The End!

Next week marks the end of my semester in Stockholm. I’m in this weird place of not wanting to leave, but wanting to be back in my home. If I could give a few pieces of advice for the incoming DIS students it would be this: set your goals for your time abroad, spend time with the people in your program (some of the best people i’ve ever met), and most importantly, TRAVEL. It doesn’t even have to be anywhere crazy, your SL card can go farther than you think. I wish I had explored the Stockholm area more. It’s easy to find yourself going to the same spots, whether that be restaurants or parks, instead of spending the energy to find someplace new. Some other things I wish I did this past semester was visit the nearby market more, spend more time around DIS to hang out with others in the program and teachers, and ask more people in the program to go out to meals together or do something fun. 

I’m happy about the amount I traveled. I was able to visit both Norway and Denmark twice, and France, Spain, and Germany. Previous to studying abroad I had never left the country, and now I’ve been to seven. The amount of traveling I’ve done has completely changed my perspective and therefore, me. My travel skills, people skills, and presenting skills have skyrocketed since studying at DIS. I’m going to seriously miss my life here, especially my friends.

SSIF!


One of my favorite things that DIS has given us access to is SSIF, which is a pass to a plethora of workout classes. It was only 499 kronor for the entire semester (equivalent to 50 USD). I got my membership two months into the semester, but since then I have been obsessed. I’ve found myself going to multiple workout classes in a day; I enjoy them that much. Below I’ve written a list of all the classes I’ve been to and a brief description of them. I highly recommend checking them out. 

  1. Beginner Gymnastics 

This class had an extremely elaborate setup and instruction so good I find it hard to believe it was nearly free. It’s two hours long, and they take you through a warm up that consists of somersaults and stretching. They then bring out mats for people to work on different simple gymnastic skills, such as cartwheels and roundoffs. 

  1. Body Combat 

Body combat encourages bodyweight movements such as punching and kicking to train your entire body: arms, core and legs. It is high energy training that incorporates martial arts. I always found myself to be way more sore than I thought I was going to be after this class. 

  1. Thai Boxing 

I had never taken a boxing class before this, but always wanted to. Similar to body combat, it works martial arts into a workout. You need a partner for this class and practice kicking and punching into a pad and maneuvering around your sparring partner. 

  1. Yoga 

There are a bunch of different yoga classes with different instructors. Because we don’t have responsibilities every Wednesday, I got to go to the 8am one a couple times. This was a great way to start off the day, mostly by just getting me out of bed. I also highly recommend yoga on Thursday evenings with Gintare, she does an amazing job. 

  1. Body Pump 

This was by far the hardest class I’ve taken at SSIF. It uses consistent weights and includes lifts such as bench pressing and squats. Make sure to start the weight lower than you think you can do, there is a lot of repetition and it gets super intense. 

  1. Tone 

Tone is a Les Mills inspired class that incorporates strength, cardio, and core training. It’s a good all around workout class for all fitness levels. 

  1. Pilates 

This class will improve your strength and flexibility. It focuses on the technique and isn’t too complex for a newbie (like me) to learn. 

  1. Zumba 

I definitely had the most fun at zumba out of my classes at SSIF. The instructor, Pedro, does an incredible job at making sure everyone has a good time on the dance floor. 

  1. Sh’Bam 

Sh’Bam is like zumba but it only happens on mondays. It incorporates easy enough dance moves, and makes sure to stress that it is a completely judgment-free zone.

Stockholm Sites

After living in Stockholm for three months and exploring the area, I feel like I now have enough experience to make some recommendations. This blog is going to cover a few of my favorite Stockholm experiences. 

  1. Vasa Museum 

This was the first museum I went to in Stockholm, which makes sense considering it’s on pretty much every online “Sites to See in Stockholm” list. I do think it’s a must! It’s cool to look at the ship knowing that it sat on the bottom of the ocean for 333 years. It’s also funny to think that it sank IMMEDIATELY after it undocked. Kinda funny that one of the biggest museums in Stockholm is based off of a failed naval attempt. 

  1. ABBA Museum

I actually haven’t been to this museum yet, but all of my friends have and they absolutely rave about it. Considering ABBA is a Swedish band, this is definitely a site you have to hit. I’ve heard the museum is interactive and fun, as well as being educational. 

  1. AVICII Experience 

One of my friends got me into Avicii before I came to Stockholm, but going to this museum REALLY made me appreciate his music. It’s an interactive museum where you get to mix different levels of his songs with each other, and generally very well set up. 

  1. Gamla Stan 

Gamla Stan is my favorite place to go for a walk in Stockholm. The buildings are beautiful and there are plenty of fun shops to splurge at. You can walk past the Royal Palace and see the changing of the guards. 

  1. Archipelago tour 

When my brother visited Sweden I went with him and a group of his friends on a boat tour of the archipelago. This was a beautiful way to see the parts of Stockholm that the subway couldn’t take me to. It also made me realize that Stockholm is much bigger than I thought. 

  1. Fotografiska

Fotografiska is a breathtaking photography museum on the island of Sodermalm. They consistently change around their photo exhibitions, so feel free to visit more than once. 

