While I was walking down the street and felt the millionth small stone stuck in my shoe (these small little annoying stones seriously end up everywhere!), I realised that actually I didn’t feel annoyed at all. I’ve been feeling relaxed and happy most of the time that I’ve been in Sweden!
I started to think about why I felt so different than when I was in the Netherlands, but as I walked down the street surrounded by many trees and smiling people in sports clothes, I didn’t have to think for too long! Sweden is absolutely the best country to relax and kind of getting things back on track.
After graduating, everyone is quite stressed out to the point that you just want to stay in bed all day with Netflix and ice cream and let your brain recover. But more often than not, that ends up with feeling even worse as you’re only eating junk food, your favourite series have finished so there is nothing to watch, and you haven’t exercised in a while.
Seriously though, the best advice I can give you is to take a gap year in Sweden!
Try a gap year!
Gap years are becoming more and more popular amongst young adults, and that’s absolutely fantastic! Many people decide to travel to Asia, Australia or the US, and don’t even think about going to Scandinavian countries. But being surrounded by endless forests, fresher air than anywhere else, lots and lots of snow and sunshine, calm people, and beautiful cities: yes, Sweden is the perfect country to go to in your gap year!
I’ve always been a rather sensitive person; I love to work really hard, but I get stressed out if I’m in a country or environment that doesn’t really fit me well. Sweden has always made me feel welcome and safe (and fatter because of all the kanelbullar, totally worth it though).
Being part of nature
You begin to realise that you’re really a part of nature. Not in a “hippie” way, but if you’ve lived in a city for all your life, you tend to forget that humans are just a part of nature instead of ruling the whole world. Driving for hours on the endless highways in the middle of nowhere, seeing more stars above you than ever, sometimes seeing a moose or deer jumping away, it’s absolutely magical. I feel much more self-confident and healthy now, work and school stress haven’t been on my mind ever since I got here.
I will start university in some months here, and I’m really looking forward to it! Finally I will be able to study while I’m relaxed and surrounded by nature and people I feel comfortable with. I totally understand why people go to Asia on their gap year: it’s exciting because it’s far away, and there are so many different cultures!
But really, the Swedish culture is just as weird sometimes (they have Easter Witches instead of Easter bunnies, for example…). Find a farm or other place to volunteer at, and travel the country. I promise, it’s worth it!
Written by Lydia Hallie
I’m Lydia, a 19-year-old Dutch girl living in Stockholm. I try to write many helpful posts to help younger people who recently moved to Sweden to get to know the country and how everything works here!