Best Experience Ever

Best Experience Ever

By Lucy Costello Dustman

School: Scripps College, Class of ’23
Major or concentration: Economics
Semester abroad: Spring ’22

I studied abroad in Stockholm, Sweden in the Spring of 2022, and it was the best experience ever. Here’s why.

My days in Sweden were marked with nothing but joy, adventure, and fun. Whether I was participating in a Swedish Program-organized activity, making dinner with my friends, attending a sports event, or having fika (coffee) at one of my favorite cafés, each day was special and made me so happy. I loved every minute of my time there and in total, I took nearly 7,981 photos capturing all the moments that filled me with joy!

While it was a very daunting task, I have carefully selected five groupings of photos that showcase my favorite moments, memories, and tokens from my time with The Swedish Program. I hope when seeing them, whether you are a prospective Swedish Program student, a Swedish Program alum, or anyone else, that you get excited while seeing a glimpse of my life there.

First, and foremost, my time in Stockholm would have been incomplete without my friends. I recall within the second week of being in Sweden we all shared that we’d felt like we’d known each other for so long. I think a large part of this was because of The Swedish Program and the types of activities they offered to really engage us with one another.

Even orientation was incredible–jumping into the freezing cold Baltic Sea and then cramming into a floating sauna does not compare to anything else and neither do the laughs you share with all the people you’re with. The first weekend we all spent together and with The Swedish Program administrators really set the stage for what would be a very memorable and very special time. After that, my friendships only grew stronger, and I miss my friends so much today! In fact, I’ve already been to visit all of them twice since leaving Sweden!

Together, we did so many things. We adventured on trains to other cities in Sweden, like Uppsala (we did this twice for fun)! Even with the Program, we took a 17-hour train up to the Arctic Circle, and it was incredible! While it was certainly a long ride, we played games, shared stories, ate food, and laughed a lot!

One of my favorite things we would do together was to have family dinners. Whether we would cook in someone’s apartment or go out to eat, we always had so much fun. In the first picture below, my friend Joaquin (on the right), put together a charcuterie board, which I’m sure no one forgets, and we all gathered around eating, talking, and playing cards.

In the middle picture, I had all my friends come over to my studio apartment and we cooked pizza together. One night we even had a burger night for the whole Program, where we utilized two separate apartment kitchens to cook burgers, fries, and mac and cheese for everyone. And in the last picture, we all went out to dinner to try some Peruvian food. These dinners were probably some of the best memories I have from Stockholm.

And it wasn’t just dinners that we would have together. Anyone of my friends would also tell you how much I loved fika and how often I would ask them to join me at one of the cafés just a short walk from the Stockholm School of Economics.

In these two pictures above you’ll see my favorite café latte that I would get at either Café Pascal or Gast Café and on the right, you’ll Trevor and Ainslie, who accompanied me one day so that we could work together on a Swedish class group project!

I really enjoyed fika in Sweden because it gave me an opportunity to explore the city and seek out new cafés. It also gave me the chance to get to know my friends more and even the people who worked there!

Exploring and going on walks was another activity I loved doing, either by myself, with my friends, or while on Swedish Program trips. In the left image below, Ben and Joaquin are walking through the streets of Gotland on a Program trip. In the middle is Nockeby, a neighborhood where many students lived with host families. On the right, is an image from Drottninggatan, a popular shopping street near the central metro station! We visited Drottninggattan in Swedish class once, but I enjoyed walking it by myself and with friends as another chance to explore!

Finally, my friends and I really loved attending sports games. The Swedish Program would often organize for us to see different games. In the right photo below is a bandy game, which is a traditional Swedish sport, similar to hockey. In our time, we also went to several soccer games and even went to a hockey game too.

So, while this only gives you a glimpse of my time in Sweden, I hope you got to learn a little more about what life is like in Stockholm with The Swedish Program. As I said, it was the best experience, and I am so grateful for it!