Acclimating to Life in Costa Rica

Submitted by Erin Lay on the 2023 spring semester program in Costa Rica…

Breakfast, including gallo pinto, a fried egg, ham, shortbread, a fruit bowl, and orange juice

As a picky eater, I normally have a hard time finding foods I like to eat. I have been a picky eater my whole life, whether it’s the flavor or the texture. I was very worried to come to Costa Rica for this reason. I had so much anxiety the night before leaving for Costa Rica about whether or not I was going to eat enough. I decided the best way for me to overcome this was to try everything. Since I’ve been here, I’ve tried almost 100 new foods and drinks. My favorite meal I’ve eaten so far, is the  chicken burrito that we had the very first night. We had a fruit juice, that my group determined was tamarind juice and a pineapple carrot cake for desert. Each morning, the cafeteria serves gallo pinto, also known as, rice and beans. I have never liked beans before, but I fell in love with gallo pinto. So far, I haven’t found too many foods that I didn’t like. I hope to continue to try even more. (Submitted on January 9, 2023)

In all of my education, I never took a Spanish class. I’m realizing now that it would have been more beneficial for me to take Spanish than Latin in high school. Costa Rica has been amazing and luckily most people know English, but there are a few times my friend has had to help translate. I found out after arriving in Costa Rica that my camera doesn’t take SD cards over 2gb. This became a problem when I had only brought 128gb SD cards with me. My friend and I left the research station we were staying at to try and find one at a local store. I was so lucky my friend went with me because I did not understand any Spanish. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find one, but I had one in my camera already. I just had to limit the amount of pictures I took. (Submitted during Week 2)

Every morning since we arrived at Palo Verde Biological Station, I have woken up early to see the sunrise. There is a dock that leads to a large marsh here. There are so many birds that hang around the dock. The sunrise is so beautiful and makes waking up at 5:30am worth it. At night, we can see so many stars. I like to go lay on the dock and look at them. There is less light pollution here than in Delaware so we can even see some planets. The dock here has easily become my favorite place so far. There is always new things to see and enjoy. (Submitted on January 21, 2023)

Enjoying the sunrise

Reflecting on Experiences in Rome

Submitted by Elliana Olivo on the 2023 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…

A weekend trip in Vienna, Austria

As study abroad is coming to an end, I never thought I would say that I am tired of travelling. I have loved every second of my life abroad but I am definitely ready to go back to America. One of the main reasons I studied abroad for an entire semester was because of my love for traveling and exploring new cities. However, while balancing school work, new adventures every weekend in a new European country and city I have not had any time to rest and just relax in Rome. There is a constant pressure to go to a new place or try a new spot you haven’t seen yet because of the short time we are living in Europe. Usually I am a person who thrives on this type of lifestyle but the travel time, time zone differences and cultural shock this often is a lot even for me. Although Rome has felt like a second home for me in some aspects, it is not America. There are a lot of aspects of the U.S. that most of us miss living in Europe for this long. Especially our families and friends back home and our usual lives we created during our last two and a half years of college. Routine, familiarity and relationships. (Submitted on April 24, 2023)

Although this semester is coming to an end I wanted to do a round-up of everywhere I traveled these past few months abroad. Starting with my home country Italy, Rome is my home base. After every long weekend it is such a relief to come back to our apartment and weekly routine of classes. Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre were major highlights of my travels. As well as, L’Aquila, Capri and Sorrento to finish off Italy. Some last minute trips that soon became some of my favorite cities include Prague, Vienna and Budapest. I traveled to these three places within the last two weeks of being abroad and they were so different from the rest of my weekend getaways. Some obvious choices we went to in the beginning were London, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona. Although these famous cities were fun to explore and experience they did not compare to Lisbon, Portugal and Nice, France. My least favorite cities were Pompei and Ostia that we went to one weekend for a class trip. We did learn alot about history but they were long days with a lot of travel time that we had to go to for a grade. If I had just a few more weekends left in Europe I would travel to Malta, Switzerland, Morocco and probably all of the south of Italy including Sicily and Positano. Being in Europe for such an extended period of time has taught me alot about myself and the different cultures we have visited. I definitely plan to come back to Europe but in a shorter amount of time with more days in each place I go. (Submitted on April 26, 2023)

Closing the chapter of my semester in Rome is a hard pill to swallow. Not only is this week bitter sweet but a time in my life that I will never forget. Living in a different country has taught me a lot of things. 

