hej då sweden

Hello everyone!

It’s taken me a while to find the right words to say to describe how I’m feeling and how my study abroad experience came to an unexpected end, and I still don’t think I have the right words to say.

As I’m sure everyone reading this knows, DIS no longer has in-person classes, and everything is now online. Everyone has been sent home for the rest of the semester, like I’m sure all study abroad programs and home universities. It was a very surreal experience; I just remember falling asleep and then being woken again an hour later, being told that we all have to leave and book a flight home ASAP. I don’t think I got any sleep for the rest of the night, and everyone was in a state of disbelief, sadness, and shock. I had trouble wrapping my mind around what was actually happening and how an experience that I spent over a year working and planning for was now suddenly ending two months before it was supposed to.

I spent my last day in Sweden, walking around Gamla Stan with my roommate, trying Prinsess Cake for the first time, and having fika one last time with some of my favorite friends and teachers. Then before I knew it, I was on my way to the airport and landed back in Chicago, where I think I burst into tears as the plane was landing.

Even though my time in Stockholm was cut short, I will forever be grateful for the memories, friends, and experiences that I never thought I would have and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I learned so much in the two months I was there from what I learned in class, during my daily commute, new friends and my visiting host family, and just from being able to live in a city in Europe. If you told me a year ago that I would be studying abroad in Stockholm and I would experience eating in the dark in Paris, jump into the freezing water of the Baltic Sea, and learn the importance of fika, I don’t think I would have believed you. So much happened in such a short amount of time, and I made memories that I know I’m going to hold on to forever. It’s interesting to think that some of the things that overwhelmed when I first got there are also some of the things that I miss the most, like constantly hearing Swedish on the t-bana and trying to figure out how to cook for ourselves. I also miss a lot of the little things I think, like getting coffee from Oktav every day before class, Baras Backe, which was my favorite bar to go to with friends, and the daily routine of the Swedes. I have been listening to the song Stockholm by Judah & the Lion a lot to bring back these memories.

Now that I am back home, I have been trying to hold on to little pieces of Sweden. I have attempted to make Prinsess Cake, which definitely wasn’t as good, FaceTimed friends from abroad, and I am excited for classes to start up again to get back into a routine. I am so thankful for everyone at DIS for trying to make this transition as smooth as possible for us, and I feel like you truly aren’t just a student at DIS but also a person and someone that they care about and genuinely want to get to know. I want to say thank you for everyone at DIS and everyone in Sweden that made it such an amazing experience. I hope that it wasn’t the last time for me in Stockholm, and I really hope to go back and visit someday.

Thank you all for reading my blog and for letting me share my abroad experience.

Rachel

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