Starting High School in Sweden and Other Adventures in Stockholm

Starting High School in Sweden and Other Adventures in Stockholm

by Jared Ebel, Greenheart Travel high school student in Sweden

As I write this, I have officially been in Sweden for a week. Wow! Where has the time gone? I have accomplished so much, seen so many sights, and met so many new people in the last week. Frankly, I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with new activities and this, combined with jet lag, has made bed time one of my new favorite times of the day. But every new day here in Sweden brings a new surprise on this stupendous adventure.

Since the last time I’ve wrote, Jonas took me to downtown Stockholm, showing me the city via the Hop-on Hop-off tourist buses, giving a guided tour of many points of interests. We also ate lunch in the Old City. I’ve met up with another exchange student from Texas whom I am going to school with now. We had fika (a Swedish coffee break) and talked about where I will be going to school.

Visits to the Vasa Museum, a museum dedicated to the boat, “Vasa,” that sank in Stockholm in the 1600s and was recovered mostly intact more recently, and the Historical Museum of Stockholm were also made. Being from Wisconsin, a traditionally snowy state, my host parents were somewhat surprised I had never skied before, so they made a point of taking me. It was great workout and I only fell over once! A new hobby may have been found for me when I return home.


Possibly the most exciting thing I’ve done so far, however, is starting Swedish school. The most frequent question I get from home is, “How is school different in Sweden?” This is hard for me to answer as, so far, I’ve only gone for two days, and because it is so vastly different that it is hard to decide where to begin explaining it.

First, in Stockholm I get to take mass transit to school, which is an experience in and of itself. Swedes are famous for being quiet and uncomfortable with unusually loud people and the train is no exception. On a packed train with standing room only in the morning, one dares not to make eye contact and a pin drop could be heard from across the train.

Secondly, high school here is almost more similar to college in America. My classes are less frequent, and if I don’t have one, there is no need for me to be in the building. A lot of the work is also given to be done on the pupil’s own.

Lastly, there is not the massive power gap between teachers and students that exists in America. This is harder to explain, but I will do my best. One example of this is that teachers are referred to be their first names, as opposed to their last. Students feel much more equal to their teachers here in Sweden. So far, school in Sweden has been a very positive experience.

museums in sweden

Stockholm has offered so many activities to me in my first week and in the weeks to come. There’s so many museums here; they even have an entire museum just for ABBA (don’t we all have a little Dancing Queen in us?) Opportunities for shopping and adventuring are also around every corner. But most importantly, there are so many people here, my host family and my new friends, that I love spending time with and can’t wait to enjoy so many new experiences with.


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