1. Always make more time for yourself and your family. 
2. Travel is precious and should always be cherished.
3. Always be open to new experiences. 

Although Rome has slowly become my new home it has made me miss my home in the states. What I will miss most about Italy are a few things. Most importantly, my friends I made here over the months. Not only do I have roommates for the first time but I formed a friend group that I hope to have forever. The food. The Italian diet of pasta, bread, croissants and cheese is mouth watering but I definitely need a break from the overload of carbohydrates. Last but not least, Italy has been and will always be my favorite place to visit. Maybe not somewhere where I will live for the rest of my life but I know I will be back dozens of times more. (Submitted on April 29, 2023)

Cinque Terre in Italy

Learning and Living in Italian Culture

Submitted by Elliana Olivo on the 2023 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…

Visiting a pasta market in Rome

Last week while traveling to Southern France, the airlines warned us of potential strikes in the areas around Paris. Fortunately, we were able to avoid any major repercussions of the strike but our flight from Rome to Nice was delayed. Paris transportation was put on strike however and some citizens were seen throwing garbage around the airport and major train stations. This incident reminded me of the constant Roman strikes on transportation we have dealt with this semester. Every other week or so, the buses stop running at random times or don’t go to certain areas of the city. Usually, John Cabot University has been able to warn us on such occasions but it is never consistent. Personally, I have never experienced any strikes living on the east coast of the U.S. except for one strike on the education system in regards to teaching salaries. Speaking of transportation, the bus system in Rome was hard to navigate at first. With the language barrier as well as, last of places to purchase tickets walking was our best option. Fortunately with the help of our University we were able to figure out tips and tricks to getting around the city. Apple Maps has been a huge lifesaver when it comes to finding out which bus to take for different locations and what times they will come. Unfortunately, they are not updated when strikes occur but other than that they are quick to catch delays and show different routes to any destination in most of Europe’s major cities. (Submitted on March 28, 2023)

With only a few weeks left of studying abroad living within the culture of the Italians before we go back to the American lifestyle. One of my roommates came to Rome to visit me this week and as we were talking about the abroad lifestyle we compared our cultural experiences of Spain and Italy to America. For me in Italy when I first got here it took a little getting used to with the slower culture and different daily habits that I picked up from the locals. For instance, when they get coffee in the morning it isn’t the to-go experience that is typical in the U.S. many Romans like to stand by the bar or sit outside with their espresso or cappuccino with a light pastry for breakfast. My friend Katie and I said we would try to bring back some of the European lifestyle with us back home such as a slow morning before school or dressing up for outings other than special occasions. Another habit we picked up on were the Europeans eating habits and food shopping. Rather than shopping for a week’s worth of food like in America they focus on fresh foods at daily markets or specific vendors for different types of foods. During my time here I have noticed I go to the food market either daily or every other day to stock up on groceries. The vegetables also go bad much quicker here with less preservatives. Thankfully, they have less options for unhealthy snacks therefore I have been eating cleaner with my home cooked meals. The fresh foods and smaller portions also have had a different impact on my body with less stomach aches and the feelings of being satiated not overly full. (Submitted on April 5, 2023)

Reconnecting with family in L’Aquila

My family tree has expanded this week. My grandmother flew to Rome this past week to visit me and to share her hometown in L’Aquila. Just a short bus ride away, her small town in Abruzzi soon became my home for the weekend. My distant cousins and relatives accepted us into their home with no hesitation. The hospitality was unlike any other I have experienced in the past. Food was constantly brought out, conversation was ever flowing and the smiles never stopped. Even with the slight language barrier, my little knowledge of the Italian language and my grandmother’s translations allowed us to get to know each other in the short amount of time I had in the small town. When I first knew I was going to live in Rome for a semester I had asked my grandmother to come visit me so we could travel together to the place where she grew up before she moved to America. Once the plan was finalized I was a bit nervous to meet new people that I wasn’t familiar with and have a completely different lifestyle from what my grandmother and I experienced in the United States. Although we did have our differences it was so fulfilling to teach one another of our culture and daily customs. Some examples that we shared were the family gathering after church for pasta and lamb on Easter Sunday. We differed in a way with our house structures and daily lifestyle however. The town they live in was so small and was up in the mountains of L’Aquila. (Submitted on April 11, 2023)

Visiting Landmarks in Athens

Submitted by Alexandra Hall on the 2023 spring semester program in Athens, Greece…

Enjoying Greek coffee!