  1. Skansen 

Skansen is the first open air museum and zoo in Sweden. I went here on a study tour with my Swedish Language and Culture class. A fun fact I learned was that all of Santa’s reindeer must have been female because male reindeer don’t have antlers in the winter. Funny. 

  1. Haga Park 

This park is a bit ways north of where I live, but completely worth the trip. Inside the park is the Haga Palace, where the crown princess Victoria and her family live. I went on a warm and sunny day and there were plenty of people lying around having a picnic or playing games. 

  1. Tyresta national park 

Tyresta national park is the only national park located in Stockholm that your SL card will take you to. I spent the night here with the Outdoor LLC hiking and camping. It’s beautiful and there are some great lookout spots. 

  1. SkyView over the Avicii Arena 

This last one I haven’t done yet, but I plan on doing it soon. SkyView will take you up and over the world’s largest spherical building, the Avicii Arena, to see an overhead view of Stockholm. 

There’s my 10 recommendations/must dos of Stockholm. Be sure to hit some if not all of them!

Core Course Week!

Last week, my BioMedical Engineering class went on our study trip to Copenhagen and Oslo! I had no idea what to expect from this trip. Besides our study tour to Linkoping earlier in the semester, I have never gone on an extended class trip where we relate the information we learn in class to its practical applications as seen in the industry. The purpose of study tours are to experience your field of study in the context of a new place and culture. To do this, DIS sets up several academic and cultural visits every day of the trip, so you can get a deeper understanding of your course as well as the area you are in.

We started off our trip to Copenhagen with a bike tour. Fun fact about Copenhagen, one third of all city travel is done on a bike. When crossing the street, I had to look out more for bikers than cars. They have extensive bike lanes, and run the traffic in a way to best accommodate bikers. There have been policy changes to how expensive it is to have a car to encourage people to ride instead of drive. Our first two academic visits in Copenhagen were both at FutureBox, which is a Danish incubator for innovative technology startups. The companies both dealt with neurodegenerative disorders, Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Zenzetech, the first startup, makes shoe inserts for people with Parkinsons that measures their gait and stability and is aiming to be used to monitor worsening or bettering of symptoms and judge when a patient should take their medicine. Optoceutics is a light therapy designed for Alzheimer’s treatment. The last startup we met with in Denmark was Corti, which is a company designed to use an interface to filter through emergency calls for key words and to immediately dispatch if those key words are heard. They’ve had good results with getting to emergencies faster, and therefore helping save lives.

Our second destination was Oslo, Norway. Upon arrival here we went on a walking tour to some of the key tourist attractions in Oslo. We hit the Opera House, the Akershus Fortress, and walked to a peak which had the most beautiful view of the city and fjords. Norway’s second biggest export is salmon, and because of this we had one dinner completely dedicated to the fish. And the name of the restaurant…. Salmon. Simple and straight to the point. Nearly all of their meals included salmon or at least some other fish that is prominent in the Norwegian region. At the end of our meal, they walked us through a little exhibit attached to the restaurant and showed us a short film on the filming industry in Norway. Some other highlights of the Oslo study tour for me were going on a run up the Oslo Opera House and taking a dip in the FREEZING fjord.

Overall, this study tour was my favorite academic related part of studying abroad. I got to see new places, create stronger relationships with my professors, and learn about bioengineering applications.

Travel Week 1

This past week was travel week one, and since my core course doesn’t have our second core course week until the next travel week I had the week to travel wherever I pleased with no work. Basically a mid semester break! My friends and I decided on Paris and Barcelona as our two destinations for the week. We left for Paris on friday. The fastest way to get to the airport from Stockholm is on the Arlanda Express located in the center city. It’s around 30 USD for a round trip to and from the airport and takes about a half hour. Our flight was quick and easy, and before I knew it I was in France, my fourth country ever! In both Barcelona and Paris we stayed in St. Christopher’s hostel. It’s pretty nice and if you book through their website you get a free buffet breakfast every morning. In Paris my three friends and I had our own room, and in Barcelona we were in a large room with twelve beds, which means sleeping with 8 strangers. Definitely something new to me, as I’ve never stayed in a hostel before. They give you crates to lock your baggage up in and you can buy locks at reception at most if not all hostels. It was certainly an experience, waking up and climbing out of a bunk in the presence of strangers. But I can’t say I’m not glad I did it. Okay now to get to the actual events of our trip…

We hit all the go-tos in paris. The Eiffel tower was our first hit. We went and spent around two hours just laying out on the lawn in front of it with a little picnic. I highly recommend spending some time here. The next day we saw the Pantheon and Notre Dame, both beautiful buildings. Our final visit was the Louvre, which I insisted on going inside to get a selfie with Mona Lisa.

That was it for Paris and the next day we took a train to Barcelona, which was around 6 hours. There wasn’t as much sightseeing to do in Barcelona as there was in Paris, but one important thing we saw was the La Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia is an absolutely beautiful basilica that has been being built since 1882. I mean it when I say that this Church was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and it makes sense the construction has been taking so long. As far as the next day in Barcelona goes, my friends and I just walked around and enjoyed the sun. The best part of that trip was definitely the beach nap. I honestly didn’t realize how much I missed the sun and warm weather until it was warm enough to walk around in a tank top.

