My name is Orla and I’m currently studying political science and global studies at Marist College in New York. I love learning about languages and cultures, and the ability to immerse myself in a European context for the first time is beyond exciting. I’m also a huge coffee fan who happens to be allergic to gluten, so Sweden’s food culture is something I can’t wait to enjoy. One of my biggest personal goals during my time here is to find the best gluten-free Fika spots in the city.
As an avid Netflix aficionado when it comes to “Nordic Noir” (or anything starring Bill Skarsgård) and a die-hard ABBA fan, I couldn’t be more excited to be spending the summer in beautiful Stockholm. Previously, I studied abroad in Bogota, Colombia to learn about the peace deal and restorative justice process there. Interestingly, Sweden actually played a role in facilitating the inclusion of a feminist perspective to the peace deal. As I also have a women’s studies minor, this connection between Sweden, Colombia, and my past studies is something that I really value.
This summer I’ll be taking the course Public Health Policy in Practice. As a political science major, I have some previous experience in the subject of public health, though I have never taken a class specifically addressing this field. The ability to pursue this area of research in the context of an unfolding global pandemic (and in a country as atypical in its response as Sweden) is an opportunity I could not be more grateful for. I vividly remember in my freshman year seminar learning about the works of Hans Rosling, and little did I know then that I would be traveling to his home country as a Senior in college!
I choose to study abroad with DIS because of the hands-on experience it offers students. The ability to participate in Study Tours and to truly engage with both the course and the host country is a unique opportunity I’m so appreciative to be a part of.
My first impression of Stockholm was incredulity – that it was honestly even prettier than I could have imagined from obsessively looking at pictures online. I was lucky enough to visit Gamla Stan the day after my arrival. Touring the old town and hearing about the history behind Stortorget, the Royal Palace, and the Nobel Prize Museum from locals was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. What also struck me about Stockholm is the seeming lack of motor traffic, especially compared to cities such as New York. It’s significantly more peaceful and idyllic here, with the Baltic sea practically at my doorstep. However, despite the relative lack of cars, the city still feels very much alive due to the various cyclists, joggers, and scooter enthusiasts. Stockholm, and particularly Södermalm, are both breathtakingly gorgeous architecturally, and I can’t wait to continue to explore my new home.