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Life as a student at Stockholm Business School

On Arriving in Stockholm… First Impressions.

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Having never been to Northern Europe—let alone Sweden, I can sheepishly admit that much of what I had envisioned before leaving was based on the typical stereotypes of blonde hair and blue eyes, a predisposition for meatballs and potatoes, a beautiful landscape (not unlike Canada’s), and an introverted demeanour. I suppose it’s the last stereotype I ‘d like to take this opportunity to dispel…

I had been forewarned: “Swedes are a stand-offish bunch”, “don’t expect to make many local friends” and “good luck in the winter”… So it was with great surprise that a friend put me in touch with an acquaintance with a promising housing lead (a miracle in itself, but more on housing later). The “acquaintance” and I conversed over Skype before my departure, and though the housing lead itself seemed less promising as time passed, this “acquaintance” quickly became someone I grew excited to meet; a week before leaving I even had plans for my first night in Stockholm, to go to something called a crayfish party.

When I mentioned casually to the Stockholm native seated beside me on the flight over, that I’d be going to a crayfish party at a summerhouse within hours of arriving, besides the tips and tricks he armed me with (sing along, beware the snaps and enjoy your first swim in the Baltic) he couldn’t stop stressing how lucky I was. Really, I thought? A crayfish party?! What’s so lucky about that? I’d soon find out.

Not a bad place to spend my first night in Sweden…

I suppose that first night in the archipelago after meeting my “housing lead-acquaintance” and her friend at the bus station is a fitting analogy for my first two months in Sweden. I was in fact, quite lucky; my airplane neighbour was right. I was met with hugs—not handshakes, and brought to a beautiful summerhouse, where I was made not to feel uncomfortable or awkward of the language barrier (because really there isn’t one here in Sweden), wasn’t relegated to the end of the table away from the party’s action, and wasn’t once given any example that could justify this “introverted” stereotype I’d heard so much about. Here was a group of 50+ strangers that were welcoming me, quite literally, with open arms…

And, for the most part, that’s how much of the last two months have unfolded. I’ve learned to disregard at least some of my preconceptions of this country. Swedish meatballs three times a day? No, actually—I’ve enjoyed hummus on par with what I’ve eaten in Jordan, Indian food not unlike that on the train platforms of Kerala and even have a Korean grocery shop abound with the comforts of Seoul. Blonde hair and blue eyes? Sure, but brown curls, red mops—and even a couple of shinier heads, not unlike my own, pepper the crowd.

(Stockholm’s Old Town)

What I will say I was justified in expecting though, was the sheer beauty of Stockholm and its’ environs. A downtown straight from a storybook, a rugged yet accessible archipelago and accessible nature mere minutes from campus, all contributing to a landscape and a city only to be rivalled by those who have so readily welcomed me into it.

That I’ve only gotten around to posting about this now should be fairly indicative of how busy I’ve been; I’ve met tons of terrific people both in and outside of school, have tried to explore as much of Stockholm as possible, hosted a visitor from home and even took a weekend trip to Berlin! BUT… That’s not to say everything has unfolded seamlessly…. Like moving anywhere there have been growing pains.

In my next post I’ll outline some of the things I wish I had been better prepared for in moving to Stockholm, but I’ll also share some of my initial (and definitely positive) impressions of the school itself…

–Ted

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One thought on “On Arriving in Stockholm… First Impressions.

  1. Excellent post! Very well written. I to am Canadian (from Toronto) studying here at SU.