To the Me who Hated the Cold

Dear Megan-from-four-months-ago,

It’s been a crazy semester, hasn’t it? I’m writing this in between final exams while planning all the packing and cleaning I need to do before next week, and I can’t help but to think about all the ways you’ve grown and all the things that have changed since I arrived in Stockholm back in January. Who would’ve thought that you would learn to feel comfortable in the cold and love the snow? And, surprise, you will be eating Swedish meatballs at least three times a week for the entire semester! Somehow, leaving behind readily available Swedish meatballs will be one of the hardest parts of leaving Sweden.

After four months here, I feel like I know Stockholm better than I know Pittsburgh. In fact, I feel more determined now to get to know Pittsburgh, because that’s how I found some of my favorite places here in Stockholm. Don’t be shy – take a step outside of your comfort zone and find your new favorite places. Pick up the local sayings and try out the local specialties. I actually wish I attempted speaking more Swedish. And don’t be afraid to spend time alone. Become comfortable with your own company! I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds, and you’ll be able to enjoy so much more if you’re not always worried about needing to coordinate plans. If you push yourself outside of your boundaries, very soon, you’ll feel much more at home in your city.

In terms of traveling while abroad, take advantage of the cheap tickets and youth hostels. However, don’t feel bad about taking breaks and relaxing at home – traveling is exhausting, and you’ll have a better time if you’re rested. Talk to people in your hostel, because I can guarantee you’ll meet some incredible people who will change your worldview. And get a good pair of walking shoes (30,000 steps a day is no joke)! A piece of advice about being a traveler: a lot of times, people try to avoid doing “touristy” things. However, I think you should embrace being a tourist, asking for help, and seeing the tourist spots! After all, they’re some of the most beautiful and historic highlights that a foreign city or country has to offer. If you want to branch out from the well-known spots, ask friends or classmates who have been there for recommendations. Personal recommendations are usually better than the internet.

Take that classic tourist picture in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and laugh at the fact that you’re one of dozens of people doing the same thing at the same time
See the sites in Stockholm too! The ABBA museum is SO fun!

Tune into your classes and talk to your teachers. Not just because that’s the reason you’re studying abroad, but mostly because they are really interesting. Your classes will be a chance to learn about subjects you wouldn’t be able to at Pitt, and they will teach you so many new skills. Your teachers and classmates have insights from all over the US and around the world. Broaden your mindset.

Remember to not take yourself too seriously. Everything will either be a wonderful experience or a funny story to tell in the future.

Vi ses,


Buy strawberries from a produce stand on the street, sit down in front of a cathedral in Venice, and eat the whole container. Don’t worry about being judged – it’s your “main character moment”

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