Making Connections Between Trains and in Classes

Welcome back! As I’m settling into a routine in my first week in Stockholm, I can tell that my time here will be busy and packed full of new insights, experiences, and accomplishments. Therefore, I know that it will be helpful for me to lay out my goals now, so that I can stay on track with accomplishing everything I hope to. Let’s dive in!

Academics are, first and foremost, the reason I am here. I hope to develop my body of knowledge in familiar but new fields, and to expand my understanding in a country full of attitudes, lifestyles, and opportunities that differ from those at Pitt. For example, I will be incorporating developmental psychology with sociological insights in one class, and clinical medicine with healthcare attitudes and beliefs in another. Not only will I be expanding my factual knowledge, I will also be expanding my cultural knowledge. Additionally, my program is made of students from all different states and even countries, and teachers and administrators from many different countries and professional backgrounds. By making connections between theory and culture and by engaging with my classmates, teachers, professionals, and locals, I plan to truly be able to apply what I am learning.

Throughout this semester, I will be gaining skills that I can apply practically toward my future professions. In general, I hope to become more self-sufficient and secure in my capabilities after learning how to establish myself in a new place. I’m already learning to navigate the trains without Google Maps, greet cashiers in Swedish, and learn about the local etiquette. I also hope to form new perspectives through my academic and non-academic experiences that will make me a more culturally competent and forward-thinking healthcare provider. In order to do so, I plan to take time to reflect on both academic material and cultural insights. I am sure that my time here will fly by, but by taking time to write down reflections during lunch or discuss observations with classmates on the metro, I can be fully influenced by all that I experience abroad. For example, noting all the particular ways that Sweden works to be inclusive in public spaces will allow me to alter my mindset, so that I can be more welcoming to people of all abilities, backgrounds, and lifestyles in my future profession.

These reflections will also cater to my personal goals. I plan to (and have already begun to) take note of Sweden’s traits of sustainability, conservation, social equality, accessibility, etiquette, and more. The way of living in Sweden is admirable, encouraging collaboration, respect for others, neatness, and an appreciation of nature and simple beauty. I plan to fully immerse myself in the lifestyle, as I believe that this lifestyle can be very beneficial to one’s physical, social, emotional, and even financial wellness.

My list of goals could go on and on, but by prioritizing these few, I hope to further myself academically, professionally, and personally during my semester abroad, and appreciate every beautiful sight and stressful adjustment I come across.

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