A fellow Swedish Program student and I strolled through Nordiska Museet on a Sunday afternoon, catching up on the week’s events. I could barely contain my excitement — I had been browsing dance classes, meeting new people, and even starting to feel at home at my internship. I couldn’t imagine going back home in December, I told her.
“Then why don’t you stay?”
Why shouldn’t I stay? I fell in love with Stockholm the moment I arrived, and that love grew with every tunnelbana trip I took, every Swedish lesson I had, and every chokladboll I ate.
It did not come without difficulty, however. I recalled a specific incident in a café when I decided to place my order in Swedish. I had spent several minutes coaching myself, practicing each word over and over in my head as I reached the register. And overcome with that fear of looking stupid, I clumsily mumbled my order. The barista, clearly unable to comprehend what I had said, switched to English. I took my latte with a defeated sigh and struggled not to cry.
These moments are not rare for me in Sweden. I have been forced out of my comfort zone every single day, and even through the most unbearably awkward and frustrating situations, I’ve survived and I’ve learned. Stockholm has allowed me to see all the possibilities of who I can be and how I can live. When we limit our world to our hometowns or universities, we lose the infinite possibilities this world has to offer. The world is bigger than Brown, New York, and the United States, and I want to see more of it.
So the moment I got home from Nordiska Museet, I began the process to register for the spring semester. After all, we can all use a little growing, a little adventure, and a little facing our fears.