Reflecting on my time in Sweden, I began thinking about how my expectations before I arrived compared to the realities that I experienced. The main reasons I chose to study in Sweden include: great natural beauty, the idea that it was a world leader in terms of sustainability, a great studying and learning environment, and a feeling of the “unknown”.
To start with, I was attracted to Sweden because of the possibility to spend a lot of time outdoors, exploring its natural beauty. On this front, I have definitely not been disappointed. A friend summed it up best when he described Sweden as one of the most “quietly beautiful” countries he has ever visited. I think this is a good way of looking at it, Sweden is often overlooked, even in terms of its Scandinavian neighbours. Norway has dramatic fjords and glaciers, and Denmark has the lively city of Copenhagen, whereas Sweden’s beauty is more understated. The area surrounding Lund, and the region of Skane, are a perfect example of this. Rapeseed flowers, the unofficial national flower of Sweden, dominate the landscape at the turn of spring and paint the patchwork of fields bright yellow. Lund’s location makes day trips into the countryside very easy, as the sea is only half an hour away, and the area is dotted with national parks.
Ystad, Skane – Where the TV series “Wallander” was set and filmed.
Another key factor that brought me to Sweden was it’s reputation as a world leader for environmental policy and sustainability. It was interesting to see how this manifests in everyday life. Firstly Sweden has an extremely efficient recycling system, and even imports trash from other nations to process. I saw this through the ordered recycling bins at almost all locations in Lund, including student halls and libraries. Secondly, cities like Lund and Copenhagen have been planned and designed to accommodate bikes and public transport as the primary modes of travel. This leads to reduced emissions and consolidated their status as climate friendly nations.
Sustainable and innovative architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Overall, Sweden met my expectations as a beautiful and environmentally forward-thinking country. I was also presently surprised by the “unknown” factor of Swedish culture and society – which I experienced through getting involved with student “nations” and organizations. Check my other blogs for more information about this unique Swedish student life!