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Lauren goes explorin'

Where’s Lauren? Travel along with me as a DIS student and exploration enthusiast!

Stockholm Crash Course

I type this from my bed at my housing site, with only one day left in Stockholm. I can’t believe it. The reality of it all hasn’t hit me yet, but I know when I’ve boarded the plane home, I’m going to be all tears. I have loved my time abroad and will remember it for the rest of my life. That being said, I have compiled a list of some random bits of information that you might want to know before coming to Stockholm. Enjoy!

  • Swedes are quiet in public
  • Mostly everyone speaks English, or at least enough to communicate with you
  • Nobody seems to ever be in a rush here (walking slow on the sidewalk, etc.)
  • Do not sit in the priority seats on the metro if you can help it. If you do sit there, offer them up if you see someone in need
  • Alcohol must be purchased from the liquor store, called “system bolaget”
  • Some clubs/bars require you to be 25+ unless you make a reservation beforehand
  • Always stand to the right on escalators, walk to the left
  • Many restaurants won’t automatically bring you the check; you have to ask for it
  • Most people dress in plain colors and nothing too bold
  • A lot of places are credit/debit card only
  • Swedes are very interested by American politics and culture
  • There are TONS of babies and young families
  • Laundry at your housing site may be chaotic
  • If it’s a sunny day, expect to see lots of people suddenly outside
  • WATCH OUT for bikes!! They’re everywhere
  • The coffee here is just way better, so be prepared
  • Food has far less sugar and salt in it
  • Not much spice to the food here either
  • There is really no air conditioner, but this is standard in Europe
  • Over-the-counter medicine is VERY limited, consider bringing what you need from home
  • Lots of free wifi in cafes, shops, etc.
  • The airport is deceptively big… leave for it early
  • Wheeling a roller suitcase across cobblestone is both embarrassing and difficult
  • Most places close early, like 7 p.m.
  • If you speak in Swedish and it’s not perfect, a Swede will likely just switch over to English immediately
  • Some cafes do not allow laptops on weekends
  • The metro does not run 24h on weekdays. You may get trapped somewhere late at night and have to call a car instead
  • You can use Uber here, as taxi services are connected to the app
  • The grocery store is so scary at first, but you WILL figure it out
  • You will be required to sign most receipts because you’re using a foreign credit/debit card
  • The city is incredibly clean and feels safe (I only ever felt uneasy really late at night)
  • Recycling is taken seriously here. I recommend sorting your recyclables beforehand so it’s an easier process when discarding them at the bins
  • Not too many tourists here
  • Don’t need to really worry about pickpocketing here at all
  • Wednesday nights are considered “mini Saturdays” so you can expect people to be out late on this day. Other than that, people do not go out too much on weekdays
  • Swedes probably won’t strike up a conversation with you if they don’t know you
  • Deodorant here is not as strong… I had to ask my visiting friends to bring me some from home
  • The tap water is divine
  • Drivers are not aggressive and will give pedestrians plenty of space
  • Tampons don’t have applicators
  • Swedes LOVE their cafes (for fika, their coffee breaks)
  • PDA is not common
  • Public transportation is super clean and not crowded unless everyone is getting off of work
  • The roads are NOT salted when icy. Instead, gravel is used, but it’s not very effective so walk SLOWLY
  • Most doors are pull to open (open outwards)
  • Babies here wear full snowsuits and it’s adorable
  • So many dogs out and about, and in public spaces like cafes or transport
  • The weather changes quickly and drastically
  • The sun rises at 4 a.m. around summertime and sets 9-10 p.m.. In winter, expect it to be dark outside by 3-4 p.m.
  • People here might seem cold at first, but I promise everyone is nicer than you think and likely are excited to be learning something from you, and you can learn something from them

Alright, signing off. That’s all I can think of for now! As always, thanks for reading.



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