Traveling outside of the country for the first time has been one of my life’s best experiences. I did not know a single person and have since made a group of friends to explore the city and town of Agia Paraskevi, Greece with. In the photo above, you will see the Holy Church of Saint Paraskevi – Mesogion. The Greek Orthodox church was open to the public to walk through when there wasn’t a service, and everyone inside was very respectful and quiet. What surprised me the most was the difference in architecture compared to the United States churches. There were paintings on almost every wall and a massive chandelier that had tangerines hanging from it. I’m not sure exactly why there were tangerines on the chandelier, but I am guessing it’s because of the many tangerine trees scattered around the town. Do not eat the tangerines because they are not sweet whatsoever and taste like lemons. Overall, the first couple of days I experienced in the town of Agia Paraskevi, Greece have been astonishing. (Submitted on January 12, 2023)

After being in Athens, Greece for almost two weeks, I have noticed the Greek’s love for coffee. Unlike Americans, a vast majority of the Greeks I have met drink their coffee with no sugar. Usually, half the students in my classes have a coffee with them, even during my night classes. My new friend Elina, who is Greek, told me that most Greeks drink up to six coffees a day, whether it’s espresso, cappuccino, or traditional Greek coffee. I even got to try the traditional Greek coffee, and I will tell you I made a big mistake when drinking it. Once I reached the last couple sips of my Greek coffee, I mixed the grounds that had settled at the bottom, not knowing they were the coffee grounds. It was bitter and unpleasant, but the rest of the coffee was very strong, which I enjoyed. There are cafes on almost every block in Agia Paraskevi, and the baristas are always very welcoming. While my friends and I were enjoying some coffee and chatting between our classes, a man walked in with his dog. We asked to pet the dog and then he handed us the leash as he went to sit outside. This surprised me because in America that would have never happened to me. The Greeks are trusting and extremely intelligent, especially in my classes. Day by day I am learning more about Greek culture and it has been very eye-opening in a positive way for me. (Submitted on January 20, 2023)

Visiting the Acropolis

The Acropolis is Greece’s most popular tourist attraction, yet I didn’t visit it until my third week in Athens. I had been yearning to visit the Acropolis since I arrived, and when I finally did I was astonished by the city’s beauty. The ability of this ancient citadel to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters for centuries amazed me, but with the help of construction, it will last even longer. My friends and I arrived close to closing time, so we had to rush to the top. It took around 15 minutes to make it to the top, and it was all uphill, so if you ever plan on visiting the Acropolis, wear sneakers. The Acropolis stands at one of the highest points in the city, so you can imagine the view is even more amazing in person. Once we had to leave, we saw many people sitting by a nearby rock that overlooked the city, so we decided to sit and enjoy the view for a while. There are still so many more historical buildings and landmarks I have yet to visit, but starting off with the Acropolis was a great choice. (Submitted on January 29, 2023)

After being in Athens for over a month, I felt the need to venture out and go out of the city. I found a mineral lake about thirty minutes from my college campus, so my friends and I decided to take a bus there. When we arrived, we could see the clear blue sea on our right, and the lake on our left. Walking to the entrance of the lake felt surreal because of the beautiful pink flowers and mountains that surrounded the lake. It was 45 degrees out and definitely too cold to be swimming, but after seeing the locals get in the water, I knew I had to jump in. The lake felt cold at first, but I got used to it once I was under. Another fact about the lake that intrigued me was that the water has healing properties and it stays relatively warm all year round because of the underwater currents that spread through the multiple underground caves. While swimming in the lake, an older lady who was a local recommended a restaurant nearby that grows all their produce surrounding the restaurant. My friends and I decided to go to the restaurant and the food was so fresh. We got a salad that contained broccoli and cauliflower grown right outside. Getting recommendations from locals has been rewarding every time because they are the ones who know the hidden gems. (Submitted on February 12, 2023)

Connecting with nature outside of Athens

Preparing for a New Semester Abroad

Submitted by Zeppelin Evans on the 2023 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…

Preparing for a new semester is always stressful: choosing classes, making schedules, getting a first look at a new workload, meeting new teachers and classmates, and so much more. A new semester abroad is even more stressful, since all the normal stressors are there, but also being in a new country and culture. This spring semester has been particularly difficult for me– I was not able to get a “perfect” schedule, I have two internships to juggle along with schoolwork, and I still want to travel and explore Rome.

