A Week in the Life of a Swedish Program Student

A Week in the Life of a Swedish Program Student

By Audrey Bohlin, Digital Editor

School: Davidson College, Class of ’25
Major or concentration: English and Psychology
Semester abroad: Fall ’23


I wake up, eat breakfast – I’m a big fan of overnight oats – and catch the train into the city. I love using this time to listen to my new favorite podcast (10% happier) or catch up on some reading. There is a great debate among my friends about whether taking the train or bus to school is better. I prefer the train because of the views and smoothness of the ride, but while the bus takes a little longer, it provides door-to-door service so… you can decide.

The first class of the day: Swedish 1. Am I proficient in Swedish yet? Not entirely. But I know how to order coffee and have a brief conversation explaining why I’m in Sweden, which is way more than I could do eight weeks ago. Today, we learned about plural nouns (for example, en kanelbulle → två kanelbullar). After class, my classmates and I head to the atrium here at school (there’s also a beautiful park right outside where we sat when it was warm outside). I packed leftovers for lunch, but a group also grabbed food from a nearby burger place.

Then, I head to my second class of the day: Swedish Crime Fiction. If you love murder mysteries, I cannot recommend this class enough. Even though we are only 8 students in the class, our lesson today is held in the largest lecture hall at the Stockholm School of Economics, so we get to spread out and felt very important. This week, we discuss how book adaptation and translation can change a book’s meaning and reception for different audiences.

After class, my classmates and I take the train home together. On Mondays, I like having a quiet night in, so I go for a nice walk to a nearby lake before cooking dinner (ask me for my roasted chicken recipe). Then, I do some readings for class and call some friends back home before an early bedtime.

Tuesday (My day off!)

Lucky me: I have no class on Tuesdays! So I wake up early to head to the nearby gym with my friend Daboh for leg day (her least favorite). Then we make our way into town and find a cute cafe to get some studying and travel planning done!

In the afternoon, we decide to visit a museum. We head to the National Museum and take in some beautiful artwork. In the evening, we head home, cook dinner together, and have a movie night (my Swedish crime fiction professor has been giving our class some good recommendations for movies to watch).


The first activity of the day was fika with the Swedish Program! Free cookies and coffee are guaranteed ways to get college students to show up to anything. Next up: Swedish Class! Today, we are presenting slideshows about different aspects of Swedish culture. We learned that the Stockholm archipelago has approximately 24,000 islands! Our professor, Erik, always ends class with a suggestion of what we should visit this weekend, and his suggestion this week is Monteliusvagen for a beautiful view of the sunset.

After lunch at a nearby cafe, I had my second class of the day: Social Psychology of Health and Well-being. We learned about climate change and how it is impacting our psychological well-being. Sweden is a country dedicated to sustainability and the preservation of the environment, so it’s interesting to explore cultural differences in how climate change is perceived.

After class, I headed to a cafe to grab some fika with a friend! I always grab a kardemummabulle, but my friend Sydney loves the chokladbollar. Then, we grab the train home and go to the grocery store to prepare for a potluck. Since most of the students in the program live in the same apartment building, we hold potlucks every once in a while to share our cooking and drinks and chat in the evenings to unwind. I love trying all the delicious baked goods my classmates make.


A friend and I head to a quick gym session in the morning. Then, I go into the city and decide to explore the Stockholm Medieval Museum to dive into some history before my only class of the day: The Psychology of Work. This week, we learned how managers can help create workplaces where people feel safe speaking their minds. (One thing I love about the Swedish Program classes is that most of the professors are professionals and researchers within the field they are teaching, so there is access to experts and the most up-to-date research within a field.)

After class, I grab fika at a cafe with a friend who is studying abroad in Rome and came up to Stockholm on his travels. Before dinner, we go to the waterfront to wander along the canals until we get hungry and grab some delicious meatballs in Södermalm.


I spend the morning cleaning my apartment and doing laundry. This semester is my first time living in an apartment alone, so I’ve enjoyed learning how to take care of my space. Then I head to Haga Park for a walk among the trees since it is fully fall here in Stockholm, and the fall foliage is spectacular. Afterward, I meet up with friends who just finished class and go shopping at a great thrift store near the Stockholm School of Economics.

I go to my contact’s family’s house for dinner, where they have made traditional Swedish meatloaf, potatoes, and kladdkaka, an ooey-gooey chocolate cake. The youngest daughter and I take a walk around their neighborhood (they live right next to the woods), and they give me some great tips about staying happy during the approaching winter. Mostly, it’s about staying active and trying to soak up as much sunlight as possible. They live near a pond, so they invite me to join them for a day of ice skating once it freezes!

One thing I’ve loved is that every week is different, but there are some constants throughout the program that make it feel like home. The great thing about studying abroad is that I get to be a student, an adult learning to live independently, and a tourist all at once. While discovering my favorite cafes, parks, and study places, I’ve also mastered grocery shopping. On top of it all, I get to travel around Stockholm with great people, which means I do cool touristy things like seeing new museums and palaces in my free time.

I think that’s what I’ve loved about studying abroad: there’s a sense of wonder about learning how to navigate on your own, while being motivated to see all that’s available in this big wide world – or, in my case, Sweden! Stockholm has much more to offer than what can be seen in just a weekend, so I love taking my time exploring, and I feel like I’m learning every day.