As I come upon the last few days here in Sweden, it’s unbelievable to imagine everything I’ve learned and have seen here. This past weekend, Morgan and I were able to take a weekend cruise to Helsinki, Finland!! The cruise ship left Stockholm at 4:30pm Friday, arrived in Helsinki at 10:00am Saturday, we were able to spend about 7 hours in the city then boarded the ship again to return to Sweden (we landed again at 10:00am Sunday). Many many of you know that visiting Finland was my number one dream, the number one thing on my bucketlist. So the trip was an extremely big deal to me and in all honesty, I teared up when we landed! Ha. But Helsinki was amazing. The architecture was beautiful and there was a “famer’s market-esque” strip of shops and food places that was awesome. Pretty sure we spent a good hour, hour and a half there. The cruise ship was really interesting as well, I had never been on a giant boat before! One of the best things was the delicious dinner and breakfast buffet. We ate so much, but it was SO delicious. Now I just have one more day of teaching then saying bye to all the wonderful friends I’ve met here then it’s off to the states again!
We land on Wednesday in Louisville at 6:00pm. This whole trip has been unbelievable and I’ve very much enjoyed my time here, but I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t ready to come home and see my family and friends!!
So last leg of my journey!! But I’ll definitely be coming back over seas in the future.
I worked with an English class today and they really enjoyed hearing about America! They stayed 20 minutes over their class time to keep asking me questions. The students were all given permission to leave if they wanted to and no one did! I’ve been getting the funniest questions though, like, “Have you ever fried chicken?” And I was like “Uh, yes.” Then I had to explain what Chick-Fil-A is. Anytime I’ve said I was from Kentucky here, 90% of the time I get a, “OMG KFC.” Apparently Sweden doesn’t have KFC’s because it violates the health code (LOL). Mostly the students are interested in the differences between America and Sweden and I (kind of unfortunately) received several questions regarding crime in America because comparatively, Sweden is extremely safe. I read that out of the top 50 most dangerous cities in the world, 48 of them were in the United States (and I think Louisville was even number three!). So they were interested to hear about that. Also they did not believe me when I told them Kentucky was conservative and teachers in the school are not allowed to have tattoos or even multiple ear piercings, they thought that was crazy (I agree!). Overall, the kids were very enjoyable and very interested in America. It was a good day!
It’s the king’s birthday.
GUESS WHO’S GOING TO SEE THE KING BECAUSE HE COMES OUT AND WALKS AROUND IN STOCKHOLM ON HIS BIRTHDAY!?!
Me. That’s right.
I’ve been SO busy, it’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged. So much has happened. For one, LAST Saturday we went to Stockholm all by ourselves! Everything was beautiful except the weather was pretty gnarly most of the day. It was raining half the time and it was freezing by the time the sun set. We saw a lot of amazing architecture and we also visited the King’s palace and got to see the royal apartments and the treasury and changing of the guards, which was super cool. We didn’t know where we were going though and we didn’t have anyone with us that spoke Swedish so for most of the day we just wandered around Stockholm and took pictures.
School this week has been very eventful. I’ve taught in the English class and helped teach the physics class as well. Teaching the maths/science class is extremely difficult because the class is taught in Swedish, but the English class was wonderful and the students were really excited to hear about America and ask a bazillion questions about my tattoos, which I love.
Which is another point I want to make! The main idea/concept of Berzeliusskolan (my school) is acceptance. So literally I’ve seen several teachers with full sleeves of tattoos and no one cares and no one says anything because they don’t see anything wrong with that. My teacher was discussing with me that they had a big 4 hour seminar over making sure the lesbian/gay/transgender students are being treated well and fairly and I asked him what exactly they really talked about and he said one example was what to do if a student wanted to come out. I asked him what he would do in that situation and he said he would leave it up to the student but he would just be overwhelmed with honor that the student felt so highly of their relationship that they were comfortable enough to come out and I thought that was a beautiful sentiment. And ALL the teachers at the school that I’ve talked to are like that.
