Today I leave the country for a year. I am pretty much packed. I just packed a lot of long johns, warm socks, thick shirts and coats. It was hard decide what clothes to buy for Sweden. I have lived in the Bay Area my entire life my winter wardrobe consist of a hoodie maybe two if I am feeling crazy. But describing what is in my suitcase isn't the most interesting thing in the world.
After my trip to Korea I pretty much sat around Moraga for four weeks “preparing” for Sweden. I have been incredibly bored. I went from an environment of always being busy to an environment of never being busy. But luckily this gave me time to get excited about Sweden. And time to loiter in front of various Moraga stores. Going to Jeju gave me confidence about traveling internationally and was an appetizer of the fun and personal growth that studying abroad brings.
I am going to be living in Uppsala (which is about 45 minutes north of Stockholm) and studying at Uppsala University. There are about 140,000 people in Uppsala and 21,000 students at the university. I do not speak any Swedish but I will be taking a class on basic Swedish while I am here. English is widley spoken as a second language so there shouldn’t be too much of a language barrier. I am mostly taking history classes for my history minor with a dabble of political science classes.
The question that I always get asked is why I chose Sweden. There are a number of specific reasons but essentially I want to go somewhere different. I want to see what a real winter is like, I want to learn the history of a country I know relatively little about, and I want to be immersed in a culture which has different views on individualism and the role of government. Sweden is just different. Also I want to eat reindeer.
I hope to update this blog every week. Whether mundane or not I am sure I will be able to write something interesting. Since my time in Sweden will be spread out I hope to write in more depth about cultural observations that I only just touched upon when I was writing in Korea. The first few weeks will probably equally as hectic and busy as my trip in Jeju was but it will level off and I will get a routine going. I would recommend subscribing by email if you want to stay updated. Thanks for reading.