1. My first week in Sweden (English translation)

18 augustus 2019 - Boden, Zweden

Dear readers,

I finally have the time to write a story, before now I was too tired, didn’t have time or didn’t have internet.

On Wednesday morning the 14th of August I flew to Stockholm, there I was picked up at Arlanda airport by YFU (the organisation I came to Sweden with). There was a little problem, my suitcase didn’t came on the plane and would come with the next KLM plane from Schiphol Amsterdam. Luckily, there would be people from YFU at the airport for the whole day so they could pick up my suitcase for me. 

We had an introduction camp with YFU Sweden just outside of Stockholm at Kärsögården from Wednesday until Saturday with all the international exchange students coming to Sweden and all the Swedish exchange students who just returned from their exchange year. There were 33 students coming from 17 different countries from all over the world and 13 Swedish students. During the camp we were being prepared for our exchange year, we had a few Swedish lessons, talked about the Swedish culture, we could talk with exchange students who already have been on an exchange year and we played a lot of games to get to know each other better. 

AankomstkampAlle internationale studenten op het aankomstkampHet strandje op het aankomstkamp

Every morning we had to wake up at 7:30, the leaders of the camp would play very loud music and knock on our doors. Waking up like this was very hard for me and I couldn’t get used to it! The first day I even woke up at 7:00 because I would take a morning swim in the lake at the campsite. At first it was very cold but after about half a minute if was quite nice!

When I heard that most of the international students couldn’t talk Swedish yet, I was quite relieved, because I could already talk and understand a little Swedish, because I watched a lot of Swedish series and started learning it with Duolingo (an app for learning new languages). But when we started our first Swedish lesson I didn’t feel so relieved anymore, I was placed in the group were a few people studied Swedish in school for a few years and they already knew a lot of grammar and words that I didn’t know at all…. 

In Sweden it’s normal that you put off your shoes inside. During the camp we had to put off our shoes in all the buildings, so sometimes you only had to walk 50 meters with your shoes on and you wouldn’t tie your shoelaces, because would be too much effort…. In Sweden they also love fika (all the Swedes kept saying that it’s the most important word in the Swedish language), during fika you mostly drink coffee (or tea), eat some cake/cinnamon bun or something else delicious and have a chat with each other. We had fika every day at 15:00 during the camp. At breakfast we ate the same things as we do in The Netherlands (bread with cheese, corn flakes, yoghurt), at lunch we always had a warm meal just like at dinner. We always had to thank the cafeteria staff with the Swedish words “tack för maten”.

The theme of the camp was Astrid Lindgren (the most famous Swedish writer ever) and I was in the group ‘Ronja Rövardotter’. I really liked that, because I’ve watched the movie a lot of times when I was young and it used to be my favorite movie. A lot of other characters/group names I didn’t know at all…. 

On Saturday morning I went to the airport in Stockholm again together with one of the leaders and two other exchange students, Veera and Daniella, to fly to Luleå for just one hour. Luleå is the nearest airport around Boden and the places where Veera and Daniella are living. At the airport in Luleå I was picked up by Therese, my host mother, Hugo and Hannes, my host brothers. At first, I would go home with Veera for the day, because my host family was busy with an orientering competition (I will explain later what orientering is), so I didn’t expect them at all at the airport, but it was a really nice surprise! My host father Rein came home late in the afternoon just before I was going for a walk with Therese in the forest. 

In the forest they have lampposts so that you can walk, cycle, do horse riding or cross-country skiing, etc. in the dark. After dinner I made chokladbollar together with Therese and Hugo, it’s a typical Swedish treat and really fun to make. I was really tired from the camp so I went to bed really early and the next morning we had to wake up quite early for the orientering competition. 

The whole family does the sport orientering. It’s running through the forest with a compass and a map of the area, you have to find checkpoints that are hidden in the area. It’s quite a popular sport here in Sweden but not so much in The Netherlands, I’ve never heard anything about it in The Netherlands. During the competition I ran together with Therese so she could give me advice about how I could run/walk and what the symbols on the map mean. It rained all the time, so we became very wet and our shoes were completely soaked, but it was super fun to do!

Orientering wedstrijd4266390-s.jpg?1566161906

On Wednesday school starts, so I have a few more days to get to know the surroundings a bit better and to practice with Swedish. I understand already a lot of Swedish, but I don’t dare to speak it….

Lots of love, 

Roos

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