Last Sunday I got back to Reims after spending time in Scandinavia for spring break. It was truly one of the best spring breaks of my life! Well, I am not quite sure if the word “spring” applies that much to my break since we experienced snowfall and low temperatures every day. But in fact, that was exactly what I was expecting and hoping for!
Our first stop was Copenhagen. What a beautiful and magic city! The sun was shining bright all day so it was perfect to just walk around town and see what the city had to offer. I thought the Danish people were incredibly polite and eager to help, an interesting fact since I had always heard people from colder regions tended to act more distant, which was not the case at all. We got lost a few times and every single person we asked for help took their time to assist us and made sure we understood what they said (the same reception doesn’t happen in Paris, I might add). We stayed there for a couple of days, but if I could go back I would have stayed more days since it was one of my favorite cities from this Scandinavia tour.
Next, we were off to Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden. Stockholm was lovely! Such a big and cosmopolitan city for Scandinavian standards. The weather was also beautiful and sunny, so we were lucky! I didn’t have as much time to enjoy the city as I wanted since I realized I had a lot of things happening in school after coming back from the break, so I had to divide my days in half and set my priorities straight. The first part of the day I would be studying and during the second part, I would be meeting up with my friends in the city and exploring around. For me it was fine though since I don’t have a lot of patience to walk around all day 😛 I enjoyed staying in, catching up on my readings, and relaxing a bit too.
Apparently meatballs are the national dish in Sweden, so we had to try them out! I must say I was not feeling that excited about it since at the end of the day, meatballs are not that exotic and I was expecting something a little more different to try. After I tried them, I understood why they are so popular. They were delightful. So tender, juicy, and flavorful! Unlikely any other meatballs I’ve ever tasted in my life.
In Gothenburg, we didn’t do much. It was raining all the time. So I spent the couple of the days we were there just focusing on my school assignments and watching some Swedish tv shows during the nighttime. I thought it was great to just stay in and unwind for a day or two! I am such a homebody at times… Don’t judge.
Finally, we headed to Oslo for the last four days of our spring break. Oslo was by far my favorite place. Everything was perfect. People were beyond friendly, the city itself is clean and modern. The architecture is beautiful (the buildings actually reminded me a little bit of Paris). The overall landscape is amazing. It is a smaller city so there is a lot you can do by foot. I also loved to see the Scandinavian people minimalist style. Luckily, we were able to see lots of snow as well during the days we spent there. It was such a happy moment for me and my friend since we were seeing snow for the first time ☺ Our days consisted of more walking around and exploring. We visited some shopping galleries, parks, and some museums. Oslo is also really expensive. Prior to going there, I had heard it was expensive, but it was much more than I had imagined! But it was really worth it… If I could choose only one city to come back, it would have to be Oslo. Every single aspect of this city was amazing. I just wish the sky was a little clearer so we could have gone to see the fjord in all its splendor!
Needless to say, everybody (I said everybody!) speaks English in Scandinavia: from the guy who works at the gas station, to every single waiter or waitress, and even the pizza delivery person. I was aware of that beforehand, but that still surprised me because in France it is a struggle to find an English speaking person in the streets like that.
Now coming back to my reality at Sciences Po this week:
Monday – test
Tuesday – oral presentation
Wednesday – test
Thursday – oral presentation
Friday – day off (thank goodness!)
Saturday – midterm exams
I had so much to prepare for this week, in addition to attending and preparing for the other classes and discussions. Even though sometimes it feels like the workload and expectations are more challenging than I can handle, it is such a great feeling to overcome these obstacles and feel a 100% capable in the end after seeing the positive results!
After being here for the third month already, I can say this with certainty: I am having the time of my life and I am glad I faced my hesitations and embarked on this journey ☺ I wouldn’t have it any other way.