Tag archives for Swedish culture

Swedes love their Summer! And now I know why!

The sun’s out! The skies blue! And Swedes are outside! Anywhere and everywhere!

This weekend I made another trip to the countryside! Here’s how the last few days have gone…

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Homemade Sushi

What do you do with yourself when you find a free weeknight? Well, get together with friends and make some sushi of course! At least that’s what a few of us thought last week.  You can buy all the ingredients for making your own sushi from a local grocery store, although shopping at a local Japanese market will save you money and will probably get you better quality items. To do this, you will definitely need sheets of the seaweed covering (nori), some short grain rice, vinegar and lime, and whatever else you want to put in your rolls.

To start with cook the rice as you normally would. When it is done add some salt, vinegar, and a little lime juice. Lay out the nori and add a layer of rice. Then add whatever sliced ingredients you wish. You will end up with something looking like this:

Now you cut it up into slices and eat! Simple, right? To be honest I don’t know if this is the exact recipe for making sushi, but this is what we came up with. What fun is making food if you can’t be creative? :)

The cost of living in Sweden

Being in Sweden is one of the most satisfying experiences to have. There are plenty of attractions throughout the country and an abundance of culture to take part in. However, as a student, staying in Sweden can be challenging. Coming from the US everyone was under the impression that Sweden was a “more expensive” country than a America. To a degree that is true. So for anyone out there who is thinking of moving to Sweden for whatever reason I would like to go over the monthly costs that you will have to face:

  • Accommodation: 3000+ SEK. Accommodation is the hardest thing to find when coming to Sweden because it requires you being in a queue for some time and may be the reason that some people won’t come. So if you are able to find a place to stay consider yourself lucky. On the low end you can be paying about 3000 however you will probably will be sharing a flat or a corridor. The more you are able to pay, the better your accommodation will be.
  • Transportation: 560 SEK (student price). Getting around Stockholm is very easy with the public transportation system. You are able to buy a monthly SL pass that will give you unlimited access to that system for the month. For anyone new to Stockholm I recommend getting it so that you have a good chance to explore. If you are looking to save money though you might not have to get this pass if you live close to school and perhaps a grocery store. Some people also buy bikes a ride those around during the warm months and only buy a pass for a month or two in the winter.
  • Food: 1200 SEK. This amount will depend on what exactly you eat and will vary. 1200 is the value that I spend on average a month for food.
  • Insurance. Remember you have to get insurance, both home and health/dental. If you are a student find out what insurance you can get abroad.
  • Phone: 150 SEK. I have a smartphone and use Google Maps a lot to get around so I had to make sure I got a plan with data on it. There are plenty of companies to choose from. The most popular one for students is Comviq. I have a prepaid plan from Telenor. I pay 150 SEK for 3000 minutes, 3000 texts, and 500 MB of data for 30 days. I have never reached any of those limits so I though this was the best plan for me.

Putting everything together, at the very least you will be spending about 5000 SEK per month living here. That does not include things such as: eating out, buying books, or any extra expenditures that you have. I hope this information is useful for anyone considering on coming over to Sweden.

Photo of an ice cream cone and Mehsum Rupani at Kista Centrum – Photo by: Kazem Behbahani

There’s a first time for everything

What’s your first memory? I remember going to watch The Jungle Book with one of my older sisters. I loved Mowgli and Baloo and that song, the Bare Necessities! Ah the Bare Necessities! Such a feel good song! The car drive home was so nice, I felt like a little girl with no worries…how life has changed! There are so many things in life to worry about but so many things to embrace, especially when it’s your first time for something :)

Last Saturday I was invited out to Norrviken, this is just a short train ride out of Stockholm central! You might be wondering, why did you travel out to Norrviken? Well, of course, when in Sweden, do as the Swedes do…in my case, learn how to stand upright on ice skates and move in one smooth motion forward! Well, that was the aim…I was invited to Norrviken to try out ice skating and not just any ice skating but long ice skating! My friend Anneliese lives in the area and had been out on the local frozen lake with long skates which is exactly as it sounds, skating with longer ice skates, that you actually fasten onto a pair of boots yourself!

Ice, ice, ice, ice, nice! Photo: Oscar Eriksson.

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Winter Holiday in Stockholm

First off, I would like to introduce myself as a new blogger for Sweden.se. I am an American studying a Masters in Toxicology at Karolinska Institute. Hopefully more than that you can learn about me from my blog posts :)

Today I would like to talk about my holiday vacation in Stockholm. Unlike most of my classmates I stayed in town to enjoy the city like the Swedes do. The Jul celebration (Christmas) here was done a little differently than it would have gone in the US. I arrived at my family’s house here around 3:00 and spent time with everyone until the Disney Christmas special came on. This is the first Jul tradition celebrated here. This hour long special takes clips from several Disney movies (usually the songs), dubs it over into Swedish, and puts it all together. The younger kids sit and laugh throughout it while the adults talk about if they are alright that they changed the special this year. Ok, that last part is not a yearly tradition, but I’m sure there is always something to talk about. After that, everyone sits down at the dinner table and get’s ready for the meal. This is the second tradition. The common food items include: salmon with dill, potatoes, meatballs, sausage, and to drink there is glögg, julmust, or beer. Then comes the third tradition. Everyone gathers around the tree to open presents. Once everyone has dispersed to enjoy what they have gotten the night is concluded.

Jul Dinner – Photo by: Kazem Behbahani


The first and third tradition are different that what is custom in the US. There is not one single Christmas special that everyone watches. There are several that people can choose from to watch, if any. Also, kids are supposed to wait until Christmas morning to open the presents. Santa Claus plays a bigger role in the US. He comes by Christmas eve to drop off presents from everyone so if the kids don’t sleep well at night they might scare him off and he might not give them their presents. Even though there might be Santa Claus imagery in Sweden, it doesn’t seem like kids are led to believe that story which I found interesting.

A few days after Christmas I had to get ready for New Years. This was very similar to the US. Then again it is difficult to mess up staying up and enjoying fireworks. I had dinner at a friends apartment. With several people showing up, we introduced ourselves and got to know each other as best that we could before dinner. Once we finished eating, we split up into groups and took a quiz of some of the major events of the past year. We didn’t know there was going to be a small prize but it was fun to see how passionate people got into it. We were half an hour to the new year. We all bundled up and headed out to a local hill where you could see most of Stockholm. Because there is not as much legal trouble buying fireworks in Sweden as there is in the States, once New Years came you could see fireworks going up all over the city. In this way I enjoy New Years here than back home. We spent almost an hour looking at the show over Stockholm. People from our group then split up and went either home or to different parties.

Now it’s time to switch gears back to school. Hopefully this term is as fun as the last one!