Staying with a Swedish Host Family
When staying with a host family, you will gain a true insight into the Swedish culture. It is the best way to become fluent in the Swedish language as well as experiencing the everyday life of the Swedes. Swedish families may be a bit more withdrawn than what families in, for instance, the more southern parts of Europe generally are, which you probably will notice on the family gatherings. Feel free to take a lot of initiatives and start conversations yourself, both at home and in school – that will definitely take you far. Once you get to know the Swedes, you can count on them being loyal and good friends.
Midsummer & Crayfish Parties
The big holiday’s in Sweden are not very unique for the country. The biggest one is Christmas, which you will get the chance to celebrate on December 24th, followed by Easter, as in many other places around the world. Something that is a bit more characteristic to Sweden is the Midsummer celebrations in June as well as the crayfish season, that usually takes place from late July – September. Then so-called “kräftskivor” are arranged, where you decorate the room with crayfish garnishment, wear funny hats, sing songs, and eat crayfish. This a cute and interesting little celebration, which you definitely will enjoy, whether you like seafood or not.
The Swedish Food Culture
Typical Swedish dishes are, for instance, meatballs with potato, sauce, and lingonberry jam, Swedish hash with pickled beetroot, as well as potato griddle cake. The vegetarian culture has grown relatively strong in Sweden the last couple of years, and most of the Swedish high schools include one vegetarian option in the school’s cafeteria. There are also usually many vegetarian options in cafés and restaurants as well, especially in the larger cities. As an exchange student in Sweden, you will most likely be approached to the typical Swedish dishes at home by your host family and in school, but when having food outside you will notice that the international food culture, with dishes from countries such as Japan, Italy, Mexico, Thailand, and the Middle East.