10 things I have learnt about Sweden in one month

Hi, my name is Celine and I'm an exchange student from Australia. Since coming to Sweden a month ago I have tried many typically Swedish things such as orienteering, skiing and Kalles caviar. But my favorite thing I've done so far would have to be jumping into a frozen lake with my host sisters! It was absolutely freezing, but so freezing you can't even feel it! Don't worry, if you're lucky enough there will be a hot sauna you can run straight back into afterwards.

If you're coming to Sweden, I highly recommend you give it a go, and embrace the cold climate because you can have so much fun with it! Here are 10 things I have learnt about Sweden in one month:

1. Swedes love to eat smoky fishy spread known as Kalles Kaviar on their sandwiches. They will be impressed if you enjoy it too!

2. Getting nude is neither strange or embarrassing. Going to a sauna or having a shower at the gym? No problem! Just strip off and be comfortable, because Swedes sure are. Don't worry, no one will look at you funny if you're embarrassed and cover up a little. But seriously, there is no need to be insecure - I soon learned!

3. "Fika" is not just a simple cup of coffee and a bite to eat. It is a social gathering, big or small, and it can last hours! Fika food is AMAZING.

4. "Lördagsgodis" or "Saturday candy" is the highlight of the week for many Swedish children. On this day you can go all out and choose from a huge selection of delicious lollies.

5. The Swedish school system is very laid back. You call the teachers by their first name and aren't punished if you don't complete your work, which leads to number 7....

6. Swedish teenagers are generally given a lot of freedom and have a lot of trust placed in them. Harsh discipline isn't needed because they have a natural respect for their responsibilities and elders.

7. The cold climate isn't something to dread. You can have so much fun with it! You can go skiing, skating, build snowmen with your host siblings or, if you're crazy enough, you can even jump into a frozen lake like I did!

8. Swedes are very stylish and pride themselves on their appearance. Don't be intimidated by their trendiness!

9. You will learn a LOT about your own country that you didn't even know were typical of that place. You will notice small things each day and it will open up your eyes to how unique Sweden is, and how unique your country is too.

10. Swedes aren't typically outgoing so you may find it hard to make friends at first. Don't be disheartened or feel stupid; it's just in their nature! But once you get to know a Swede, they are very loyal and make wonderful friends. If you are looking to gain independence and find out who you are, then SWEDEN IS THE COUNTRY FOR YOU!