The last weeks of my Master’s program have come. I am in the process of writing my thesis and am already making plans for the summer and for my life after this year in Sweden. So I think it is about time to look back and evaluate my life over the last ten month. If you visit our blog regularly, you will mostly read about the positive, exciting, and happy experiences we make here. That is because we mostly do have a really good time and I think all of us are happy with our choice of having moved to Sweden. But of course it is not all rainbows and butterflies. During the past year there were also some things that did not go as expected and left me a bit disappointed or unhappy. In this blog post I want to share the things with you that did not go as planned or imagined for me, so maybe you can anticipate those experiences for your coming adventure in Sweden 🙂
1. The Winter-flop
I came to Sweden expecting, yes cold and darkness, but also a white winter-wonderland. I wanted to go sledding, ice-skating, feed reindeer and play in the snow like in the good old days when global warming did not take away the white winters from Western Germany yet. Instead, it only snowed a couple of times, and when it did the snow did not stick. It always melted after one or two days and my winter-wonderland expectation fell flat. We rather had what felt like a never-ending autumn…
It might just be that Linköping is too far south, maybe it was just a bad year, or maybe global warming got this part of the world too, but in any way, I was quite sad I did not get to experience the winter I wished for.
2. The Library-shock
What I affectionately call “the library shock” was in fact the shock of my life. During my Bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands, me and my friends basically lived in the library. 10 hour study sessions, lunches in the hallway, and endless hours of staring on our phones pretending to study were our normal lives. But besides me being amazingly good at not focusing on what I actually need to do, the library there was really a great place to study: lots of places and light, computers, and above all silence. And while Linköping’s campus library too has computers, light, and some nice spots, people there talk in an absolute regular volume. They just talk! In the library! And laugh, and answer their phones, and eat, and… annoy me. If you just secretly tried to open your cookie bag in the library in the Netherlands, at least three people were killing you with their looks. And here it is not even a big deal to burst our laughing over your exchange about last weekend’s highlights in the study area. This really bothered me the entire time here, which is why I often decided to study at home or bring my earplugs and sit in the last corner! (So be prepared! Buy earplugs!)
3. The Bookshop-fail
I am a huge book lover and actually even worked in a small local bookstore for quite some time during my high-school years. So it is my favorite thing to go to a bookstore on a free afternoon and browse through the shelves. I can spend hours at bookstores, just looking at all the covers, reading the back of the books, or getting a little lost in the first couple of pages of a book I will likely buy. I don’t know if this is just a problem in Linköping or everywhere in Sweden, but unfortunately there was no cute bookstore to get lost in whatsoever. The only thing Linköping has to offer are two branches of the Swedish bookstore chain which neither has a good English selection, nor is it really cozy or invites you to just look around and wander off in between all the books. It has a rather hall-like feeling and just looks like what it is – a big chain.
4. The Surface-problem
While my Master’s program itself was really interesting, it still dot not quite meet my expectations. I left my Bachelor’s with an intense longing for more knowledge, for knowledge that went deeper and would satisfy my inquisitiveness. My Bachelor’s in Psychology touched upon so many topics, but rarely went really deep. So I wanted to pursue a Master’s that would go into detail, would make me feel like I am an expert in the field. But my one-year degree rather increased my thirst for knowledge (maybe not such a bad thing though) instead of satisfying it. I guess expecting in-depth knowledge from a one-year degree in a different field may have been too much to expect, but it is nevertheless a Master’s degree, so I did hope to dive a little bit deeper into topics rather than just touching upon a million more things that leave me with so many unanswered questions.
I can say that in general moving to Sweden was a good decision! But of course no place is ever perfect – not even Sweden 😉 Be prepared to be disappointed every once in a while and try to expect the unexpected. This is part of moving abroad and making new experiences and nothing bad. I hope this post gave you a little insight into the unexpected, but did not disencourage you! Be excited for your time in Sweden and feel free to comment or e-mail me if you have any questions 🙂