Where is sporting costumes, singing songs and receiving a warm welcome to your new school a regular thing? Well, grab a fika, and we’ll tell you. If you were in the UK, it might be teatime but if you are lucky enough to be in Sweden, it’s a cozy coffee break or fika. Fika is an important aspect of Swedish culture and this is evident everywhere: at home, in the workplace, and on college campuses.
At LTH, the Engineering Faculty at Lund University, companies sponsor student events in order to get their names out among this cohort of future employee candidates. One of those events is the annual Nollning – the word in Swedish refers to an introduction for new and first-year students – a tradition at the prestigious Lund University in Lund, Sweden. Upperclassmen plan a variety of activities to give new students the opportunity to meet new friends, feel wel-
comed to their new home and to feel lagom, or in English, just right! The introduction lasts for five weeks and includes roughly 1200 new students with about 500 student mentors making it happen.
During Nollning, LTH students dress up in the different colors that represent their discipline, for example, mechanical engineers are red, computer science students are pink and electrical engineers are white. The disciplines compete against each other in different missions to celebrate fraternity and passion for their field. Nollning is a tradition that
connects students’ social and educational lives and is highly valued by Swedes.
If Olin College wants to prepare students to become innovative engineers who engage in creative solutions for the good of the world, then Oliners should get to know the world and the people in it. Learning about other cultures is filled with eye-opening and transformative experiences which is why I have embraced learning in a new environment. While I miss my home institution and my friends, studying in the United States has enriched my academic experience and provided meaningful cultural engagement with people from many backgrounds. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to study abroad!
Now you know 3 words in Swedish and a little about Swedish culture. If you would like to learn more, I am happy to share!