returning from the first day of exploring Stockholm. Beginning in quiet and quaint Gamla Stan, I walked to DIS through Kungsträdgården, around the harbor where the Waxholmsbolaget ferries are moored, over the bridge to the Batteriparken, and then finally up through Östermalm.

It’s only day two but already I’m restless and ready to explore more of Stockholm. The other DIS students I met yesterday are outgoing, friendly, and adventurous – the perfect crowd to enjoy this beautiful country with.

tills nästa gång (until next time)!

Herring with herbs and potatoes

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