Getting into classes at John Cabot can be difficult, as everyone registers at the same time and class sizes are small (though I do prefer smaller classes). When registration opened, the site kept crashing, and I was not able to begin picking classes until the next morning. At this point, many classes were already full. I was able to get two classes I was really interested in– one on ancient Roman portraiture and the other on Greek art and archaeology. More than anything, I wanted to take the class dedicated to Shakespeare. I kept checking throughout winter break and the first week of classes to see if anyone dropped it, so I could get a spot, but to no avail. I ended up dropping a number of classes before the end of the add/drop period, including Italian cinema and French. In the end, I have four classes that I will enjoy – Introduction to Literature, Introduction to Cinema, and the two art history classes. However, not knowing or having my schedule up in the air until the last minute was really stressful.

Planning for course registration at John Cabot

In addition to classes, I am continuing a remote internship that I began last year in Delaware and completing a new internship here in Italy. The former is enjoyable and takes up about seven hours of my week. The latter, however, will occupy about fifteen hours of my week. Juggling the intense workload of four John Cabot classes alongside the twenty-plus hours of internship work has been difficult to keep up with and manage. Time management has always been one of my strengths, but I have had to completely rethink how I usually organize my time and work. This has been a big change, but I believe that it will help me be more flexible in the future in museum work, which generally carries long and irregular hours.

One of the biggest reasons that students study abroad is to explore a new city and travel. Many students even go to a different city or country every weekend. Not only is this an unrealistic goal for many due to budgets, but also because of the amount of work that is expected of John Cabot students. Adding to those, having two internships makes it nearly impossible to travel that much. I have set aside time to enjoy myself and explore the city, but I was hoping to get to see Verona, Venice, Pompeii, and Sicily. Understanding that those trips may not be possible with my schedule has been difficult as well. 

While the classes at John Cabot are enjoyable and fulfilling, they can be hard to get into and throw a lot of work at students; if those students are also completing internships it can be difficult to manage time and keep up with the expectations of studying abroad. At the same time, this experience is good practice in coping with change, time management, and setting realistic goals. (Submitted January 20, 2023)

Last Weeks in London

Submitted by Leopold Pullella on the 2023 spring semester program in London, England…

Visiting the Natural History Museum

Above is a photo of me walking to the store at night near my flat. This photo depicts the simple and peaceful life around my home. Not only that, it also points out that I feel that London, at least the area I live in, is much safer than some parts of my hometown in America. It’s especially blissful to be out in London at night because there aren’t usually a lot of people around, offering a unique nightly experience to anyone who visits London. (Submitted during Week 11)

Today, I went to the Natural History Museum in London with Simone and Cassy. The museum was surprisingly small but offered a lot of interesting content, as you can see from the numerous people that were there with us. I was particularly impressed by this large skeleton of a dinosaur. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of this enormous creature, but I do know that I was fascinated by the size comparison to myself. I plan on exploring more museums during my time here in London. (Submitted during Week 12)

Once again, I was with Cassy and Simone and we went to Chinatown to eat at a place called “Beijing Dumplings” which my orchestra maestro Dr. Allen Anderson suggested we go to. I am so thankful for Dr. Anderson’s recommendation because the food was delicious! They gave us the most savory meat dishes, the tastiest fried rice, and some of the best dumplings I have ever had. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who visits London! (Submitted during Week 13)

Visiting Chinatown and “Beijing Dumplings”

I tried churros for the first time in the Greenwich market! Cassy, Simone, and I had been planning to go to this market as we started to approach the end of the semester. As I mentioned before, I love to try new foods and this market was a great opportunity for that. My favorite food was from the Greek stand. The people there were so friendly and the makers of all of the jewelry and other products were so talented. I want to try to find a market like this one back in America! (Submitted during Week 14)

Our time at CAPA is drawing to a close and this will be my last blog post. As many people know, this is the famous Elizabeth Clock that houses the beautiful tones of Big Ben. On this day, Cassy, Simone, and I decided to explore more areas of London in Westminster. While there, we decided to get some lunch at half past 1 pm as a final get-together before we go back to our home towns. Cassy and Simone were kind enough to let me stay until 2 pm to hear the iconic sound of Big Ben. I was so excited to be quite literally hearing history. My time at CAPA has helped me build friendships I expect to last a lifetime as well as ignite my interest in exploring other cultures in many different areas of the world. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity to study abroad in London. (Submitted during Week 15)

Last goodbyes to Big Ben and London

Transcontinental Travels through Europe

Submitted by Sierra Crisp on the 2023 spring semester program in Limerick, Ireland…

