I’ve moved on KTH campus about two month ago now, so I figured it would be a good time to reflect on my first moments in my new city: Stockholm! Here are the things that struck me the most when I arrived here.
1. Fika every damn day
Fika (put the emphasis on the i) could be compared to british afternoon tea, except it can happen in the morning, or any time really. It consists of having coffee (or tea, juice) with a bulla (swedish pastry) with friends or coworkers. It is a staple in the swedish lifestyle and a great excuse to take a break from studying or working to eat some delicious kanelbulle (cinnamon bun). It makes meetings much better and will leave you wanting more!
2. Active transport is life
Stockholm is city bike paradise, but it also has a A1 public transport system. You can go very far outside in the outskirts with one standard SL (Stockholm transport service) ticket, and buses, trains, ferries and trams pass very frequently, even on weekends. The monthly pass may be on the more expensive side, but it can get you anywhere from Ikea and Decathlon (staples for any students) to national parks and islands around the archipelago. Bonus: the tunnelbana (metro) station are so beautiful the whole network was dubbed the longest museum in the word!
3. Let the sun shine!
In the short amount of time I have been here, I have realized that anytime the sun shines, people will spend some time outside, having their fika or drinks on a terrace (they even provide blankets for colder days, how cool is that!?) or going to the park or the beach . Sunlight hours are very precious before the dark winter arrives, so any time is a good time to soak up that vitamin D!
4. No swedish no problem
Swedish may be the only official language here, but everyone (and I really mean everyone, it’s pretty impressive) speaks almost-perfect english. It’s very easy to navigate through the city and running errands. I am taking a free Swedish class offered by KTH since I’ll be here for a long time, but if language skills are not your forte, you can manage day-to-day life very easily in english.
5. Parks and forests everywhere
There’s easy-access nature everywhere around Stockholm. Just behind campus is a forest with around 20 km of trails, perfect for a jog in between classes. For weekend trips, there are national parks, such as Tyresta and Näcka, less than an hour away from KTH main campus. These places are perfect if you need a breather but don’t want to go very far. They are very accessible by public transport and some places even kayaks and/or mountain bikes rentals. Oh and did I mention free camping (bivouac) is legal in Sweden? More on this in the coming posts!
So there you have it, my first impression of Stockholm and Sweden! Don’t hesitate to share your own experiences or ask any questions in the comment section 🙂