My name is Aleksandra and I come from Poland. I am studying Architecture and Planning Beyond Sustainability at Chalmers, which I chose because it’s a unique programme which combines both architectural design and social and environmental approach towards design. As I am a citizen of a European Union country, I did not have a guaranteed place in a dorm (as students who pay tuition fee and scholarship students do) and I had to look for accommodation on my own when I came to Sweden. The most popular, and I think that the most effective way is to respond to offers placed on such sites as Blocket or Boplats, these are websites which include house- and room listings. After two weeks of intensive searching, I found accommodation together with a Swedish family through a Boplats advertisement. From the very beginning, I knew that I would like to live together with a family to get a quick lesson of Swedish culture, but how they welcomed me exceeded all my expectations!
Have you heard that the Swedes are a little bit cold and distant? Nothing could be more wrong! It's normal that while trying something new you are nervous and think “how it will be?”. But this feeling disappeared as soon as I met my landlord. After arriving at the Landvetter airport outside of Gothenburg, my future landlord welcomed me warmly, and not only did he pick me up from the airport, he invited me for lunch and showed me the city, telling me about all the interesting places in the neighbourhood. Everything from a Swedish and local’s perspective. This start gave me a lot of confidence and everything that was foreign quickly become familiar.
My landlord’s family was also very welcoming. His wife and two sons welcomed me to their place with Swedish
dinner and showed me how all the stuff works in the building. Thanks to them, I could also get to know a bit more about Swedish customs and holidays. One of such moments was baking traditional buns for Saint Lucia, called Lussekatter (I will not mention how many of them I ate)! My landlord’s wife showed me a book from which she is taking all her Swedish recipes. There is nothing like getting to know the first-hand recipe for original rolls! Also, Lussekatter can be folded in many different ways, so it was fun to watch how fast and skilled she was at it. Another thing which I had the opportunity to eat quite often was the chocolate cake Kladdkaka, which was the favourite cake of one of the landlord’s sons… It was hard for me to refuse when he was offering me a piece of this delicious cake nearly every Sunday…
I also had the unique opportunity to see how much the Swedes love to watch the Nobel gala and Melodifestivalen, which is one of the biggest events in the Swedish show business. I could also see how Swedes like to spend time - in one of my first weeks in Sweden, I went with the family for a walk to a nearby reserve. Active recreation lies in the nature of the Swedes!
I have got to know Swedes as great hosts, honest and helpful people who allowed me to quickly settle into a new country. And you know what? I could not imagine a better welcome and a way to get to know the Swedish culture.