Living in Scandinavia

Nahid Baghdadi is a student at Michigan State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with EuroScholars in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sculpture park in Oslo Norway. The view is from above the park. Everything is made of human sculptures.

Phrases to Learn Before Traveling to any New Country:

  1. Learn how to say “Thank You” in their language!

The Best Kind of Culture Shock I’ve Had in Sweden:

  1. How people dress up and the dress code
  2. Taste of the food
  3. Relaxed interpersonal relationships
  4. Diversity of the people you’ll meet

What I’ve Learned About My Own Country’s Culture by Studying/Living in Stockholm, Sweden:

  1. We are very strict about how we proceed in interpersonal conversations whereas in Sweden, everyone is friendly, even if they are your boss.
  2. People dress up and do care about their clothing, jewelry, perfume and etc. more in Sweden.
  3. The food is tastier in the States. There are more variety of food, and the sizes of cups/food are on a larger scale back home.

The 3 Cultural Norms of Sweden that the World Should Adopt:

  1. Welcoming new people/immigrants happily to our homes
  2. Taking care of ourselves with the way we dress and appear in the society
  3. Be more friendly and break down the title barriers
  4. Do not ask where people are from the second we meet them

Things That Will Happen to You When You Study Abroad in Sweden:

  1. People will not assume where you come from or ask you about it.
  2. Everyone will start speaking Swedish to you but as soon as you take the initive to start the conversation in English they will speak to you in English without being offended.
  3. You will be shocked by the efficiency of the transportation.
  4. There is always something to do in the city.
  5. Weekends are not dead like back home; everyone goes out or at least takes a walk.
  6. Fathers take care of their babies maybe more the mothers, strolling down the street and etc.
  7. If you go outside at 1-2 PM you will see people walking or running, and immediately start thinking: do they not have work to do?
  8. You will meet more non-Swedes than Swedish people, at least in my case. I am studying at an internationally known university/institute.

4 Tips for Students Intending to Study Abroad In Sweden:

  1. Do it. It feels like home!
  2. It’s absolutely worth it to come to Scandinavia and travel to other countries; you can do it on the weekends. It’s cheap to travel.
  3. At home, work in the few months before your abroad program starts and save some money.
  4. Search about the weather and make sure you want to be in Sweden for the winter time.
One of the ships in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. They were used as burial sites for important people after the ship was not in use anymore.

3 Things You Need to Try in Oslo, Norway when you go there for a weekend trip while in Scandinavia:

  1. Walk through the neighborhoods rather than taking the bus. Walking to the Vigeland Park was as rewarding as seeing the park itself. One expects the Norwegian culture to be similar to Swedish or other Scandinavian cultures. They are in some parts similar and in some cases not. They have a rich history of Vikings in the northern European countries, but they are all very unique in their own ways. In Norway, you see art everywhere. Streets are full of sculptures and art galleries.
  2. Try Middle Eastern Pizza while you are there. It was delicious. It also brought to my attention that even though we where in Norway, which has not so much of a population, you can still see the diversity. It was interesting to see how this world is changing and there is no such thing as “ethnically native.” Everyone is a mix and you can find people of every background in all parts of this world.
  3. Take a ferry boat ride to the Viking Ship Museum. It was such an amazing experience to learn about Vikings and how they lived in the past, as well as realizing that they did every small thing for a reason that you may never think about on your own.

The world awaits…discover it.

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