I have met a lot of people so far, mostly other international students and Swedes from out of town since the local students don't really need to attend orientation. I've met one other American and a Canadian so far. Most of the other students are from various parts of Europe, especially Germany.
On Thursday a bunch of us went to the cafeteria on campus for lunch. I ended up getting some kind of pea soup and pancakes with jam. Apparently this is a traditional Swedish dish often served on Thursdays. It was not anything I would normally expect to find in a cafeteria but it wasn't bad at all. The day ended with our group going around to the restaurants/pubs at different student clubs(called nations here) and me discovering my love for pear cider.
The concept of nations is a little strange to explain. The groups represent all of the different regions in Sweden and students from Sweden have to join the nation aligned with the area they come from. International students, however, get to pick which nation they want to join since they don't come from a particular part of Sweden. I think they're a little bit like fraternities are at home, but the same stigmas don't apply here that may apply to some American frats. They are also not gender-specific. These are social groups that supply students with things to do outside of studying and most of them also have pubs/clubs to host parties in. The nations are mostly pretty similar to each other so there isn't a lot of pressure in picking the perfect one. The nation I joined, V-Dala, has a lot of exchange students due to it having an international committee which plans their events during the year. They also have a restaurant on their rooftop and a huge library for members to use. There is also a possibility that I could get a part-time job in their restaurant or work in their library for a little extra money. It's definitely an interesting setup they have going on here.
Now to nerd out a bit about the food, because that's what I do. On to the subject of my post. Amerikansk is the word the Swedes use to describe anything with American characteristics. I think. Anyway, I keep running into this in the grocery stores and was wondering about it. It's a mixture of ketchup and mayo and it's what Americans put on their burgers. Right?
There was also this nearby:
Friday was an off day for me. I was kind of lethargic and not feeling great so I was in my room a lot trying to sleep off the remaining effects of jet lag. I think I am over it now for the most part, hopefully.
Yesterday we went on a tour of the city and I got more pictures of the scenery and various historical buildings.
I bought a sandwich and had lunch by myself by the river and threw bread at the birds there. It was relaxing. I met one of the locals later when I was sitting down to look at my city map and he asked if I was new to the area. It was nice talking to someone who was familiar with the town. I met his wife and daughter and their adorable puppy, plus a friend of his who used to teach at the university before moving to Luxembourg. I was encouraged to go visit the old part of town and see the viking burial mounds there. They also kindly directed me to the correct bus to go find my friends.
Afterward I met the group of exchange students to a lake south of campus and hung around there because it was so nice outside. It was only 75 degrees F out and windy but a lot of the girls were in bikinis! I would have been so cold.
Later that night a lot of us visited Vastgota nation because they were supposed to have live music later. I was underwhelmed by the performances (a soundboard and a vocalist do not a band make) but I ended up meeting a lot of people and having a good time.
Today was my first trip to the IKEA here! I went with a couple of other exchange students. It was great to go get inexpensive stuff to make my apartment seem a little more like home. I also got a really cheap lunch (by Swedish standards) including one of their delicious cinnamon buns and some hot tea. Today was a lot colder so the tea was nice to have. Next to the IKEA was the Swedish equivalent of a Wal-mart, I think, called Co-op. Hoping to head back there soon for cheap groceries. I also met 2 of my floormates today and got the kitchen rules explained to me. Classes start at 1:35 tomorrow. I hope I can figure out which classroom to go to! More escapades coming soon.