As an international student attending a Swedish university, you may wonder what kind of experiences you will have during your stay here- will it be loaded with niche Swedish experiences, or will it be sprinkled with other cultural experiences as well? During my stay here as a Biomedicine student in a class with intelligent and diverse colleagues, I was very privileged to experience bite-sized portions of cultures and nationalities from around the world. So with this blog, I wanted to show you that attending a Global programme here at KI does not just mean world-class education, but also a glimpse into some worldly cultures!
I do know that the concept of “International Dinners” is popular with many programmes here at KI, I just don’t know if any programme has hosted such dinners more than once or twice. Our MSc. Biomedicine class has hosted a grand total of 3 international dinners. That’s thrice the fun, and thrice the amount of great food. For an international dinner, as the name suggests, you essentially cook dishes that are representative of the country you are from- it can be sweet, savoury, whatever you want! If there are multiple people from the same country, you can all cook a dish together as well! Since we have held quite a few dinners over the span of just 6 months, we have not only reached a food-induced coma together, but these dinners have also brought us closer together as a class.
This may or may not come as a surprise, but I am not the only Indian student in my class. There are altogether 5 of us and we decided to celebrate Diwali together with- well, whoever wanted to join the fun! For those who don’t know- Diwali is one of India’s biggest festivals. Known as the Festival of Lights, it is a religious celebration involving good food, prayers, gifts, partying and…lights. We celebrated Diwali here and had a “potluck”, where everyone had to cook something (did not have to be Indian food). The Indians at the celebration had on their lovely traditional clothes, and some of my non-Indian friends even borrowed extra traditional tops from us (they may or may not have looked better than us) for the evening. It was a night filled with great food (this is going to be a continuing trend), good music, and even some dancing. Whatever homesickness I felt while being away on Diwali simply vanished.
Lunar New Year celebrations
This was one of the first celebrations that we took part in when 2023 started, after everyone had returned from Christmas break. Our Chinese friends organised a Lunar New Year dinner and went all out with the preparations. Celebrated by millions across the globe, Lunar New Year essentially marks the beginning of the lunar calendar or the lunisolar calendar. We all dressed up in red (or tried our best to) and mostly spent the entire evening marveling at the sheer efforts that were put into the dinner. Our friends prepared a menu for us. With multiple dishes that took over a week to prepare. Sometimes, I daydream about that food.
Recently, a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, which resulted in an unfortunate loss of life and a lot of damage. To contribute and help in whatever little way we could, our Turkish friend suggested we go to a Turkish restaurant here in Stockholm for dinner. This restaurant she picked was donating its profits to aid relief efforts in Turkey. We showed up for dinner and not only was the food great, but the staff was also extremely warm and gave great recommendations. At the end of the day, we were grateful for the opportunity to help- even if just a little bit.
Lastly, and most recently, we had a “Korean night”, where we made the famous dish- Bibimbap. After class, we headed to the nearest grocery store and bought all the ingredients we’d need, along with some snacks to munch on while cooking. We cooked together at “The Spot” in KI’s Solna Residence and enjoyed some delicious bibimbap after a day of class. We ended the night with some interesting conversations and table tennis (and a few meme-worthy whatsapp stickers).
I am fully aware of the fact that most of these “experiences” revolve heavily around food. However, I do think that one of the best ways to “explore” a culture is to eat the food associated with it. The conversations that flow across the table when good food meets good company are unforgettable. These conversations are also highly capable of producing bizarre ideas and experiences. Allow me to demonstrate:
Moving to a new country can be a daunting experience, but if you find the right people, it doesn’t have to be the case all the time. If you enroll in a Global programme at KI, chances are that you will be exposed to a lot of Swedish concepts and experiences. It does not have to be limited to just that though. As interesting as the Swedish way of life is, you can most certainly catch a sneak-peak into so many different cultures and nationalities during your time here. So make the most of it! I hope you found this blog helpful, and as usual- if you have any questions, you know where to find me.
My name is Naomi, and I am from India. I am a master’s student in Biomedicine. I have always been drawn towards research and knew early on that a career built around it was the one for me. So as a result, here I am! I enjoy spending time with my friends and exploring the city with them (though the introvert in me also loves some alone time). I hope I can be of some help with my blogs!