When you live in a Homestay, you are bound to share many things; meals, cultures, and most likely, laughs over language learning are a few things that come to mind! Because of this cross-cultural relationship, living in a homestay is a popular housing option for DIS students. Read on to find out the ways we imagine you will spend time with your Homestay host, if you apply for this housing option while studying at DIS Stockholm.
1. Enjoy the outdoors
Scandinavians love to be outside and enjoy fresh air. The Swedes evidently love it so much, they have a law protecting the public use of all nature. Allemansträtten gives everyone the right to public access; whether it be swimming in lakes, or passing through meadows and fields – as long as you take care not to disturb nature, you are free to roam wherever you want! Spend a sunny weekend wandering through forests to collect lingonberries or mushrooms with your Homestay hosts.
2. Spend time in the kitchen
Once you return home with your forest forage, use it to create a fresh dish, such as lingonberry cupcakes or hot blueberry soup. Having access to local, fresh products for meals is cherished in Sweden. If you’re feeling confident in the kitchen, impress your host parents by cooking traditional crayfish or meatballs – two Swedish staples!
3. Take break for fika
Fika is an essential part of Swedish culture, and there’s no doubt you will share fika with your hosts. Similar to the Danish hygge, there is no direct translation to this aspect of daily life. It is best described as a time to take a break from work or activity and enjoy company over a cup of coffee (and a sweet treat, such as kanelbullar).
4. Learn unique Swedish words
While you sit and enjoy fika with your homestay hosts, either at home or in a café, try to practice a few words unique to the Swedish language:
Orka: to have the energy to do something
Ex: Jag orkar äta middag (I have the energy to eat dinner)
Hinna: to be on time or find time
Ex: Hoppas att jag hinner till tåget! (Hopefully I will make it to the train in time!)
Mysa: snuggle, cozy up by yourself, or with someone
Ex: Ikväll ska jag mysa framför tv:n! (Tonight, I will cozy up in front of the telly!)
Jobbig: something is difficult, someone is annoying, something is troublesome to do
Ex: Matte är så himla jobbigt! (Math is so very difficult!)
These words were taken from this language blog – read the full post here!
5. Venture into the city for the day
Stockholm boasts over 75 museums, cultural landmarks, churches, and gardens – so you are bound to find a spot that interests all the members of your homestay. The Vasa Museum and National History Museum are two of many popular sites. Spend an afternoon walking through Stockholm’s museums or notable buildings, such as City Hall and the Round Library. (You may already be using the Round Library as a study spot!)
6. Dinner table topics beyond small talk
When in Sweden, one often discusses the weather. This is an easy way to get a conversation started: You can always rely on talk of the temperature, to gradually transition to more serious topics. When eating dinner together, bring up some topics that have been popular in the news recently – such as the new 6-hour workday, Sweden’s title as Top Non-Native English Speakers, or the progressive gender equality in Swedish schools. Once you get the conversation going, chances are you will still be talking late into the night!
7. Enjoy fredagsmys, or ‘cozy Friday’
Fredagsmys is a part of the Swedish week where families spend their Friday night together in the comfort of their home. It marks the end of the working week and a celebration of the weekend. After getting acquainted with your hosts, it will become second nature to enjoy a cozy Friday night in to watch a movie.
8. Barbeque outside
Once the warmer weather sets in, Stockholmers are ready to pack their picnic baskets and set up a relaxing afternoon barbequing fish, homemade sausages, vegetables, or sweet treats outside. Check out park locations for an ideal afternoon barbeque. Chances are, you’ll be surrounded by fellow Stockholmers enjoying the weather, and bonus if you get a waterfront view!
9. Celebrate holidays together
One of the best aspects of living with a homestay is being able to celebrate holidays in the most traditional fashion. Fully embrace the culture you’re now a part of, and ask your homestay hosts how you can celebrate the holiday together. From crayfish parties to the Lucia procession, these holidays are when you get a true glimpse of what life in Sweden is like!