A street view of Amsterdam in the Netherlands

Week 8 was amazing. I went to Amsterdam and had a blast. It’s so nice to be so close to such a awesome areas. Amsterdam is truly an amazing city and I wouldn’t have been able to see it without this opportunity. I went on a canal ride, toured the city, and even went to a cheese museum. I’m so psyched to visit more areas in Europe and expand my world view. (Submitted on March 15, 2023)

This week was Saint Patrick’s Day!!! It was great fun. We went to the parade in Cork and went to a St Patrick’s Day festival with acrobatics and sweets. It was an amazing time. Full of Craic. I went with new friends I made from Ireland and people from UDEL. (Submitted during March 20, 2023)

Week 10 was a really great one! It was my girlfriends birthday and we had a great time celebrating. We went to Dublin and went roller skating with friends. It was truly a great time and we had loads of fun. Ireland has been amazing!! (Submitted during Week 10)

Week 11 has been amazing. On Tuesday we went on the beginning of a weeklong trip to Greece and Ireland. Studying abroad in Ireland gives us the opportunity to see new sites and explore countries we never thought possible. Greece has been utterly amazing. We went to an Island called Corfu and are currently in Athens. Athens is an amazing city with loads of culture and Beauty. (Submitted during Week 11)

Visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Week 12 has been awesome! We’ve left Greece and are now in Italy. Our plan is to go from Rome to Venice to Milan and then fly out back to Ireland. Rome is amazing! We’ve seen the Colosseum and Hadrians temple. Such an amazing time in an amazing city. (Submitted on April 5, 2023)

Sadly this week has probably been one of the most stressful weeks at UL. There’s so much assignments coming up, and it’s getting to a point where I really just want to be done. I’m afraid of grades, as I don’t understand UL’s grading system. And more then anything I want to just relax on a beach and enjoy the rest of my time here. But this is school, not a vacation so I’ll tough it out and hopefully everything will be okay. (Submitted on April 22, 2023)

Arriving in Limerick

Exploring Dublin

Submitted by Sierra Crisp on the 2023 spring semester program in Limerick, Ireland…

This marks week 1 of my study abroad journey. So far I’m really loving Ireland. There is so much to see and do. The campus is incredibly beautiful and is full of natural beauty. It is surrounded by nature and the buildings are a true work of architecture. My favorite place so far has been the grass pasture right beside my dorm. It’s a place that holds many activities and there is always a nice face lounging about. (Submitted on January 20, 2023)

Week 2 of my study abroad experience was even better than the first. I’m getting more comfortable at the University of Limerick. I’ve made more friends and now know my way around campus. Classes are hard, however the teachers are extremely talented and I feel like I’m learning a ton. This week I went on a trip to Blarney Castle and visited a beautiful cathedral in Cork. It was loads of fun, and I can’t wait to go back!! (Submitted on January 31, 2023)

I’m really enjoying Ireland! We went on our first weekend trip and that really was a stunner. Dublin was really a place to be. We did so many things from go on a bus tour to checking out museums and markets. I went with a great group of friends that I’ve met who all live across the globe! It’s nice to meet so many people of different paths. (Submitted during Week 3)

This week may have been the best yet. I got to try out a whole new sport that I’ve never even heard of called Wind Surfing. Which is basically a fusion of many types of water sports. It was challenging and quite scary at first but soon I conquered my fear. Through this I learned how to persevere. It was loads of fun and I can’t wait to go on the water sometime again. (Submitted on February 12, 2023)

This week was a pretty uneventful week. It’s been a great time, but I’m starting to feel a bit homesick. Despite this, I realize that there are so many more exciting things to come. Me and my friend are planning a trip to Greece during spring break! It’s amazing to get a time to travel and explore Europe. I’ve never been outside the country until now, and now I’m going across the globe! (Submitted on February 28, 2023)

The Uni Limerick Aquatic Center, which is used for windsurfing!

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations!

