Life as an exchange student

Ambassador Louise comes to Stockholm from France, and currently is doing her exchange semester here.

What's up with the bananas?

     To say that I don’t like bananas is quite an understatement, so I must admit that I quickly developed an obsession about it when I arrived here, in Stockholm and realized that everyone eats bananas, everywhere and all the time. 

“It is so healthy!” they said, but I am quite healthy too! I love walking around in town and finding a lovely place in a unique moment like this one, near Östermalmstorg.

     I also discover the concept of Fika, and I am practically sure now that I ate my weight in cakes and biscuits now… But hey I walk a lot every day! Fika places are so cute here that I almost prefer the place in itself to what they actually propose. You take a book, or an assignment to do, since most coffee places have wifi (yeah!) and you just spend the afternoon chilling in with a cup of coffee (or tea for me)… And then someone sits next to you and eats a banana of course.

Staying from everything and everyone you have known most of your life will probably be one of the most experience you have ever made because then, by being by yourself, you find out actually who you really are. You experiment and do stuff you would not have done back home. That’s why I decided to get a tattoo in a great place, the DaVinci Tattoo Studio, at the East of Södermalm, next to a great restaurant of ramen, Ai Ramen. And I will be honest: it really hurts! But then, after a peeling phase where I felt like a snake, I got my brand new tattoo and now I know that my Erasmus semester will be rooted in me forever, or well, until I die.

Lake near student campus Lappis

Lake near student campus Lappis

     Besides the Lapland Trip that I unfortunately missed, I did everything expected from an exchange student in Stockholm: I fell three times a day because of the snow, got excited by snow and now am extremely tired of it, enjoyed the sunset at the lake of Lappis, found my favorite museum so far (Fotografiska!) and signed up for the gym after too many fikas…


I also took advantage of being in Stockholm to travel; I went to Copenhagen (by night bus) and if you plan to go there, you have to go to the street food market!




I also did the boat cruise to Tallinn and I must admit that I felt a bit like in the movie shining with this loooooong corridor. Tallinn has an old city part really interesting, so is Riga, you have plenty of choice then!


Then there is Gotebörg, my favorite trip so far (except for when my friend ate a banana in the train and it smelled for four hours), and not only because of the pub crawl we did in the evening! Haga was what I liked the most, with the brunch we took in the morning.

But then, it is also important to talk about the less nice part of an exchange program, be it for a year or a semester. Sometimes you feel homesick and it is normal, you miss your family, maybe boyfriend/girlfriend and you catch yourself wishing that time pass faster, especially with this weather. As I am writing right now, it is kind of snowing, and I know my family back home spent a day at the beach last week.

That’s why you have to focus on small simple pleasures that only Stockholm can offer you such as a sunny Sunday morning that makes you go out at 9:00 just to walk in Djügarden and enjoy the sun.

There is only one month left, so my big advice will be to (stop eating bananas please) enjoy at the maximum and to do everything you still haven’t done yet because you postponed until later. Enjoy Stockholm and even better, when you go home, try to stay the same, to keep the good habits you had here. Keep a bit of Stockholm with you, to truly enjoy life.