It was almost 8 months ago now since I took that brave step onto the plane. COVID-19 would not be declared a pandemic for a while yet, so the only nerves around were if I was going to ‘fit in’ or enjoy myself. I had put a lot of work into getting this far that had exhausted me mentally and physically, so a lot of expectation obviously built in regards to wanting a fabulous lifetime experience. The thought of this filled me with excitement and nerves all at the same time for my months studying abroad in Sweden. I was there much longer than planned but I have been back in the UK for almost a week now and I wanted to update you with what is happening for me.
I am now self-isolating in my university accommodation because of travellers quarantine. It has been a strange week from having a fantastic summer filled with freedom in Sweden to being ‘locked inside’ for two weeks. I suppose it is not ideal but I guess that is the price I paid for not returning before stricter travel rules were applied. To be even more honest though and what may appear strange to many is, that I am pretty much fine with this isolation period.
YES! You must think I am extremely peculiar. But after such a busy and tiring yet enjoyable summer, even the best of us need a little time to recharge. This is just natural and healthy. I was flying from Denmark but of course, the majority of my time was spent in Sweden so that is the reason why I have to isolate. I had the most wonderful and unforgettable experience, but, now it is time to get back to and readjust to my life back home in England.
As you probably know already, I was living in Sweden to study abroad since I am a university student. I believe this is generally something that is offered in the second year of your studies, so now I have a busy third and final year ahead of me. I do not think studying in the middle of a pandemic is ideal. I am worried about readjusting to a greater workload and probably a lot more face-to-face interaction than I had in the spring. We are in a period of uncertainty and it seems like I continue to face struggles, but I am determined to persevere in the face of adversity and finish my degree.
Six months ago yesterday I took only my second ever journey outside of the UK. I had flown to Copenhagen, for my semester abroad in Malmö, Sweden. My semester has long finished but surprisingly I am still there. My summer is not how I envisioned it, but that does not have to be a bad thing. Different is sometimes good. But what have I been doing?
January – I arrived halfway into January thankfully so I think I missed the worst part of the dark Swedish winter. I was greeted with a blue sky and sun for the first few days, which was apparently a shock. During this time I was filled with excitement for my classes and meeting new people. The time I think I felt an unexpected culture shock, but I would like to think I adapted quickly enough.
February – The month of sightseeing in my case. It was cold but that does not stop Swedes from being outside. I visited many parks and football games. I kind of regret this time slightly due to the pandemic. I was exploring my own city whilst I was still getting to know my surroundings. I wish I had explored more as the upcoming two months or so meant I had not much to do. Around the time the pandemic really started to kick in was when I was planning to start travelling. I did manage to catch Malmö vs Wolfsburg in the Europa League though. That was cool. Despite the 3 nil loss for Malmö.
March – The month everything changed so drastically. I was petrified of the skiing trip but I ended up loving it. It became an important part of my semester abroad, especially as it was a turning point. It finished a day early due to corona kicking in. It was a tiring week, but by the end of it and for many weeks after, I simply did not want it to end. An unforgettable experience in Tänndalen.
April – The new beginning? My new course of ‘Outdoor Pedagogy’ had begun and despite the pandemic, thanks to our small class size we were able to still hold a few outdoor classes. I was able to spend time in parks I had been before, but also experience new places such as Skrylle near Dalby. These lessons were valuable to my sanity at the time, as I was not getting out much. I have never been so grateful to have a class in my life, and I do not think I ever will.
May – Not too dissimilar to April really. The odd class here or there and lots of cold/tolerable days at the beach. The sights were beautiful when the days were blue and sunny. I was focused on finishing my studies with work due early June.
June – Officially the start of my summer holidays. In the picture to the left is Dalby Stenbrott (Quarry) where I had my first proper swim in Swedish waters. It was cloudy and FREEZING, with no saunas insight. But it was beautiful and I was glad I finally did it. Since I have swum in much warmer conditions at various beaches in and around Helsingborg. Lots of adventures had in Skåne this month, most notably relaxing at beaches.
July (So far…) – The adventures are only just beginning. I recently bought this summer card that gives free entry to certain places and discounts to others. It has already paid for itself in two visits to some lovely Botanical gardens. There is so much nature in which I intend to explore more.
I hope I have many more fascinating stories to tell you and I hope even more that you will continue this journey in reading along with me.