The ultimate guide to the most important things you should know

Do not forget the swedish cinnamon bun - which has its own day on October 4th. Foto: Johan Olsson
A warm welcome to Sweden, Karlstad and to Karlstads University! Going abroad for one semester is both a new and exciting chapter in your life. Coming to Sweden there are problably a number of things that can seem to be quite odd for you as a exchange student at the very first sight. But do not be scared! Those things you will get used to during your stay here in Karlstad and in Sweden.

In this number, Karlstads studenttidning has compiled a list of a few – but very important – things that you as an international student need to know.

1. Waiting for the bus
Waiting for the bus is something that many people in the world do not see as neither a problem or as a system. But here in Sweden, it is a very important important thing – the guide to bee a good fellow traveler is to follow a couple of, seemingly, small things but oh so important. Do not stand to close to a person you do not know. This is a rule that do not only applies as you wait for the bus. It also applies on the bus. Very important. If there is a free seat beside someone, you just do not choose the seat next to another person. You just do not.

2. Fika
In Sweden they love, what they call, Fika. If someone of your new swedish friends as you to join a fika – do not be afraid! It means that you are going to hang out while drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade with a piece of cake or a bun, especially the cinnamon bun. If you are curious for the swedish fika, just google it or search for Swedish fika by Go Royal on Youtube. It is amazing. Especially when it nearing christmas and everything either tastes cinnamon or has a temporary name with something like “Christmas cake”.

3. Alcohol
The swedes can seem to be quite shy. But do not be surprised if a person who never had said hi to you before, suddenly is your new best friend. The swedes might be shy sober but damn, we are fun after shots. Remember that go to a club also requires you to show your identification card and that there in all probability there will be chaos in the closet where you leave your outerwear.

4. Where to buy alcohol
You thought that you can buy alcohol in every shop? Oh no. It is not a joke. In Sweden you can not buy alcohol in any shop 24/7. In Sweden there is one place, and one place only, that sells alcohol and that place is called Systembolaget. Remember that this store, owned by the state, has its own special opening hours. During weekdays it can all of a sudden be closed, even though it is a thursday. Those days, marked as red ones in the calendar, it is always closed. On saturdays the shop closes early and on sundays, the Systembolaget is always closed. To buy something as Systembolaget you must be 20 years or older. So for the love of god: do not forget to buy drinks before closing time. To summarize: in Sweden it is important to absolutely have a plan for your party in advance.

5. The calendar full of food
In Sweden we take very seriously on food and have the attitude that special dishes will be celebrated on different days of the year. In the swedish calendar, there is special days where to eat specifik food. So do not act surprised if your feed on Instagram get occupied by pictures of cinnamon buns on October 4th, Mudcake on November 7th, gingerbreads on December 9th or saffron bun on December 13th. (If you want to know more about this, take a look here: https://www.norrmejerier.se/goda–recept/arets–matdagar)

6. Snaps
Apparently the swedes is lacking a good imagination. Every single holiday we are eating herring with potatoes and to this we drink the swedish snaps. The snaps is an alcoholic drink that you buy at Systembolaget (of course). Do not forget to learn to sing the song ”Helan går” before you take a sip.

7. The friendly swedes
Last but not least. The swedes are very friendly once you get to know them. And even if you forget about these rules, you will still have an amazing time during your time in Sweden. Enjoy your time here and do not forget to take a Fika once in a while.

This is a news article. Read more about the journalistic work in Karlstads studenttidning here.