Well, I've finally finished a twenty-one page essay exam and my first class of the semester. On Monday, I started a new class called African Politics and my professor is very charismatic. He spent years working in Tanzania, so I'm excited to hear what he has to tell us. I'm still in my beginners' Swedish class for the next couple weeks, but it's quite difficult because the pace is very quick. However, I'm enjoying getting to know the language better and even conversing a little bit with the local Swedes.
In the past couple weeks, I've spent most of my time studying, but also doing small day and weekend trips. A couple of weeks ago, the owners of the used bike shop on campus invited the international students in my residence to come to their place for a barbecue before the cold weather sets in. We took the train from Växjö to Alvesta for the night, which is only a short ride away. Alvesta is a quaint area with suburbs and a beautiful little lake. Before going to the barbecue, a friend and I stopped by the farmers market in town for some vegetables for the salad we brought along.
Later in the week, I took a walk around the other side of the lake with a friend. It was a beautiful sunny day out, and there's a great view of the castle from the path. In about an hour, we made it around the entire lake and campus. I couldn't resist snapping a few shots of the lake and surrounding trees.
A couple of weekends ago, my friend family had me over for the day. We started our early afternoon with a fika (coffee and Swedish treats), then they cooked boiled potatoes and salmon, two of my favourite foods. After, I went with them to nearby castle ruins in Växjö. It was a rainy day out, but luckily I was prepared with my raincoat (which has been an incredibly handy piece of clothing). We weren't able to get into the castle because it was closed, but the view from outside is quite stunning on its own.
In the past week, I've been busy with readings and lectures. Since it was our first week, our professor had four introductory lectures on African politics. I have an oral exam in beginners Swedish later this week, but I've been practicing for it and am feeling more comfortable with the language. Thankfully, my teacher is really funny and down to earth, so I feel like she will be encouraging and helpful in the exam.
When I was studying at my desk earlier this week, I looked out the window and saw the most beautiful sunset ever. It looked like it was painted by an artist and had so many beautiful colours in it. While I couldn't quite capture how amazing it was, I snapped a few shots of its beauty. I enjoy when the sun is setting during my bike rides home by the lake, as it is always an incredible sight.
This weekend I am certainly missing my family back home, as it is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. However, I was able to spend a weekend away in Gothenburg city with friends, so that was a great distraction from missing out on stuffing and turkey. A strange part about studying abroad is missing out on holidays and events back home, but there is always something here to explore and keep me busy.
In the past couple of weekends I have traveled to Copenhagen and Gothenburg and I can't wait to share my experiences with you. However, I am off to study for my Swedish exam, so stay tuned for more posts soon.