Here I am again with an update. Sunday evening, after a day of doing absolutely nothing, I ended up going to Andrea’s for a very very late fika. The whole thing eventually turned into a dinner event and we were all able to enjoy her delicious pasta and tortilla de patatas. There were a few people I knew but a lot of new people as well, which was great. We also played ‘Who am I’, in which I turned out to be George Bush. Wasn’t a fan. We also had our first corridor meeting that night, but it took only 10 minutes and I don’t feel like I know anything more now than I did before. I guess everything is pretty self-explanatory.
On Monday I ran some errands; I went to the stadsbibliotek here in Lund because I needed to get some children’s books for my course in ‘Children’s Literature and Culture in Sweden’. I also paid the faculty library another visit for some books and I managed to print some more of the articles we have to read. Aaaaand, the most exciting part was that I went to Kalmar Nation to register myself. I am officially part of the nations. Now all I have to do is wait for them to send me my student card. I chose Kalmar Nation because a) it is close to my faculty b) it is not too big c) they have a choir d) they have 2 pubs and no club, which for me is a positive thing because I am not much of a dancer and partygoer anyways. Also, I went to the gym here in Sparta. Very professional and all, because I got a private training that day where a trainer set up a program for me to get started. Good thing is I can try the gym for free and then decide to get a membership or not. My muscles are still sore today, but I am sure I will be going back just as soon as I have some spare time.
Tuesday was back-to-school day and I was very nervous but also a little excited. (Who thought I’d ever use the words ‘excited’ and ‘school’ in one sentence?!) My first class was Children’s Literature and Culture in Sweden. It turned out to be more of an introduction meeting with general info, presentation of the teachers and an overview of the entire course. You see, most courses I’m taking are part of a bigger program (in this case for example: Children’s Literature). I am taking part one of this bigger program, which also means that the course will be short but very intense. The next class I had on my first day was English, which I was most looking forward to. Again, general information, nothing really interesting for us as exchange students because the focus was mainly laid on writing Bachelor papers, which I will be doing at home, at Ghent University. All by all it was a quite boring yet somehow tiring day. I guess my brain is not on school mode yet. We’ll see how that goes.
More exciting was that I had arranged to meet up with Lindsey (Canada), my wifi buddy, with whom I now share a deep connection (Get it? She said this one time and I thought it too good not to share). We had both individually decided to go to the Gudrun Choir (Gudrunkören) which is a choir shared by three nations, but decided we might as well go together. It was actually really fun! Funny thing was we accidentally ended up on the men’s side of the choir and didn’t notice until halfway through the rehearsal. Although I had no idea what voice type I was, my reading music was very rusty and I didn’t know what half of the lyrics meant (they were in old Swedish), I had a good time. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay the entire rehearsal because Lindsey had invited me to go to a friend’s birthday party. The theme of the party was Mexican and so beforehand we had prepared a delicious (we found that out later) Mexican salad. After quite an adventure with the transportation of the salad (remember: everything is done by bike here in Lund), we made it safely to another student house near the train station. Most people at the party were Canadian or Irish but it was still a nice mix of people. I had a great time; people were really welcoming, which is always half the party I guess.
Wednesday was a school day again (almost every weekday from now on). I should probably explain the way classes work here. We have to read (a lot of) text and books before every lecture which we then discuss. And when I say discuss, I actually mean discuss; students here (voluntarily!) raise their hand because they have something to contribute to what the teacher or their fellow student has to say. No one ever interrupts, everyone listens thoughtfully to everyone’s opinion. Not to mention the atmosphere in the classroom is so relaxed. However, that is all great, but not everything is always roses. I have found the Swedish students, as far as I can tell, to be a little distant; they sit at different desks, separately, most of the time. It is quite different from the warm and welcoming feeling you get amongst the exchange students. I don’t expect them to welcome me as a queen or whatever, it would just be nice if they could recognise my existence and say at least SOMETHING. I mean, they must know that for me to ask or say something in Swedish is a much higher barrier than the one they have to cross. Instead, they prefer to talk to other Swedish people, in Swedish, often spoken way too fast in order for me to get involved in the conversation. I guess you can kind of tell that I have been frustrated by this, and I don’t really know what to do about it. The last class that day was especially hard (‘Linguistics: man, language and society’ in Swedish) because in that class no one literally said a word to me and of course it had to be that class we have to do group work. I didn’t find a group (because no one seemed to be discussing the assignment), I didn’t fully get what the assignment was about and to be honest it all got a bit too much that evening. I went home so disappointed with the course, with the people and a little bit with myself. You see, it really isn’t all roses when you go on an exchange, but I guess most people that read this blog will not want to hear about those aspects of going abroad. So there’s that, just to let you know, before you get jealous of me living it up in Sweden (I still am doing that too, don’t worry!)
To be honest, I don’t know how all these courses are going to work, because I have so much reading work that I’d love for a day to have 36 hours instead of 24. I am already behind in some courses; how did that happen? I probably shouldn’t worry about it too much, but for those who know me, that is a hard, hard thing for me to do. I am a worrywart! Let’s see if I can challenge myself not to. And of course, you will be updated on all of this.
And that is it for this week’s episode of Silke in Sweden. I’m sorry it wasn’t all happy go lucky, but this blog is to write about my experiences and well, this is what I’m experiencing. Good thing the weekend isn’t too far away to take my mind off of things for a bit!
Puss och kram