First Impressions last, or so they say. When it comes to moving to Sweden, for many they easily fall in love just after a few days.
Within the last week, Malmö has seen hundreds of new students gracing its city for the first time. School officially begins in September for most students at Malmö University. As such, this early arrival gives them the opportunity not only gain some first impressions but learn some ‘quick’ Swedish, settle in their new homes and ignite a few friendships.
With the settling in comes a lot of conversations about Sweden and Malmö in particular. These conversations were the same conversations I had when I just arrived. I guess its quite common for us international students to gossip about new places. Nonetheless, I made the wise decision to refrain from eavesdropping and ask some students directly what their first impression of Sweden was. Some impressions were close to mine, while others were a total contrast. Here is what they said.
After setting foot in Malmö, you’ll notice the lack of towering buildings that are usually the main characteristics of a ‘big city’. The city spreads horizontally giving you a grand opportunity to see what nature has to offer. Bahdana, a Ukranian exchange student was really impressed by the lack of congestion in the cityscape. She loved that her eyes were not bombarded by billboards and other promotional material. She further commented that everything was well designed. We both love the fact that the city is close to the shore. So for me, it’s definitely a perfect location for ultimate relaxation.
Bohdana went on to tell me of helpful the people of Malmö were. How’s that for amazing first impressions? For one the city is truly multicultural, a true representation of the United Nations. This characteristic might be the reason why people are so helpful.
There is also a more relaxed frame of mind here. I give credit to the fika breaks. If you ask me, they really boost productivity. I will definitely take this with me on my next visit to Jamaica.
A little Pricey
Despite many great impressions, this is definitely one you can’t run away from. For many, the entire Scandinavian area is a little pricey. So for many students finding cheaper alternatives eg purchasing a second-hand bike rather than a new one, is a must. Many students have already asked me for tips on cheaper supermarkets and transport. Getting around this obstacle takes some planning and serious budgeting. I often suggest that students eat out less and cook together more.
In a total contrast to my preferences (consistently warm weather), Divya made it clear that she is in love with he erratic weather of Malmö. I’m not sure how long this love will last as quite often visitors and new residents are annoyed by the sudden changes in the weather in Sweden. Notably, this past summer has been one of the warmest on record, with temperatures being above 26 degrees Celsius for weeks at a time. But just in time for the arrival of new students, Sweden is now back to the normal. A little cold, a little rain, some wind and warm every now and again. What is good though is that Divya is probably blending in the most perfect way because, as Swedes often, ‘det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder’. ( There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing)
Though Divya expressed her nervousness as it was her first time away from her home and family, she was very much excited for what is to come. The opportunity to meet people from different countries and cultures, visiting the countryside and the old towns in Sweden is simply priceless. I honestly agree with her, there is so much being offered that you might not see at first glance. The networking and growth opportunities that will come to you while studying abroad is truly awesome. You learn so much from others and yourself.
How did you feel when you first arrived in Sweden?
I would love to know in the comments.
Until next time, see ya!