My name is Courtney Hoekstra and I am currently a freshman at the Providence campus at JWU. I am also a fashion merchandising major. I chose to join this study abroad program because it’s such a great opportunity! All 25 of us on the trip are going to earn general ed credits as well as experience everything Europe has to offer.
This is our first week here and it has been crazy! Every chance we get, we are all off exploring Gothenburg. Our first impression of Sweden was just the drive from the airport to the apartment/hotel we are staying in. It looked just like america at first as we drove past the country side and farm houses, then we started to enter the city and it looked very different. My first thought would be that the city would still have some old buildings, which it does, but mainly everything has been renovated and looks pretty modern.
My roommate Nicki and I live in the Annex, which is an apartment with five rooms, and two girls in each. Of course being in Sweden every piece of furniture is from Ikea. After settling in, the whole group went out for our first swedish meal. Turns out we went to an Italian restaurant that’s on the same block as our hotel. We didn’t do much the first night because everyone was so tired so we decided just to get to know everyone on the trip.
Our second day here in Gothenburg everyone went to orientation at IHM Business School. The school looked nothing like I expected. I thought it would look just like Johnson & Wales, but it was so modern and technologically advanced! Every thing had been redone, and it’s in a glass building with views of the city. Even the classrooms were cool. Orientation was just that, getting oriented and taking a tour of the school. Then we all went to the mall. It is HUGE! Inside there were so many stores and it’s a great place to people watch. There was even a few grocery stores inside. A few of us went and got pay to go phones which will help when it comes time to travel. This was mainly the day where everyone familiarized themselves with the city.
On Saturday the whole group went on a bus tour of Gothenburg. We drove all over and saw sites like the oldest church in Gothenburg and learned about how there used to be fortresses and walls surrounding the city to keep it from being taken over from Denmark. We also went to the Haga, which means old town. This area was really cute and I can see myself having a nice cup of coffee at a cafe and shop.
Today was our first real free day here. Of course everyone decided to get some sleep and try to adjust to the time difference. Everyone did their own thing today, which worked out well. Nicki, Bryanna, and I decided that we needed to go to Ikea because it started in Sweden.
Overall this first week here has been very busy! Sight seeing, learning about Gothenburg, getting to know all the girls, and figuring out how to shop with the Swedish Krona has been exhausting but interesting. I am definitely ready to get back in the swing of classes. Tomorrow we start our first day of classes, which will bring a whole new level of adventure and excitement. More to come!