Study in Sweden brings me so many new experiences, from trying all kinds of weird and amazing Swedish food to the love-hate relationship with Swedish weather and also the quirky Swedish traditions from crayfish party to Easter egg hunting in the woods.
Sometimes, I struggle to do activities that are out of my comfort zone – dipping in ice lake in winter, riding snow mobile, speaking Swedish etc. but then it also comes the satisfaction of conquering it. Finally able to say ‘I did it’ feels simply wonderful!
Here comes my top 8 Swedish experiences
1. Sleeping on ice-bed (without heater)
Traveled from +45°C to -35°C, first timer for a 70°C dip! The thought of sleeping overnight on an ice-bed in Ice Hotel Jukkasjärvi scares me. Thankfully, it’s only 5°C indoors and I was well-equipped with a warm sleeping bag and overalls to stay warm. No sweat.
2. Being chauffeured by 10 sleigh Dogs and a guide
These dogs are incredibly fast and they also fart a lot with the wind blows towards us, what an unforgettable experience. I couldn’t feel my legs after sitting still for over an hour on the sleigh at below -30°C but I will totally do it again.
3. Riding snowmobile in Kiruna, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle
Guaranteed adrenaline rush especially for first-timers but it was so worth it!
4. Meeting drunk moose
When the moose is more drunk than me. Quite puzzling and funny, I found out from my Swedish friend that the moose were drunk from consuming the fallen fermented apples. Both mother moose and baby moose stay put and lay there outside my friend’s house in the countryside for a few days straight in a row, by the apple tree. Such is life!
5. Swedish weather A-Z
Snow storm, hail, rainy, foggy, misty, windy, sunny, dry .. well, I experienced all here but the ones that hit me the hardest are the sunny perfect summer weather which makes me want to be out all the time and the dark, freezing, wet and snowy that sets me in hibernation mood.
6. Midsummer party and sittnings
There are many Swedish traditions but midsummer is my top favorite. Everyone is so happy, drinking and dancing around the maypole. I’m absolutely in love with those handmade floral crowns. Tip: Learn to sing ‘små grodorna‘ and join in the midsummer dance!
If you’re an international student in Sweden, then sittning is a must. It is essentially a theme student dinner party. Honestly, I would say it’s about 20% dinner and 80% party. Make new friends, get to know the Swedes, learn Swedish drinking songs and party.
7. Christmas markets and julbord
This may sound ordinary but coming from the tropics, having a ‘real Christmas’ in winter, going to Christmas markets and indulging in the julbord actually means a lot. I’m tried of fake snow bubbles and sweating over Christmas.
8. Sauna and ice dipping (on repeat)
I had strong doubts at first but once I overcome it, it’s one of the best experiences ever. Of course, my bare feet were almost numb while walking over the snow to the icy lake but the best part comes when I get to defrost in the sauna. Absolutely refreshing!
There are still so many things left to experience …
On my to-do list includes the northern lights (I went up north but sadly didn’t manage to see), tree top hotel, ice-fishing and a lot more. I’m really looking forward to checking off the list. So, what are your top Swedish experiences, do share them!