Introducing Sweden

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Welcome to Sweden!
When you have just arrived here, the culture and way of life in Sweden might seem a bit intimidating and foreign. Here are some simple tips that might help you getting settled here!

Making friends
At first, making friends in Sweden might seem hard. You are typically grouped with other exchange students, so making friends with them will probably not be too hard. A lot of Swedish people tend to be a bit reserved towards strangers, and at first your corridor mates and classmates might seem straight out unsocial! However, most of the time, they turn out to be really nice if you just take the initiative and get to know them.

Most Swedish love to eat, and Asian food is getting more and more popular here. So why don’t you try treating your corridor mates to some of your local cuisine? If you have a hard time finding the ingredients you need, check out our list of Asian groceries in Sweden. It lists where you can find lots of different kinds of useful ingredients used in Asian cuisine, and with it there ought to be at least a few dishes you can cook!

A lot of corridors have weekly international theme evenings, often referred to as “international fika” or “international dinner”. During this day, often a Sunday or Monday since most people are free on Sunday and Monday evenings, people in the corridor take turns making something typical from their home town or country. This is a great way to get to know your corridor mates, so if your corridor does not already have this tradition, why don’t you introduce it?

Fika
Fika is a Swedish word that roughly means “coffee break”. Among university students, there are a wide variety of fikas being held at all times. Usually a fika just means eating sweets and drinking coffee or tea while talking. We strongly recommend you to have fika with your friends, since it’s a great way to get to know people!

Food
It is important to understand that almost everyone in Sweden knows how to cook at least some basic foods. This is not because all Swedish are passionate about food, but rather because eating out in Sweden is quite expensive. Eating lunch at the university cafeteria or at McDonald’s usually costs at least 60 Swedish crowns, and is thus not an everyday alternative for most students. Instead, most Swedish university students will cook food and make lunch boxes that they bring to school. There are tons of microwave ovens all over the campus, and they are free to use for anyone.

Club activity
In Sweden, university club activity is not as common as it is in most of East Asia, and most Swedish students do not regularly do any kind of sport. There are a few sports clubs at the university, but most people interested in sports will join a club that is not directly associated with the university. This is a great way to meet people that you would have otherwise never met, so we strongly recommend people to join in club activities. If you are interested in joining some kind of club activity, you can check out Linköping University’s list of student associations and try to contact them. Since many of the associations, both university ones and others, only have homepages in Swedish, we strongly recommend you to ask a Swedish friend or your peer student for help.

(If you are in mainland China, click here to see the same video at Youku)