Additionally, the wonderful English teacher, My, has offered to drive us to Stockholm on the King’s birthday to see him and give us an official Swedish tour and has many things planned for us. She also said she could drive us so we wouldn’t have to hassle with the bus and train system. Her sister offered up her apartment for us to stay in the night as well, so that’ll be exciting!
Additionally, we are planning a cruise to Finland for the last weekend we’re here and, y’all know me, I’m extremely excited about that! I finally get to GO TO FINLAND and walk around IN HELSINKI. That’s the number one thing on my bucket list; so that’s pretty exciting.
On another personal note; I love my corridor. The students living with me are all wonderful and amazing and SO sweet and our living accommodations for the last week we’re here have been sketchy since we aren’t allowed to live in our corridor rooms anymore, but one of the other girls said she’s leaving between April 26 and May 6 and I could stay in her room while she’s gone. SO NICE.
Overall it’s been a great experience so far. My cooperating teacher is amazing and such an enthusiastic and caring educator and has helped me so much, it’s really inspiring.
Will try to update more soon!
I’m super home sick but I won’t get into that whole conversation right now ;)
Also go from red to yellow to green. Like a race track. COOL.
The first day at my school was intense! There was so much to see and take in it was almost overwhelming. The entire feel of this school is much like a college. The classes vary day-by-day and sometimes I won’t even have to go into school until noon! Additionally, the student-teacher relationship is extremely laid back. Extremely. And I love it. My supervisor, Andrew Brown, is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He got on the bus with me to show me how to get to Linkoping University because one day I need to go to a class there and I would be going from the school. He wanted to make sure I didn’t get lost. He also hand-delivered me back to Ryd, my apartment, to make sure I didn’t get lost then either. He is very interested in making sure I get a spectrum perspective of the overall education system here, so he’s ensuring I visit other subjects as well as other grade levels. I’ll most likely be helping assist in English classes, although there will be much opportunity to teach some of his physics/maths classes as well. The lunch there is also extremely different than in the states. First and foremost, lunch for students is free (of course Sweden’s taxation is much higher than ours). On top of lunch being free, you can get as much as you want! It works very much like a buffet line. You grab a plate, go through and get whatever you want to get. Also, if you’re still hungry, you can go back for more no problem! I tried the school lunch today (my supervisor paid, again, super nice guy) and we had several different vegetable/fruit choices (namely pineapple!) and rice and curry. There were two different types of curry, one with meat and a vegetarian option. I was told there will always be a vegetarian option as well. Another interesting HUGE thing in Sweden is “Fika,” which is more of a concept than a word. Fika is super popular and it’s basically a dessert and coffee break. The teachers get fika during the school day and coffee is free! They have one of those super cool coffee/cappuccino machines that have a million buttons. I have no idea what I pressed but the coffee was delicious. The students at Berzelius seem very laid back and seem to like Andrew a lot. They have a wonderful relationship and can talk and joke with one another back and forth. Andrew is also a fantastic teacher who is very enthusiastic and uses several objects and props to help make the concepts clear (today he was talking about force/inertia). I’m extremely excited to see what will come next and I think these next four weeks are going to be an amazing learning experience for me and I’m extremely excited to come back to America and share what I’ve learned!
I’m going to attach the schedule for the next four weeks so you can see what I’m talking about how it literally varies from day to day!
The first few days here have been intense and quit shocking. There are several little things that Swedes do that we’re just not used to in America. The biggest concern while here was determining how to get to the schools we’ll be teaching in every day. We decided to get a month bus pass and use the public transportation system. A wonderful Swede by the name of Elin helped each of us map the route and bus(es) we needed to take to get where we’re going.and we feel much more comfortable today. She also helped us grocery shop since everything is in Swedish. We learned a few words today such as yes/no/thank you/excuse me/sorry/welcome and should be learning more soon. I met my corridor buddies today (most of them) and they invited me to a party that was to happen tonight as well as an Easter dinner tomorrow. They were very nice, gracious, and fun at the party tonight and the rest of the girls and I had a great time meeting everyone! I’m very excited for dinner tomorrow, some of the guys are going to buy all the food and we are going to help them prepare. I think I’ll really love it here once I get a hang of the language and buses and meet more people because the friends I’ve made so far are pretty awesome.