It has been a bit since I last wrote something about my time in Sweden, so here we go! I have been looking for more of the different types of cultural differences compared to here and the US and there a quite a number of things! Some good, some bad, and some just plain weird.
As I have said earlier, I have been living with a host family during my time in Sweden. While I am here, I will make breakfast for myself and then eat dinner with the family. For the longest time, I would just eat toast. However, on the weekend, I really wanted to have some more breakfast-y foods. So, I thought of having eggs. I went to the fridge looking for them, but could not find them. I was disappointed and figured that they didn’t eat them. But two days later, I saw that for breakfast, one of the family members had eggs. So I looked in the fridge and saw no eggs. This happened a few more times wondering what was going on. It wasn’t until I was talking to another person from my program who lives with a host family that I found the answer. It turns out that people here do not put eggs in the fridge, but in the cupboard. I only learned these past few weeks.
Another weird thing that is here is their pasta dishes. It’s not like the pasta taste weird or looks different, but it is what they put on top. My host family will occasionally make pasta dishes, so I am now used to weird topping. What is it? Ketchup! Yup, in Sweden, many people will put ketchup on their pasta dishes instead of a marinara sauce. I found this extremely weird, but have slowing been eating it and am getting used to the taste. I plan on going back to Colby and and doing this just to see the weird stares that I will get from people.
Something that I like here is the formality, or lack thereof. During my time here, I have learned that people do not call their professor by their last name or even say “ma’am” or “sir.” Here, the professors are called by their first names. I quite like this as it gets rid of the clear hierarchy in the institutions and makes it more of a flat society. It even goes so far that, so I have been told, that there really is no word for “ma’am” or “sir” in the Swedish language.
This also transfers to the home as well. At least from my experience, and from the people that I talk to, Swedish parents do not hold a lot of authority. What I mean by this is that the parents are more like a friend to their children than being strict. Some households are vary, which can be seen in my household. The parents do not punish my host brother when he does not listen to them. What they do is just talk to him or try to threaten him by saying they will take something away. When that does not work, they will bribe him.
Finally, the best thing that I have I have seen in the city is the vests of the small children. Walking through the city, it is very probable that you will see groups of children walking around with their teachers or those in charge of them. They all will wear bright colored neon vests. I know that this is something that is very common to see in bigger cities; however, I do not live in a big city so it is funny to see. But looking closer, it is very cool that the children have access to such a big city to explore enhance their learning experience, unlike those who do not have these resources.