Had an AMAZING dinner with my friend Natalie tonight. We feasted on salmon, shrimp pasta with zucchini, and a nice salad. It was seriously heaven. I left feeling not only very happy, but also very very full!
Making friends has been interesting here in Sweden. Upon talking to the other exchange students we all have concluded that it is a lot harder than we thought it would be. This is for a few reasons, one of which being that in general Swedes are very closed off and shy people. They like their personal space and do not go out of their way to say hi to strangers. It took some getting used to not saying high/smiling to everyone on the street like we do in America. Another reason making friends is harder in Sweden is because the way the schooling works. In America we switch class 7 times a day with completely new people in each class. Here in Sweden you are with the same people the entire day. Once you have chosen your major you stay with the same class for all of secondary school; thus, making it rather difficult to meet new people. Especially in my case because I only had 5 people in my class.
While it has been hard, I have been meeting lots of new people. I just need to muster up my courage and go up and talk to them first. While this can be quite intimidating I have found that once I start talking to people they are so nice! They seem to be genuinely interested in me and very curious about what America is really like. Don’t let the closed off shy people fool you because underneath that Swedes are very nice, helpful, funny, caring, kind people. You just have to get the courage to start up a convo with one.
This is one thing that being an exchange student has really taught me – sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. I could have chosen to take the easy way out, not going out of my way to meet people, drift through school staying in my comfort zone, but that was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to experience life as a Swedish teenager, go out, and make lifelong friends I will never forgot. After a week of silence from my classmates I decided to take matters into my own hands. I began going up to people, introducing myself, asking for help, anything to start a conversation. I am so glad I did this because I have made some great friends because of it. Now people say hi to me in the hallways and invite me to lunch – I am no longer just “the American girl”.
Learning how to take matters into our own hands is a really important life lesson. Growing up in a small town I am often handed everything on a silver platter. If something were to go wrong I always had mommy and daddy to help me out. Here, not so much. If I have a problem it is up to me to either deal with it, or fix it.
Okay enough of my rant, I need to go finish packing and get a good night of sleep because tomorrow I leave for skiing! Five glorious days up in beautiful Northern Sweden in a quaint cottage. Does it get any better than that?
Will write more next week! Hej då!
Swedish Word of the Day: “semester” – This is one of those words that you think would be the same as in English, but really the Swedes are just trying to trick you because it actually means “vacation”. Confusing right? It took me a while to realize this one, as I could not understand why my classmates were so excited about the up coming semester.