Tristan, Outbound to Sweden

Hej, I have been here in Sweden for 6 weeks now and it has been amazing so far. I got off the plane on August 1st in Stockholm and drove about 2 hours south to where I will be living for the next year near a town called Katrineholm. I actually don't live in Katrineholm though I live in a village of about 600 that is a 15 minute drive from the town. On my first day I slept when we got back and then I had my first fika in Sweden. Fika is a time where you stop your day and eat, talk, and relax for a bit. After about 5 days I left for my language camp in Sundsvall, Sweden. Sundsvall is a really cool place, it sits about 3 hours north of Stockholm near the Baltic Sea. There are a bunch of dragon statues around because of an old folk story about how the dragons protect the city. At language camp I played cards with an Indian, Italian, Korean and a French person, to me that defines what this is all about. Getting to learn about and experience a different culture is something really special. The language camp took place at a hotel that was near a lake so everyone went swimming at least a few times. At the language camp I got to meet all the other exchange students that are in a suburb of Stockholm like myself, I have never met a group of people that is as easy to get along with as this group everyone became friends pretty much on the second day of the camp. I started school about a week after I got back from the language camp, I didn't know what to expect and my Swedish was (and still is) not very good, I can understand parts of sentences but not the whole sentence. My classmates where a bit confused at first because my town rarely gets exchange students but after a few days they would start asking me questions and I have already made a few friends. At the end of August I went to my first Rotary camp in Åre, Sweden. Åre is where most of the mountains in Sweden are located which is near Norway. It was a long day of travel to get there but it was worth it. That was the first time I had ever hiked up a mountain, it was a bit more than 4000 feet tall! I got to meet some of other exchange students that are in the south of Sweden. I went to the amusement park Grönalund in Stockholm with some exchange friends and it was really fun, it was my first time to a theme park in a while and I really enjoyed it. This past weekend I went Falun to visit my host moms parents. It was really fun to see a different part of Sweden. This past Wednesday I went to Stockholm for the day because I didn't have school. I got to see some friends and finally eat some Mexican food that I have missed so much. I am very tired most days because I am hearing two different languages everyday. It has been hard to learn Swedish but I know that eventually I will get it. I am really enjoying my time here in Sweden, some parts have been hard but have so far been worth it. I want to thank Rotary and especially my parents for allowing me to go on this journey that will change my life forever.

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