“I wonder if U.S. customs will let me bring one back?” This was the question that kept running through my mind as I stared with awe and googly eyes at the reindeer and their calves all morning. It was finally the moment I had been waiting for, to conduct research in Northern Sweden in a Sámi, reindeer herding community. When I received my first call to attend the tagging of the reindeer calves, I was both nervous and excited. My thoughts were racing. Would they accept me?
It’s midnight in the north of Sweden, just below the Arctic Circle, and I can’t fall asleep. It’s not because I’m anxious or had one too many cups of coffee (which is often the case) but because the sun never sets! Most homes and hotels have blackout blinds or curtains, but my current home, a tent, doesn’t. I decided, after a few restless nights, that I should buy a sleep mask. In the end, I have to admit, camping in the beautiful nature that surrounds me is well worth the lackluster quality of sleep I’ve had.
Cocktail dresses, traditional Swedish drinking songs, and four course dinners are three things I didn’t expect to experience during my semester abroad, but ended up being a highlight of my time in Sweden. Through the thirteen student nations of Uppsala University, I was able to attend Gasques, hang out in pubs with fellow students, and grab lunch at a student discount in one of two universities in all of Sweden that offer these activities and events through student run nations.
When I first stepped off the plane in Sweden I was told two very important things. First, that I would need a warmer coat. Second, that we were going to have a Fika. Due to my Scandinavian heritage, I had learned about the Swedish, social institution of having a daily Fika (or many), but I highly underestimated how important this phenomenon would be to my daily routine.
In this video, UI student Kelsey Frisk takes us on an exciting bike tour of her study abroad host city of Uppsala. Get a taste of her experience as she hikes on an excursion, spends an evening at the student union pub, and cycles throughout the town.