Submitted by Audrey Berry on the 2023 spring semester program in Limerick, Ireland…

Coffee and flowers in Limerick City

Not much happened this week in particular. Although, the school was certainly very busy! This week was something known as RAG week – this is a week where students participate in a selfless activity that helps the community. However, it also means you skip your classes and go out and party! It was definitely a new experience for me. A lot of the clubs in the city had a theme each night to entice students to attend. Personally,  I chose to relax more this week although I did participate on Tuesday. I also went to the little market in town on Saturday. The daffodils are in bloom and they had a wonderful bouquet! I also got a nice coffee and some kebabs- I would’ve never guessed kebabs would be so popular in Ireland! Next week we are going to Amsterdam! I am so excited and cannot wait to update. (Submitted during Week 7)

This last week was absolutely fantastic! My girlfriend and I took a trip to Amsterdam over the weekend! Oh my goodness, it was one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to – the architecture is a mixture of modern and royal and the people are consistently kind despite the high number of tourists. We also got to experience the range of weather (sun, rain, and snow), which is expected in early March. We stayed in a little hotel room in the center of the city, and it surprised me how inexpensive it was for it being so close. We experienced many things; a boat ride, an interactive light show, the cheese museum, etc. But the most shocking part was definitely the red light district – I see why it’s internationally known, definitely…. unusual. Overall, this was a lovely trip and I sincerely hope to visit again. (Submitted during Week 8)

This week was Saint Patrick’s day, and being in Ireland it was certainly a big deal. On the day itself me and my friends went to cork city. We saw a parade and went to a festival! I was surprised at how many things didn’t occur on the day itself but rather the next day, which unfortunately we did not realize until we got to Cork. That was okay though because the next day we went to Limerick City and had a ball! We went to a festival, rode on a ferris wheel, and then went out that night. I was speaking to an Irish person and apparently, this holiday is far more important for foreigners than for the Irish themselves! Who would’ve guessed? (Submitted during Week 9)

Limerick City Market

Living and Learning Swedish Culture

Submitted by Alison Giffen on the 2023 DIS spring semester program in Stockholm, Sweden …

Visiting sustainable communities in Stockholm

This week classes are back to normal! I figured I would use this week’s blog post to talk about the unique opportunity DIS gives us each Wednesday. Every Wednesday we don’t have standard classes, instead we go on field studies to foster learning outside the classroom. The main principle behind this idea is applying what we are learning in the classroom to real life scenarios. This Wednesday, my neurodegenerative diseases class went on our first field study to a neurology clinic. At the clinic we got to meet a patient with Parkinson’s Disease. Additionally, we got to watch a full clinical examination of both the patient’s symptoms and mental health status. It was really cool to see what we have been learning about in class done in real life. Not only did we learn more about Parkinson’s but the patient we met with also asked us questions. It was a really unique opportunity for both parties to learn more about a currently incurable disease. Unfortunately we could not take pictures in the clinic for confidentiality, so I included pictures from a field study I went on a few weeks ago with my Swedish Language and Culture class. We visited the Royal Seaport which is a suburb community that has a focus on sustainability and building affordable housing without sacrificing the environment. (Submitted during Week 5)

This past week consisted of one of the biggest Swedish traditions: Semla day! This year it was on February 21st, but that can change each year as the day, Fat Tuesday, is more important than the date. Semla day, or Semmeldagen as they say in Swedish, is when you eat as many semlas throughout the day as you can and then you “give them up for lent.” Semla is a bun that has cream and almond paste in the middle. For my Semmeldagen, I went to a cafe called Vette Katten with two of my friends from my floor, Skylar and Carter. I found out that I do not share the same love for semlas as most here in Sweden do, but I was still really proud to take part in this Swedish tradition. Later that night, my floor did a group potluck where we all brought different foods to share for dinner. I, of course, made pasta. It was really nice to be able to sit down with everyone and catch up, as it feels like everyone is always super busy. And you guessed it, the desserts brought were semlas! Overally, my first Semmeldagen was one to remember. (Submitted during Week 6)

Celebrating Semmeldagen with semlas!

Week 07 came with a very rare surprise in Stockholm: the Northern Lights! Normally in order to see the Northern Lights you have to travel to Swedish Lappland, which is much farther North than Stockholm. However, when the weather is just right, the lights can be seen from Stockholm! This past Monday the sky was super clear and so I went with some friends to one of the highest points in Stockholm, Skinnarviksberget, which also only happens to be a 10 minute walk from my building! We all got bundled up and headed out around 10 because the weather report said they should be visible from 10 to 11 o’clock. We brought towels to sit on and we all watched and waited to see if we could see the lights. The Northern Lights decided to come and show off in Stockholm and it was super cool to see. They definitely weren’t as good as the lights you see in pictures from Iceland or anywhere else in the Arctic Circle but they were enough to be able to see the green hinge in the sky. We all stayed a while and watched the lights dance across the sky. It was definitely the highlight of my week. (Submitted during Week 7)