That was it for my travels, and I’m now back in Stockholm. It’s weird how much Stockholm has started to feel like home. Until next time, hejdå.

Linkoping – Core Course Week One

Hej! Two weeks ago was core course week one, which is a week completely dedicated to learning about your core course while traveling to places throughout Sweden. Locations for the other courses included Gothenburg, Malmo, Uppsala, and Linkoping. As I’m sure you assumed from the title, my core course spent this week in Linkoping. There are only three students in the bioengineering core course, so we spent a lot of time getting to know each other and our two faculty mentors that accompanied and ran the plans that week. On our arrival day, we listened to a lecture about viruses with the Precision Medicine core course then took a walking tour around Linkoping to get to know the city better. We stopped in two beautiful churches and got to sit down and talk to kids who go to high school in the city. 

Sadly, because of covid, most of our activities were on zoom. We were given a presentation via zoom by the center for Medical Image Science and Visualization which is connected to Linkoping University. I was really struck by their development of revolutionary 4D MRI technology. Clinical application is still far away, but their work is very promising. 

All study tours provide events for you to experience the area and have some fun with your class. Some of my friends in other classes had ice skating events, or saunas. Ours was cross country skiing. To be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled about the prospect of skiing for two hours when I first heard about it. I have a very long history of spraining my wrists when I put on skis. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed cross country skiing. The skiis are significantly thinner and easier to maneuver, and you don’t have to go down hills which is always the most daunting factor to me. 

My favorite part of the study tour was the last portion back in Stockholm. On Thursday, our first day back from Linkoping, we went to the KTH Royal Institute of technology and visited Dr. Mario Romero Vega’s lab. He sat with us and talked about his development of BrailleTouch, of which he is a co-founder. BrailleTouch is a keyboard technology for blind users of smartphones. Dr. Romero demonstrated how to use it and outlined how he and his colleagues came up with the idea. It was really inspiring to hear about all the work he put into a technology to help the disabled, with no personal gain. 

I’ll update again soon with travel experiences. The next few weekends I will be out of Sweden for the first time since my arrival in Europe. Vi ses!

Dammsugare – First Two Week Recap

As unappetizing as a vacuum cleaner may sound, I can promise you that a Swedish vacuum cleaner is quite the opposite. A dammsugare, vacuum in English, is one of the Swedes signature pastries. I’ve never been much of a pastry person, but one thing I’ve learned since coming to Sweden is how much they value their fika. Fika is a time spent relaxing and drinking a cup of coffee or tea and enjoying a midday pastry. It can be done with friends, or alone, whatever the day’s vibes are giving you. My first ever Swedish fika was spent in the Tekniska Museet after a study tour with my BioMedical Engineering Core Course. Study tours for classes take place on Wednesdays, and are a great way to apply what you’re learning and explore pieces of Sweden with the guidance of your professor. The museum had a bunch of cool exhibits; my two favorites were Hyper Human and Play Beyond Play (both featured in the photos). My class spent about an hour and a half exploring the museum and then settled down for fika when I discovered my love for the chocolatey Swedish vacuum cleaners. We discussed what we liked most and how what we saw applied to BioMedical Engineering.

My appreciation for Swedish culture has only continued to grow the longer I live here. Being that this is my first time out of the country, I’ve never had such an immersive experience with a different culture. It’s interesting to see how people treat each other in public spaces. There’s clearly a lot more respect for personal space than in the States. My favorite place in Stockholm is Gamla Stan. Gamla Stan has the most impressive architecture I’ve seen so far and is home to the Royal Palace. Other tourist attractions I’ve visited include the Vasa Museum and the Ice Bar. Both of these are an absolute must for visitors of Stockholm. The Vasa museum hosts one of the worlds best preserved 17th century ships which spent 333 years submerged off the coast of Sweden. And the Ice Bar… well that’s pretty self explanatory. 

A bite of my life…

Hello readers! My name is Ryn Goettle and I’m a 21 year old girl from New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia. I have three siblings, two of which I’m sure have already raided and cleaned out my closet after my arrival in Stockholm yesterday. As someone who has never been out of the United States, traveling to another country to study was quite a big step. From just one outing to the grocery store I have noticed how hard the language barrier can be; I got vegan butter instead of actual butter and salt that I assumed was already ground up (it wasn’t). That being said, Sweden is already surpassing my expectations. The architecture, scenery, and even the people are notably beautiful. 
I am enrolled in the Bio Medical Engineering core course this Spring 2022 semester and am living in the Outdoor Living and Learning Community. I chose the Outdoor LLC because I wanted to be surrounded by people who had similar interests as I and having organized events/trips took a bit of responsibility to plan off my shoulders. We have our first event next week – indoor rock climbing! I haven’t tried that in a few years so we’ll see how that goes. Well it’s dinner time for me. Until next time, hej då!