Why Stockholm? I’m Glad You Asked!

Hej hej (hey hey)! For all those tuning in, my name is Reed Mszar and I’m a junior from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, but born and raised in the great state of Virginia. Though I’m currently enrolled in the Medical Practice & Policy program, it seems quite evident that you can’t go wrong with any area of study that DIS offers. You will learn from respected professionals and gain unparalleled experience with “Scandinavia as your home [and] Europe as your classroom.”

Acquiring knowledge at Stockholm Stadsbibliotek (Stockholm Public Library)

Over the next four months, my top priority will be to provide you, the reader, with the inside scoop on DIS Stockholm that you will be able to read, relate to, and reflect upon to make your decision to study abroad, the most informed choice you have ever made. Here are just a handful of reasons why I chose to make Stockholm my home this fall and why I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Enjoy!

Academics at DIS

One of the main reasons I chose to study abroad with the DIS program is due to its organizational structure, longstanding reputation, and well respected academic rigor dating back to the Eisenhower administration in 1959. At Bates, DIS is repeatedly considered one of the most highly regarded programs for which one could choose to broaden their horizon and take captivating classes in a completely novel environment. DIS is favored by students, faculty, and advisers alike! 

Our recent field study to the Karolinska Universitetssjukhus (University Hospital) and the Cancer Research Center

Choosing the DIS program has also given me to the opportunity to take specialized courses such as Translational Medicine: From Bench to Bedside, Immunology & Infectious Diseases, Tumor Biology & Oncology, and Public Health Policy in Practice, courses that are only intermittently offered in the liberal arts arena.

Football Player-Coach

First match as an assistant coach for Boo FF

Since Sweden isn’t typically celebrated as a baseball powerhouse, my sport of choice, I figured it might be time to strap on the shin guards, lace up the cleats, and give Football another go. It is Sweden’s most popular sport after all! This semester, I will be practicing with my host brother’s team, Boo FF, along with a team that’s affiliated with Stockholm University and comprised of many DIS students. Running up and down the field never fails to be a good workout!

In my first match as an assistant coach (for games), Boo FF came out victorious winning 4-2 in the late minutes. Here’s a neat article on the apparent good luck that arrived with me from the States to help Boo FF win their first goal of the season!

Karolinska Institutet & the Swedish Healthcare System

The Aula Medica building at Karolinska Universitet

As my academic- and career-related interests lie in the field of healthcare delivery and medicine, choosing the city with one of the most highly recognized research universities and hospitals seemed like a no-brainer. And after having had several field studies to Karolinska already, I must say that it exceeded my already-high expectations.

Whether you are interested in scientific and biomedical research, clinical and patient care, public health, or a wide range of other areas of study, Karolinska likely has something for you!

The ability to learn, firsthand, about the Swedish healthcare system and its welfare state model was of particular interest to me as well in the hopes of (DIS)covering the most successful attributes and developing ways to carry them over to improve the complex U.S. system and overall quality of care.

Curious as to why Karolinska is so great? See for yourself!

The Charm of Stockholm – Gamla Stan

I’m sure you will spend a great number of hours, like me, Googling pictures of Stockholm during the months before your departure. This will, undoubtedly, include images of the iconic Old City of Gamla Stan right along the breathtaking waterfront. It not only makes for a great place to explore with others, but also a wonderful backdrop while doing your homework or hanging out with friends after class.

A fan favorite spot to go to after classes  (note that we are, in fact, not in front of a green screen)


I cannot think of a better way for oneself to become fully immersed in Swedish culture, build lasting relationships, and have delicious home-cooked meals in the process than living in a Homestay. I was fortunate enough to be paired with Johan, Susanne, and their son, Simon (their other son, Sebastian, is away at University)! While a Homestay may not be for everyone, it certainly is something to consider.

Host family and I attempting to take a selfie in Gamla Stan
Kräftskiva party complete with festive hats, sing-alongs, and lots (and lots) of crayfish!

I hope you have found my personal reasoning for choosing DIS Stockholm helpful and applicable to your own interests! I look forward to sharing this journey with you and providing a behind-the-scenes look into this programs ‘maiden voyage’.

Tack för att du läser (thanks for reading)!


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