2023-24 Allie, outbound to Sweden Sept. 25, 2023

Sep 25, 2023

My birthday is already only a few days away, meaning I’ve been on my exchange for almost two months now which is crazy to think about. In the beginning, it felt as if time was going on at a steady pace but now it’s as if everyday is moving at x2 speed. Although, this does make sense since the first two weeks were all about learning and taking in new information about my surroundings for the next year. During my third week I went to a camp for all the inbounds in Sweden this year. For five days we all got to get to know each other, play games, swim, make a bonfire, look at shooting stars, watch movies, and eat together. We also learned a lot about the Swedish language, culture, and history. When it was time for us all to return to our host families lots of hugs and socials (social media accounts) were exchanged. I enjoyed the trip but I was really happy to be back home with my host family once again.

Soon after the orientation camp for the inbounds; school was starting for everyone. I was quite nervous but as I biked to school my anxiety started to wear away and I was simply just curious. I had been wondering what school would be like in Sweden since finding out about it being my host country and now I could finally experience it. Luckily I had been given a tour of my school two times before my first day so I wasn’t scrambling to find out where I was going. All first years were to gather in the aula (auditorium), wait to be introduced to the mentors of their programs, and then be assigned to their class. In Sweden, there are two types of high schools and both are three years long (10th grade to 12th grade); one is for students who don’t plan on going to university and other is for those who do. Each high school has programs such as the economic program, and that the students can choose from and apply to during 9th grade. I am enrolled in the humanistics program in a high school that was first founded in 1858 and resided next to a cathedral, henceforth it was given the name Katedralskolan (which translates to the cathedral school in English). Katedralskolan is a high school that prepares and teaches people for university rather than for work.

My first few days of school were more focused on getting to know my classmates and mentors instead of taking notes or listening to lectures. This made it easier to introduce myself and my situation to my classmates. On my second day, my mentors had announced to the class that I was an exchange student from the U.S. so since then all of my classmates know me. At first I was embarrassed about it but then I was thankful since I didn’t have to constantly explain myself. Now, almost a month later I have adjusted quite well and have a lot of friends from school who I love very much!

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